Last weekend and at the beginning of this week, the UK was given an extra long weekend to mark the fact that an old woman has been ruling us for sixty years. It is often said that she doesn’t rule us at all but instead is a wonderful unifying figure whom we all love and thank heaven above for. This is, of course, utter bollocks.
True, if she were to refuse Royal Assent for a bill passed by ‘her’ Parliament, there would probably be a fairly swift constitutional change, which might later get described as a revolution. Yet, in her name, the powers of prerogative are exercised. These powers are profoundly anti-democratic. I can’t be bothered this morning to even copy and paste them; the powers of prerogative are in the 9th and 10th paragraphs at this link. If she were a unifying figure, then there wouldn’t be a significant minority who would like her extensive real estate taken away from her and her entire job abolished. The percentage figure for republicanism varies from poll to poll but never goes away. I don’t need to imagine that there is no heaven. There just isn’t one.
As seems to happen so often in our profoundly disingenuous culture, there are two worlds. There’s the paper world and the real world. The former can’t stand up in the face of even the slightest breeze of doubt, yet does not admit of the existence of the other world. The other world exists in conversations between colleagues, in pub talk and nowadays on various digital social networks. We live in that second world but are ruled by the first world.
The paper world would have us believe that the last few day’s menu of fawning, scraping sycophancy was universally appreciated. Much of the real world says otherwise. It says that forcing people to sleep under bridges with inadequate protection against the weather and no pay in the name of private profiteering is an unacceptable face of capitalism. It says that the Queen may not have ordered the murder of her least favourite daughter-in-law but she had to be persuaded to mourn her passing properly. It says that privileged lifestyles, repeatedly ignoring racism and failing to visit your husband in hospital for a couple of days is suspicous.
The shit’s going to hit the fan when the present Queen dies. Many people believe that her son will abdicate immediately in favour of his son. That’s because it is universally recognised that Charles will be a disastrous King. He’s an egomaniac who has spent his life meddling with affairs which do not concern him, in strict breach of the constitutional settlement over the Royal Family. He won’t abdicate, he’s waited too long.
The fact is that the British love to party. Anyone who grants them a few days off work to have a good time will be popular. There was less flag waving this weekend than there is tinsle at Christmas. Much less. The institutional monarchy is much more fragile than the paper world would have us believe. That’s why the monarchists were so diligent in their defence of the Crown. They know that the real world is much less convinced of the arguments. They’ve noticed that republics do not suffer a lack of tourism, civil society or congregational spirit.
For more information on how to oppose the monarchy, please visit Republic. I want a vote, not a boat!