MARK STEYN identifies the main problem with republican campaigns in England, Australia, and Canada. It's the republicans.
Steyn is precisely correct; Australia's republican campaign was led by the likes of Malcolm Turnbull (a wealthy lawyer and political wannabe), Thomas Keneally (professional Irishman), Robert Hughes (so long away from Australia that he'd forgotten on which side of the road we drive) and Geoffrey Robertson (an Australian-born lawyer who returned from the UK to demand, in his acquired English accent, that we sever ties with England, and then went back to England).
These people are deeply unpopular, and if they aren't, quickly become so once they start talking. The entire media here also urged a republic, thus ensuring a victory for non-republican forces. Steyn writes:
I've got nothing against a republic, it's republicans I have a problem with, at least in Her Majesty's realms. On Tuesday, Hugo Young began his Guardian column thus: "As the golden coach prepares to roll, republicans are sure they've had the better of the argument against everything it stands for. Jubilee year has been a republican apotheosis. The cause has never achieved more respectability in chattering society…"
This was the day, in case you've forgotten, that one million people filled the Mall to bellow Land of Hope and Glory. Given the choice between Elizabeth Windsor and Hugo Young, which would you say was remote, imperious and hopelessly out of touch?
"When is Canada going to grow up?" sighed Hugo's Canuck counterpart in his Queen Mum column for the Toronto Globe and Mail. "Deaths bring out the worst of Canada's infantile instincts toward the royals." That's very much the standard line: the virtues of republicanism are so obvious, anyone who doesn't get it must be a child.
It was this attitude that did for the Australian republicans in a referendum that should have taught their British counterparts several lessons. First, it was a rebuke to the "inevitabilist" theory of history: that simply because something seems obvious to you, it's bound to happen. Second, it was a defeat for the hyper-rationalists - the types who are tone-deaf to what Lincoln called the "mystic chords".