Friday, 25 May 2012

God Save the Queen, the Fascist Regime

With the Queen’s diamond Jubilee fast approaching, the UK media has gone into overdrive with lavish praise of our monarch’s selfless devotion to duty and public service etc etc. The BBC always goes into a somewhat comic routine, of reporting any news of the royal family in hushed tones, as though raising one’s voice to even normal levels of acoustics when describing Her Majesty and family, is the very height of vulgarity.

 The Guardian even reports on a survey where 69% of Britons say that the country would be worse off without the monarchy. Of course, depending on what the exact question is and how it is asked will often get you the answer that you are looking for, with only 22% of people thinking we would be better off. These results do surprise me little though, as when the recent royal marriage was taking place between Prince William and Kate Middleton, there was only the odd isolated union flag or bunting where I live in north London. It seemed to me that no one was really very interested in the event, though they were happy to spend the extra bank holiday in supermarkets, pubs and DIY stores.

Again we have been granted an extra day’s bank holiday, which when it is combined with the delayed late spring bank holiday and the weekend, forms a four day block of celebration from 2nd June to 5th June. No doubt people are happy to have an extra day off and will again find ways of using the time, without taking more than a cursory interest in the Jubilee itself.

I remember the Queen’s silver Jubilee in 1977, and proudly displaying my ‘Stuff the Jubilee’ badge, much to the shock of many people I came into contact with, who mostly labelled me a communist, which I suppose wasn’t too far from the truth. And who can forget the hit song ‘God Save the Queen’ by the Sex Pistols from the same year (featured above)? A brilliantly vibrant piss take of our rather dreary national anthem. The BBC banned the song from being played on Radio 1, by far the most influential radio station at the time for selling records, which of course increased its appeal, and it went straight to number 1.

I must confess, I have obtained a ‘Stuff the Jubilee’ badge again, but don’t expect wearing it will illicit anything like the opprobrium it did in 1977. People don’t just seem to identify with the monarchy in the same deep rooted way they used to. For example, virtually the whole nation would watch the Queen’s Christmas address in those days, but now what proportion of the population watches it? Probably less than half, by some way.

I think the present Queen holds some measure of respect amongst her subjects, mainly because she has been around for so long, and to be fair, hasn’t done anything majorly embarrassing to the nation, unlike other members of ‘The Firm’. But surely, this is the least we can expect, from someone who in return has led a life of luxury at the tax payer’s expense? It would be an appropriate response to the austerity agenda of the present for the Queen to have a celebration on the cheap, but oh no, millions of pounds will be wasted on this event. The authorities are even stealing the Sex Pistols idea, and sailing the monarch up and down the Thames on a boat.

So, will we have a republic anytime soon? Well, not until Queen Elizabeth’s reign is over to be sure. The same Guardian survey mentioned above though, does indicate that her likely successor Prince Charles has nothing like as much support as his mother amongst the public. Given his meddling in politics and lobbying of ministers, which we are not allowed to see the full details of, since the royal household is exempted from the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act, he may become even more unpopular. Unfortunately, that window may not be open for very long, as the Queen looks to have a good few years left in her yet, and the crown may pass quite quickly on to the next generation, and so conjure up the people’s ambivalence once again.

If only Cromwell hadn’t fucked it up, banning dancing and all that, we may now never be rid of them.

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