When I was at the cricket the other day, a lady who is a new member at the club approached my girlfriend and said, “Did you enjoy the Royal Wedding today?”
Jennifer replied, “I didn’t watch it as I am not particularly interested”.
For a moment, my toes curled over and it seemed like the birds had stopped singing in the trees as the tumbleweed floated past. The lady then responded with what was almost a whisper, “Nor am I really”.
They then proceeded to get along nicely, talking about kids, jobs, being cricket widows etc. etc. but I couldn’t help wondering what would have happened had Jennifer said “Oh it was wonderful, didn’t she look resplendent…and the weather too, it’s as if though they have been blessed”.
Would have that lady had it in her to say she wasn’t interested?
Now, don’t get me wrong, my girlfriend doesn’t rabidly hate the Royals or even advocate a Republic of England/Britain; she is just not particularly interested in a wedding between people she has never met and is never likely to meet, which is fair enough.
Personally, I find the idea of a Monarchy probably suits a reasonable majority of British folk as it makes them feel stable, however, the idea that is not your cup of Darjeeling shouldn’t make you feel unpatriotic or in fear of expressing an alternate view to how the future of the country is shaped.
However, it does though, doesn’t it? If you are a politician and you have sympathetic leaning to becoming a republic, you are branded a traitor in most media outlets. If you are sportsman who is not interested in the monarchy you are unpatriotic and should be banned from representing your country. If you are member of the public and you have a different ideology to how our future should be shaped, you should just shut up and learn to love your country.
That’s not very democratic is it?
A point that is regularly missed is that being patriotic doesn’t have an exclusive link with being a fervent royalist. You can be a republican and be patriotic, in fact more patriotic than a monarchist if being patriotic is what you think is the right thing to be (what is patriotism anyway?). If you want an example, watch the German and French fans and football players singing their respective anthems at The World Cup this summer and tell me they lack patriotism.
Whilst the British anthem is about asking God (who I don’t think even exists to be honest) to save our Queen, you will find other anthems (particularly in republican countries) are about struggles against repression and a fight for freedom for its people. Personally, I’m up for a bit of that, as I think we would become more confident and outward if we weren’t still, in the 21st Century, having serfdom addiction issues that make us feel obliged to bow at the feet of other humans purely because of chance of birth.
That said I am not really one of these people who hate Meghan and Harry Windsor as I don’t know them. However, from the little interest I have shown in our royals, I do think that Harry does at least try to use his considerable clout to do some good in the world, The Invictus Games being an example.
Also, it would appear on the face of it that Harry and Meghan have genuine affection for each other, unlike his Dad/Stepdad, Charles, who is a complete weirdo who used Diana Spencer as a reproduction organ whilst he wandered around the globe with someone who looks like the cross between a horse and the president of The Daily Mail fan club.
Also, as a non-royal friend of mine pointed out, at least by having black people in the church, the royals have shown that even they have moved on since the 1950’s. He also added that the people who decided to go and pretend to be guests by standing around in Windsor were at least preferable human beings to frothing brexiteers. You know the type, the ones who jammed The Daily Mail comments pages to issue their grievance at the non-Caucasian feel to the occasion.
I found myself nodding in agreement, albeit sagely, but that shouldn’t stop people who are being told to be quiet from making a genuine case for the future abolishment of something that is, in their opinion, quite backward and laced with propaganda and nostalgia about a time when everything was so much better (it wasn’t). I also think there should be regular profit and loss assessments with regards to the royal’s net income and who should receive money from the sovereign grant.
I can accept and happily debate whether the Queen and those directly in line to the throne may generate positive wealth through tourism but I will argue until I am on my deathbed that there is a barely a person on the planet who would spend their cash to come and see Princess Alexandra, the Duchess Wessexshire or some other daft and ancient name plucked out of a Harry Potter book.
However, perhaps what annoys me more than anything when there is a Royal occasion is the blatant use of it to bury bad news under the bunting. The government knows that the media undertake exclusive coverage of such events and they will exploit it to its maximum, for example, the appointment of 9 non-elected Brexit supporting peers into the House of Lords.
At the current time, debate is not being heard through fear of reprisals (look what has happened to Gina Miller) and accusations of treason, so everyone is going quiet and keeping their heads below the parapet for a simpler life, which is understandable. This blog page for example, has doubled in readership levels but halved in the comments and ‘likes’ section. Even worse, a survey of mainstream media journalists showed that they regularly pen articles according to pro-Brexit protocol and not independent thought.
There is an Orwellian feel about the media and the silence of the centrists who keep the world sane, is not a place I want to be. It reminds me of all the history books I have read about Berlin, Rome and Madrid (and London to an extent) in the 1930’s.
Mad isn’t it?