Royal baby: Unnecessary congratulations analysis

There is nothing a politician likes more than being able to associate themselves with good news. So it should have come as no surprise to Westminster-watchers that our party leaders were not reticent in bringing forth their congratulations after the Duchess of Cambridge gave birth to a future king yesterday.

With absolutely nothing better to do we are delighted to bring you an unnecessary, exaggerated and flippant analysis of their comments. Be warned: Nothing in this article actually matters…

DAVID CAMERON: Red-faced statesmanship

The prime minister, perhaps remembering Tony Blair's royal pronouncements in Downing Street, was not going to be held back from emerging from No 10 to give a clip to the press last night.

"It's wonderful news from St Mary's Paddington and I'm sure right across the country and indeed right across the Commonwealth people will be celebrating and wishing the royal couple well," Cameron begins.

He covers all the bases, as you'd expect from a consummate politician now well-practised at wringing every drop of goodwill out of royal good news. He steps above party politics to say the things someone in his job ought to say: that this is good news for the country and for the Commonwealth. Which might have been staid and wooden for some (I'm looking at you, G. Brown). Not this PM.

"It is an important moment in the life of our nation but I suppose, above all, it's a wonderful moment for a warm and loving couple who've got a brand new baby boy." The human touch, which Cameron is exceptionally good at playing up, is deployed deftly. And then comes a pivot, to a broader comment about how marvellous our monarchy actually is.

"It's been a remarkable few years for our royal family. A royal wedding that captured people's hearts, that extraordinary and magnificent Jubilee and now this royal birth, all from a family that have given this nation so much incredible service.

"And they can know a proud nation is celebrating with a very proud and happy couple tonight."

Most importantly of all, though, Cameron wins all the prizes for actually bothering to do a clip to camera. If Cameron was lit up, this was the equivalent of full beam.

ED MILIBAND: Distracted and wooden

The leader of the Labour party was supposed to be making a big deal of his confrontation with the unions last night. But his speech in Coin Street ended up being rather overshadowed by news from the Lindo Wing. Here's his tweet:




It is short and to the point. It was probably not written by him personally. It is the sort of thing a civil servant would write to their son on his graduation in accountancy.

Perhaps the reason for this reticence is that, of all the main political parties, Labour is divided on the question of whether or not the monarchy is a Good Thing. Three in ten Labour party members don't believe the royal family is the best option. A quarter are republicans. By concentrating on the family angle, Miliband is steering well clear of even mentioning royalty.

NICK CLEGG – Getting in on the act

The deputy prime minister knows he has to come up with something different to keep the punters interested. So his statement goes the extra mile in saying the same old thing, but in a slightly different way.

"Miriam and I want to congratulate the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on the birth of their son. This is wonderful news which will make the whole country smile," he begins. Most voters do not associate Clegg with things that make them smile, and many of them reading this will not move their mouths an inch.

"The arrival of a first child is a very special time and we send our very best wishes to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge – and indeed to all couples who have become proud parents on this very special day."

All couples? You mean there were other babies born today? Clegg's instincts are to refer to the people, not the elitist monarchy which stands at the summit of the establishment his party despises. And whose leaders have now joined in coalition, of course.

ALEX SALMOND – A straight bat

Cricketing analogies are never appropriate when dealing with the Scottish first minister, but a straight bat is exactly how the SNP leader is playing this one. His tweet is to the point:



A firm focus on the "proud parents" is the key here. There is nothing Salmond yearns for more than ensuring the new little infant does not become Scotland's head of state at some stage in the future. There's a time and a place to mention that, though. And in this fervour of royalist delight this is definitely not it.

BARACK OBAMA – Delighted diplomacy

The leader of the free world has been leading the global tributes to Prince William – a sensible move from a nation arguably more fixated with the glamour of royalty than many in Britain are.

"Michelle and I are so pleased to congratulate The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on the joyous occasion of the birth of their first child. We wish them all the happiness and blessings parenthood brings," the White House statement from Obama begins.

"The child enters the world at a time of promise and opportunity for our two nations. Given the special relationship between us, the American people are pleased to join with the people of the United Kingdom as they celebrate the birth of the young prince."

British diplomats are obsessed with the Americans acknowledging the 'special relationship', so any mention of the phrase is enough to send Foreign Office types into raptures.

Obama has used the royal birth to make us feel good about ourselves and our country's future. It doesn't matter that this is not a time of "promise and opportunity" for the US and Britain. It is a time of economic anxiety and social upheaval, but what does that matter? We've got a new royal baby!

KEVIN RUDD – Don't mention the Ashes

The Australian prime minister's contribution is chiefly notable for its use of the word "bub", which makes it impossible to read his comments without using an Aussie accent.

"I think all Australians at the bottom of their hearts with the Royal bub all the best, and certainly wish the new parents all the best as well," he says. It may be the future head of state in Australia, but for now the prince is no more than a 'bub'.

"When a new bub comes into the world, any old day, any part of the world, it is frankly a time for rejoicing." Rudd is telling it like it is.

"To Prince Charles and Camilla, they have the delight of being grandparents, all I can say is, this is probably one of the best experiences of your life." It's good to relate to the grandparents.

"And I'm sure they're going to have a wonderful time with the royal baby. And her Majesty the Queen and to the Duke of Edinburgh, the special delight of a great-grandchild." Rudd has clearly grasped the essentials of family relations. Not that this level of analysis is unusually inane, of course.

Take the entire content of this article, for example. Have you read anything in here of genuine significance? Of course not. But you don't care, do you? Because the royal baby's here! And it's GREAT NEWS!

Royal baby birth “is completely unsuited to the age of 24-hour news channels”

Brendan Cole
23.07.2013, 18:54
The birth of the third in line to the British throne has caused a media furore in the UK and other parts of the world prompting many commentators to question whether the news coverage has been excessive. VoR’s Brendan Cole reports.