|Volume 53 Number 17, June 10, 2023
Writing in PoliticsHome in May of her visit to India with the India (Trade and Investment) All-Party Parliamentary Group, Baroness Verma  says that they were "reminded regularly during the visit of the value and importance of face-to-face engagement". Having said that at every opportunity they were reminded that "Great Britain remained an important partner and friend to India", she throws in the caveat, "However, it was noted that our soft power - once the envy of the world - needs a reboot in response to the shifting global dynamics of emerging nations such as India."
Baroness Verma reflects on how she alleges the coronation of King Charles III "was a great opportunity to showcase the very best of what we have to offer the world and yet there are so many gems that remain hidden". She draws the conclusion, "Our new monarch provides us with an opportunity to establish stronger and outward-reaching connections through unique institutions like the Commonwealth, showing current and future generations the strength of shared common values and causes." She ends by "raising a toast to a brighter and stronger future for Great Britain's place in the world and how we ensure we play our part in that future".
In seeking to define King Charles' constitutional role as sovereign and his symbolic function as representative of the state in this way, Charles III is willy nilly being drawn into global political matters, far from being symbolic and neutral. He is seen to be stepping beyond his allegedly symbolic role. The term "soft power" purposely connotes a benign and innocuous influence to hide a more sinister and dangerous political motive. But the "soft power" of Britain is far from benign, involving use of the political police to carry out subversive operations such as the so-called "colour revolutions". It is utilised with the aim of bringing about regime change whenever the likesof the US, Britain and their allies decide this is required to uphold their "civilised values" and "shared common values and causes" of which Baroness Verma is apparently so fond.
An argument is being given that, far from being above politics, the monarch should be in the fray, acting more like the heads of state of the US, France and other countries who are the key spokespersons for the war industry in their own countries and on behalf of the US/NATO alliance of which they are members. Charles himself is behaving as though he comprises a faction based on his own vested interests, which are considerable, vying for power and influence. Under the reign of Charles III, any illusions about the role of the constitutional monarch being symbolic are due to be shattered.
For although in Britain's constitutional monarchy there exists a convention that the sovereign maintains strict political neutrality, this is nothing but a fiction of the Fictional Person of State as contradicted by the actual reality of the factional exercise of "soft power", which goes hand in hand with the "hard power" of military might and aggression. King Charles III is indeed in the fray of promoting this kind of "soft power", under which Britain has in the 21st century alone committed many crimes against humanity - legacy of a "tradition" of monarchy under which Britain has used its colonial and imperialist might to maintain its criminal empire, including, of course, its heinous role in its "jewel of the crown", India, from which the Indian people themselves are still struggling to break. The monarch is in every way a block to the progress of society. For a modern democracy, it is the people who must be empowered, and in this sense replace "soft power" and "hard power" alike with their own decision-making authority.
1. Sandip K Verma, Baroness Verma, is a Conservative peer and former international development minister. She was born in Amritsar, India.