Opinion

How to cover tracks by virtue signalling



We are used to hearing outrage and titters in equal parts when dealing with paradoxical hypocrisies – or are they hypocritical paradoxes? – such as renewable energy-friendly oil’n’gas conglomerates, or sustainable development construction firms. But no one seems to bat an eyelid when it comes to the same kind of oxymorons if it comes with the right kind of pomp and tradition. Charles III of not-so-great-anymore Britain, for instance, has mastered virtue signalling over decades as an ‘environmentalist‘ and plant and animal lover. With twee optics such as banning foie gras from all Windsor palaces, using animal cruelty-free coronation oil during his coronation, and as patron of the Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts, the Bonnie King Charlie has come across as an anti-speciesist, treating all living things (except plebs) as equal.

But what this sheen has provided is cover ample from Charles’ blessings on ‘traditional’ pursuits like fox-hunting – he explained to then-Brit PM Tony Blair before hunting was banned in Scotland, England and Wales (but not in Northern Ireland) saying it’s ‘romantic’ – and wearing a crown and robe trimmed with fur of ermine, a mammal prized by royalty wherever it (royalty, not ermines) still exists. This kind of tactic is what Marie Antoinette would have described as, ‘Let them have cake, while we eat it too.’



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