In most countries in the world, parents can tell their kids that if they work hard and do everything right, they could grow up to be the head of state and the symbol of their nation. Not us. Our head of state is decided by one factor, and one factor alone: did he pass through the womb of one particular aristocratic Windsor woman living in a golden palace? The American head of state grew up with a mother on food stamps. The British head of state grew up with a mother on postage stamps. Is that a contrast that fills you with pride?
If ever the problem with the monarchy can be summed up, it’s in that quote. Elitism, privilege, and a spurious claim to power indeed. Incidentally, Johann Hari makes a very good case for a republic in the remainder of that piece. This country doesn’t “need” a monarchy (despite the claims that the tourism industry would fold if it were disbanded) and I, for one, am tired of my tax dollars keeping it in an ostentatious lifestyle.
Praise the gods one journalist was able to keep her head screwed on about the royal nonsense while all the others fawned, bleated and generally disgraced themselves when they allowed their critical faculties to escape them for the day. Laurie Penny rather wonderfully (as always) discussed in a number of pieces in the New Statesman how the reality of life in the country continued abound while we were all subjected to the royal celebration. Now, don’t get me wrong: I’m sure Wills and Kate are very much in love and I don’t begrudge them that. But the country spending yet more money on unnecessary whimsy, and it being the sole focus of most of the news for days if not weeks while 1000s in this country continue to lose their jobs, their homes, and, quite possibly, their minds, is very troublesome. The Wedding of Mass Distraction indeed. (Incidentally, the best hidden news of the day came courtesy of the BBC at approximately 11.30, around about the time they said their vows, most likely. The regulator of NHS foundation trusts in England has warned hospitals they must make even bigger efficiency savings than previously thought. Nice work, Beeb.) Penny also points out the affront of this debacle to democracy and liberty. Protestors were told that they could not protest at the event and pre-emptive arrests of potential dissenters were made. Since when did we live in a nation where we arrest people before the fact (said “fact” being subject to definition if and when a definition is required)? Since about two weeks ago, is when.
It’ll all blow over, of course, and we’ll be talking about something else come Wednesday but I intend to remain bitter about the whole sorry situation for quite a time to come. And so should you. The next time you hear of a governmental cut to something as important as the Poppy Project (links 1, 2, 3), ask yourself if it could possibly have been avoided had the royal couple decided to get married in a village church in Berkshire. Answer: yeah, probably.
And come on, we might as well be honest in any case. What has most of the chatter around the royal wedding been about anyway? That’s right. Babies. Our Kate better be able to spit out the babies or she’s not going to be of any use to her new husband. He might not be king yet but he needs an ‘eir nonetheless. Just as her father “gave her away”, and she is the only one of the newly-entangled duo to wear a wedding ring, she is now a possession of the royal house. And, as she should know from her betters before her, she needs to procreate and she probably needs to do it fast. THAT, the great British public, is her role now. And, although they’re going to start discussing the Law of Primogeniture (where a younger brother can accede to the throne before his older sisters), she still better hope it’s a boy.
Some may feel that my concentration on the sexual hinterland of the royal bride is a little prurient, but let’s get this perfectly straight: this royal wedding, like all other royal weddings that involve the line of succession, is all about sex and nothing else. I say sex but what I really mean is procreation – I say procreation but what I really mean is breeding, although not “breeding” in the sense used by old-fashioned snobs, but breeding as practised selectively by members of the Kennel Club, or, indeed, adherents of a satanic cult that uses a so-called “broodmare” in its rituals.
In case you missed it: Charlie Brooker’s précis of the day.