Jubilee and all That 109


Have been lecturing abroad a lot lately and have frequently had to explain that, when I call myself a republican and a liberal, I mean something very close to the opposite of what those terms currently mean in U.S. English.

I have never been a monarchist at any point in the 40 plus years I have had political consciousness. The notion of hereditary rule always struck me as absurd. But I have nothing against the Queen personally, and on meeting her have found her quite likeable, even when conversing on the tricky subject of why I don’t accept “Honours”. As I have said before, if I had been born into a life of such privilege, I would probably be a much more horrible person than she. We are all to a degree intellectually and socially trapped by our circumstance of birth and social milieu. Few break out of it entirely and a minority of those that do are actuated by admirable motives.

Nor am I completely immune from either patriotism or nostalgia, not the respect that attaches to the old, particularly when they are “battling on”. So I have no doubt that I witnessed some of the televised celebrations with more of a lump in my throat than the large majority of readers of this blog.

But an excellent antidote was the BBC’s panning to the VIP box during yesterday’s Jubilee concert, particularly before the Queen was there to distract. I felt completely removed from those people in the VIP box, as though they were an alien race. Always haughty, often bored and disengaged, occasionally condescending to be amused, and from time to time self-consciously “joining in” obviously for the benefit of the cameras rather than personal enjoyment. Myriads of sleek or puffy aristocrats and politicians, they were completely other from the people who in some strange way they are supposed to represent.

From Thatcher through Blair to Cameron, the gap between rich and poor has accelerated in this country as never since the early industrial revolution. Just one indicator – boardroom income increases are outpacing worker income by around 10% every year, consistently.

I do not doubt a majority of the country felt nothing but patriotic pride at the celebrations. Patriotism is the great and indispensable instrument of social control. But as for me, in this small corner of Ramsgate, I was wondering where you buy a decent guillotine.


109 thoughts on “Jubilee and all That

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  • Lanzo

    I loved: “if I had been born into a life of such privilege, I would probably be a much more horrible person than she” . Or, just maybe, you meant I would do things kings are supposed to do, but why bother ? They choose the easy path: Like having all the privileges and none of the responsibilities a functional monarch should have. Win win situation. The same could be applied to all the other European monarchies, of course. It’s very depressing.

  • Mary

    Praise the Lord and give thanks. ‘It’ is ended. Four days of ‘it’ including the horseracing.
    .
    I just looked up the words of the hymnn The Day Thou Gavest Lord Is Ended and noted this. How apt.
    .
    Words: John El­ler­ton, A Li­tur­gy for Mis­sion­a­ry Meet­ings, 1870. ++Queen Vic­tor­ia chose this hymn to be sung at the 60th an­ni­vers­a­ry of her reign in 1897++; it was al­so sung at the cer­e­mo­ny when Bri­tain re­turned con­trol of Hong Kong to Chi­na in 1997.
    .

  • Wayfarer

    As an Englishman who’s spent almost 50 of his 68 years in rural Scotland, scarcely a week goes by without my hearing the term “[email protected]@rd English” – usually combined with the suggestion I “bugger off back to where I came from.” Used to be daily, but I’m retired these days and don’t get out as much. Water off a duck’s back I have to say.
    .
    But I had to laugh at the alacrity with which Jubilee celebrations took off. What started off as “Bloody English – nowt tae dae wi’ us!” turned quickly – upon the promise of a couple of days off work and some free sandwiches – to “God Save the Queen – where’s the street party?”

  • nevermind

    Looking forward to meeting you both at the event, should you find time, we can sample some nectar and flirt with dragonflies.

  • Mark Golding - Children of Iraq Association

    Angrysober,
    .
    In fact, apart from the Royal Navy all the armed forces, the police, judges, politicians, clergy, scouts and British citizenship applicants swear allegiance to the Queen.
    .
    Of course if you are none of these then you might have a love for your country and willing to die for it!

  • Roderick Russell

    @ Angrysoba “The Queen by now has pretty much no means of control over you”. Perhaps not.
    #
    But she is the figurehead behind which the very substantial powers of the “Crown” are exercised, often in secret, usually without any democratic or other proper oversight. These are powers that have very significant means of control over one. I’m referring to the UK’s very powerful secret intelligence apparatus that operates – sometimes criminally pursuing its own vested interests – without proper oversight, the appointment of judges, the right to declare war without democratic approval, a whole series of appointments that go to establishment figures rather than to those who merit them most, etc. etc.
    #
    It’s not the Queen as a figurehead head of State that concerns me, it is the undemocratic often secret use by others of the great powers of the “ Crown” .
    #
    Perhaps what is needed is a proper written constitution where these “powers of the crown” are defined and allocated to the appropriate open/elected authority. How can one have a Constitutional Monarchy without a constitution – and don’t let’s talk about an unwritten constitution either since no two people can agree on what it is.

  • Komodo

    I was only 30 years in rural Scotland, and I never heard that once, Wayfarer. Mind you, I didn’t wrap myself in the Butcher’s Apron and call everyone Jock…nor, since you ask, did I ever pretend not to be English. I was sorry to leave.
    .
    Nevermind, I may very well be in the wrong place and looking for the wrong kind of nectar…

  • Mary

    Privy councillors too Mr Russell who swear allegiance to the Queen. I asked Google how many there are but could find no definitive answer but came across this which could easily fit on Craig’s previous post on the Supreme Court judgment. It was written in 2009 so some of the names may be out of date.
    http://ukscblog.com/privy-council-the-pool-of-judges
    .
    It is then necessary to work out how many people on the long list of Privy Councils actually fit into these two categories. Research by Mr Benjamin Pell (to whom we are indebted) reveals that, in addition to the 11 current Supreme Court Justices, there appear to be 82 Privy Councillors who hold or have held “High Judicial Office” and are under 75. There appear to be a further 3 Privy Councillors who are judges of courts in the Caribbean. This gives a total “judicial panel” of 95 from which to select the JCPC which can sit in panels of 3 but usually sits as a panel of 5.
    .
    As a footnote, there appear are an additional 46 Privy Councillors who would be eligible to sit if they had not reached the age of 75. This galaxy of unfortunately unavailable talent includes retired Law Lords such as Lords Bingham, Hoffmann, Nicholls and Steyn.
    .
    Unfortunately for Lord Phillips and his organisation of sittings, many of the eligible judges already have full time jobs elsewhere – mostly in the English Court of Appeal, the Scottish Court of Session and the Northern Ireland Court of Appeal. In addition, many of the eligible judges are in Scotland or Northern Ireland. In effect, the pool then becomes Supreme Court Justices plus retired Court of Appeal judges and Law Lords under the age of 75. This list is down to something like 24 possibles.
    .
    Incidentally, the list of members of the Privy Council makes interesting reading. The longest serving member is the Duke of Edinburgh, appointed in 1951, followed by Lord Carrington (1959). Anthony Benn (as he is described) was appointed in 1964. Baroness Thatcher is a relative newcomer (appointed 1970). The President of the Council (formerly eligible to sit on the JCPC) is Lord Mandelson.

  • Komodo

    As I remember, allegiance was to “Her Majesty…, her heirs and successors”. Who could be almost anyone, if you think about it. And the way things stand there’s going to be a conflict between allegiance to her legal heir, who will probably not be given a sniff of the throne, and the politicians’choice, Willsandkate, when herself takes to the empyrean.

  • KingofWelshNoir

    Thank God it’s over. These past four days have been agony. The pap coming out of the radio and TV was unendurable.

  • Duncan

    @Wayfarer

    As a Scotsman who’s spent nearly 40 of his 41 years in rural Scotland, it’s been a long, long time since I heard the term “[email protected]@rd English” even combined with the suggestion that they “bugger off back to where they came from.”

    I have no reason to doubt that you did hear these terms spoken but judging by your second paragraph, they were meant for your ears only.

    To suggest that we teuchters (rural Scots) would sell out for a wee puckle pieces (some sandwiches) and a couple of days off work is pure shite (simply absurd).
    I and quite a lot of people I know worked the two days (and the weekend) and never went scrounging for pieces.

    I suggest you live up to your nickname and get out more (of your bed, not rural Scotland. You’re more than welcome here, in spite of your attitude)

  • Komodo

    Mind, I have heard the expression ” Ye (Fosters)ing teuchter/s” more than once from the coarse lips of untutored Glaswegians returning to Granny’s Hielan’ Hame for the Fair week…and what Macdonalds and Campbells sometimes call each other can be an example for all students of invective.

  • Clark

    KingofWelshNoir, do you have such modern devices that they don’t even go into “standby” (let alone “off”)? Couldn’t you have sat in the shed?

  • Rose

    Too much is centred around personalities in all this; who amongst us (except those who have had a personal meeting eg Craig) can possibly comment on the kind of people any of this lot are – and in any case, it’s irrelevant. I am perfectly prepared to accept that the Queen is all that Craig and the Archbish says she is – and I know exactly what Craig means when he talks about the lump in the throat moment. I put that down to a deeper yearning for something else which has nothing to do with the manufactured rubbish we have all been encouraged to swallow and which infantilises and demeans us. The problem I have had over this weekend has been in trying to convey to perfectly decent people who know my opinions, my complete indifference to the fact that it rained.

  • Mark Golding - Children of Iraq Association

    Britain is the least patriotic (meaning nationalistic or faithful to country) among a number of European countries according to a 2010 poll by the Daily Mail:
    .
    Netherlands 7.18
    Scotland 7.1
    Wales 7.06
    Italy 7.01
    Ireland 6.72
    Spain 6.57
    France 6.44
    Germany 5.81
    England 5.80
    .
    My own theory suggest a disconnect between political narratives about Queen and country and the peoples pride in British generosity – a profound, emotional connection to everyday acts, manners and kindnesses that British people see in themselves.
    .
    I remember the people’s outrage over the Royal Family’s prioritising of flag protocol over a grieving British public when Princess Diana died and the fact that NO senior royals made any personal statements about the tremendous loss to the nation or the extent of Diana’s contribution to its life.
    .
    We also remember the government(and Royal)anger after she called for an international ban on land-mines.
    .
    I say to agent Cameron his so called ‘Big Society’ can only be built on the British people’s innate altruism, kindness and
    generosity. British society is not really ‘broken’ as this man Cameron has lead us to believe. It is our hearts that are broken; broken by wars, broken by deceit and broken by the pain of mass killing in Palestine, Libya. Iraq and Afghanistan. Broken by the deaths of our young men, our British dead and wounded with many suffering amputations:
    .
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2009/sep/17/afghanistan-casualties-dead-wounded-british-data
    .
    It seems to me our leaders are devoid of compassion. They speak of reducing meddling and regulatory interventionism, still our freedoms are threatened, politicians steal our taxes, our newspapers bug our phones and the media that enters our living-rooms misleads us, bamboozles the naive and insults our intelligence.
    .
    Even our children are sucked into pomp, parade and pageantry, a make believe picture of Briticism devoid of the power and greed that left behind global poverty and colonial blood-baths.
    .
    We are left with a British elite whose heart is empty and its morals non-existent.

  • Guest

    “anger after she called for an international ban on land-mines.”
    .
    “He argues that the NSA had to concede that it held more than 1000 pages of information on Princess Diana, because her conduct ran counter to US policy, owing to her campaign against land mines.”
    .
    http://cryptome.org/echelon-ep-fin.htm

  • KingofWelshNoir

    Clark
    .
    Yes, I do have modern devices that go into ‘stand-by’ and even one or two really advanced ones that can go ‘off’. And that, indeed, is where my radio spent most of this four day weekend. However, as a licence-fee payer I’m still allowed to object to the fact that the BBC filled its airwaves with a wall-to-wall diet of brainless loons each one of whom strove to out-do the previous one in talking utter self-deluding, sentimental, toadying, sycophantic gobshite totally divorced from reality. For someone who doesn’t buy into all that pap, it was very distressing. And you know what? Despite the impression given that the whole nation had bought into it, I couldn’t find a single person among my acquaintances who had, nor in my forays to the local shopping centre could I find much evidence to support the view either. All I found was two or three shops among fifty with some lame-ass display of union jacks in the window, and virtually zero enthusiasm. All of which confirmed what I had suspected, namely that the impression given by the BBC that the whole country was in paroxysms of delight over this festival was nonsense. And, yeah, I know that apparently makes me some kind of spoil sport, but really I was quite disturbed by the manner in which millions of people could take such collective leave of their senses.

  • Clark

    KingofWelshNoir, superb rant!

    the BBC filled its airwaves with a wall-to-wall diet of brainless loons each one of whom strove to out-do the previous one in talking utter self-deluding, sentimental, toadying, sycophantic gobshite totally divorced from reality.

    But isn’t this the norm? Yes, I see your point about the licence money, which is probably why I’m not as upset; I don’t have a licence.

  • Compass1312

    As an ex pat now living in Oz, I too watched the concert with interest on the royal box. Those people left me disinterested in the monarchy. I must say though that at the same time I felt some sort of empathy for the woman who has ruled the Commonwealth for so long.

    I suppose we all have a duty in life, and Lillibet has performed hers admirably. Credit where credit is due.

    Now I would like to see Australia become a Republic…

  • Mary

    ‘It’ is not all ended unfortunately. They are replaying the crowd scenes in the Mall with Land of Hope and Glory playing. Nearly all the newspapers are full of ‘it’. Cameron was making the most of ‘it’ last night with interviews on Sky, BBC, ITV and Ch 4 news quoting the ‘Proud to be British’ meme from P Charles. This propaganda will be used ad infinitum to secure the succession which was in doubt a decade ago.
    .
    I like the correlation of the links below to the various performers’ origins here.
    .
    Quislings
    Posted by Hidari on June 6, 2012, 7:27 am
    .
    ‘++Sir Tom Jones and Dame Shirley Bassey++ were among the acts at the spectacular Jubilee concert at Buckingham Palace….Opening host ++ Rob Brydon++ joked: “Welcome to the noisiest party the Queen has ever seen. She won’t like this…
    .
    One of the most bizarre performances of the night came as style queen ++Grace Jones++ performed her entire hit Slave To the Rhythm with a hula hoop, without it slipping…
    ..
    ++Annie Lennox++ upped the drama to perform her Eurythmics chart-topper There Must Be An Angel (Playing With My Heart), while wearing a silver sequinned gown and angel wings. The backing band – and conductor – wore matching wings.
    .
    Veteran Australian star ++Rolf Harris++ joined in the spirit by wearing a shirt bearing the Union flag.
    .
    wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_invasion_of_Wales
    .
    bbc.co.uk/history/british/empire_seapower/acts_of_union_01.shtml
    .
    guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/jul/01/invasion-australia-forbidden-word-aboriginal
    .
    wikipedia.org/wiki/Invasion_of_Jamaica_(1655)
    .
    http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/2012/06/05/tom-jones-and-shirley-bassey-star-in-diamond-jubilee-concert-91466-31115279/#ixzz1wzVohyU9
    .
    I thought Rolf Harris was especially obsequious throughout. Probably senile dementia is setting in.

  • Mary

    ‘It is our hearts that are broken; broken by wars, broken by deceit and broken by the pain of mass killing in Palestine, Libya. Iraq and Afghanistan. Broken by the deaths of our young men, our British dead and wounded with many suffering amputations’.
    .
    Our hearts are broken Mark but I do not think the vast majority share our concern. I do not think the injustices cross their minds nor do they care about those wars apart from the British dead or injured in them.

  • Mary

    Komodo we talked about Sri Lanka earlier.
    .
    ‘The revelations come as Sri Lanka’s head of state, Mahinda Rajapaksa, is expected to have lunch with the Queen and other heads of Commonwealth states as part of jubilee celebrations on Wednesday.’
    .
    Tamils deported to Sri Lanka from Britain being tortured, victim claims
    Government under pressure to change policy after court halts removal of 40 people and victim tells of brutal two-week ordeal
    .
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/jun/05/tamils-deported-sri-lanka-torture

  • Mary

    Thanks for that link Guest. Dr Clarke’s blog is excellent and exposes
    the deceit and hypocrisy of the politicians. He seems to be particularly well informed!
    .
    See Tim Ireland’s Bloggerheads on Anne Milton’s election literature falsification. {http://www.bloggerheads.com/archives/2011/01/to-steve-hilton-an-open-letter/}
    .
    I thought this was good – Bliar coaching Cameron on how to defeat opposition to the NHS bill.

    .
    http://eoin-clarke.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/while-we-fought-to-defeat-tory-nhs-bill.html

  • Mary

    An aside, whilst all this tomfoolery was taking place.
    .
    In Occupied Palestine Zionism in practice
    .
    Israel’s Daily Toll on Palestinian Life, Limb, Liberty and Property

    (Compiled by Leslie Bravery, Palestine Human Rights Campaign POB 56150, Dominion Rd, Auckland, New Zealand http://www.palestine.org.nz)

    24 hours to 8am 03 June 2012 [Main source of statistics: Palestinian Monitoring Group (PMG).]
    .
    Zionist regime continues attacks on defenceless civilians

    Israeli air raids: one baby and other children injured, many homes damaged

    Two Israeli Navy attacks on fishing boats off Beit Lahiya

    Israeli air strikes inflict extensive agricultural damage

    Zionist fanatics uproot 65 Palestinian olive trees

    Israeli Army injures peaceful protesters

    Night peace disruption and/or home invasions in refugee camp (twice) and 5 towns and villages

    5 air raids – 2 attacks – 7 raids including home invasions

    6 beaten – 13 injured – 8 acts of agricultural/economic sabotage

    5 taken prisoner – 9 detained – 105 restrictions of movement

  • Komodo

    I think the point about Sri Lanka is that while Tim Bell was bigging up the Rajapaksa regime
    http://groundviews.org/2011/12/13/bell-pottinger-and-sri-lanka-a-trail-of-spin-doctoring-and-whitewashing/
    and Fox and Werritty were presumably selling it British arms, systematic slaughter and imprisonment on a scale unmatched by Assad were taking place, and the oppression continues to the present. Largely unreported in the UK*, and the subject of no international outrage.
    *Except by Channel 4:
    {http://blogs.channel4.com/world-news-blog/rajapakse-speech-cancelled-over-tamil-protest-fears/22319}

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