Cool Observation of Mass Hysteria 358

When the so-called “Leader of the opposition” opposes protest against a new unelected head of state, out of respect for the previous unelected head of state, you know you live under totalitarianism.

Except almost all dictatorships do at least have the form of an election. Indeed, some of the worst dictators in modern history have been genuinely elected, an unfortunate fact we generally prefer to elide.

Over a week of mob hysteria in the UK helps us to understand how.

The psychological phenomenon of societal emotional spasm is fairly well studied but still not necessarily fully explained. How we get to a stage where, in 2022, newspapers are seriously promoting as miraculous clouds that “look like the Queen”, double rainbows or meteors, is a difficult question.

What is not in the doubt is the tendency of deluded mobs to turn on those who do not join in – and the capacity of the unscrupulous to exploit that power.

Attempts to intimidate people out of protesting against the monarchy appear broadly to have succeeded. We saw some hideous attacks on free speech over the last week, including people arrested for holding up placards, for peacefully expressing vocal dissent, or even for carrying eggs or blank pieces of paper.

A number of figures have stood up to come out arguing for freedom of speech – Andrew Marr, Martin Bell, John Sweeney, David Davis, Joanna Cherry, Michael Russell. These are all figures who broadly represent a liberal consensus in society that seems to have gone. As I know all but one of them, I hope they will forgive me for saying they tend to be slightly passé.

Nobody in power, in Westminster or in Scotland, has asserted the importance of freedom of speech, while opposition leader Keir Starmer has done the opposite, emphasising “respect” for authority as more important than freedom of speech, a position taken by anti-democrats everywhere.

There are two arguments used against freedom of speech at present:

1) We should honour the dead, and respect the sanctity of the mourning period.

I do not in general dismiss the value of all societal convention, and I have a certain sympathy for this approach. However, the difficulty is that the accession of a new monarch happens at the moment of death of the old monarch. The latter cannot be used to stifle all protest at the former.

The Establishment quite deliberately conflates the two in order to prevent protest. We have the extraordinary and macabre spectacle of the corpse of the late Queen being carted around the country and her coffin put on public display.

If people really cared for her, I would have thought it much more respectful to bury her, but the monarchist hysteria has to be dialed up past 11 for the longest possible period, and the excuse for suppressing dissent has to be maintained.

Young Rory, who was viciously, physically attacked for heckling sexual abuser Prince Andrew at the Edinburgh procession and then arrested, handcuffed and charged, was widely condemned by the media for disturbing a funeral. But it was not a funeral. That funeral is still not until Monday, when this farce finally ends.

The correct word for what we have witnessed so far is not a funeral but a series of bizarre obsequies. The state is demanding that all citizens be obsequious.

There is a reason that word has such negative connotations, and if the UK had educated journalists rather than state stenographers they might explore it.

So much has been entirely irrational. One moment that stuck in my mind was criticism of Liz Truss for failing to curtsy to the coffin of the Queen when it arrived at RAF Northolt. This was described as “grotesque” – as though curtsying to a corpse were not itself an image straight out of Edgar Allan Poe.

The concomitant of stretching out the period before poor Elizabeth is finally put to rest, is to use that period to maximum political advantage for the introduction of the new King, while his mother’s aura still shines.

We have the deliberate confusion of the two processes. Both the man in Oxford who merely asked “who elected him?”, and the woman in Edinburgh who held the sign saying “Fuck imperialism, abolish the monarchy”, were at the specific proclamation of the accession of King Charles III – events separate to the obsequies. Yet both were condemned for lack of respect for a dead Queen.

We also have the extraordinary spectacle of Charles, immediately after the death of his mother, abandoning his mourning and bottling his grief while shuttling furiously around Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales for entirely political events.

This did not have to happen. This is absolutely not a tradition. Nothing remotely like it has ever happened before.

There was no reason whatsoever why Charles had to visit the Scottish parliament, the Welsh senedd or the assembly in the north of Ireland, now. This could have waited until after the funeral. He could even have had a week of rest and reflection after the funeral before embarking on a tour of the nations.

There was a deliberate decision to hold these political events in Edinburgh, Belfast and Cardiff, aimed at strengthening the monarchy and union, while the corpse was still metaphorically warm, in order to maximise the political bounce for the monarchy from Elizabeth’s death.

Part of this calculation was that, if Charles’ first visit as King was after the funeral, there would be political protest at the accession in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast, possibly quite substantial.

There is absolutely no modern precedent for a royal tour between the death and the funeral of the previous monarch. It is, when you think about it, disrespectful.

Edinburgh is explicable in terms of Elizabeth dying in Scotland, but Belfast and Cardiff?

Which tells us that “King Charles III” would have still taken advantage of the mourning period to make his power consolidation visit to Edinburgh, no matter where his mother had died.

There is nothing more cynical. We are whipped up to observe emotional mourning, while those who you would expect truly to be in mourning are engaged in cold, political calculation.

One of the darkly amusing things about the last few days was to witness all of the deluded monarchists on social media excusing Charles’ extraordinary tantrum in Northern Ireland about a pen, on the grounds that he must be exhausted making this tour when his mother had just died.

But the answer of course is that he did not have instantly to dash to Northern Ireland at all, leaving behind the rites for his mother. He was doing so for political gain.

It is a capricious God who supports a royal family so much he makes clouds in their image and celebrates them in rainbows and comets, yet makes pens leak on them “every stinking time.”

2) Protest May Cause a Breach of the Peace

This is a truly sinister argument. What it amounts to is this:

The mob is encouraged to beat up dissidents, so the expression of dissent is illegal.

It is quite literal fascism, the exertion of violent force by thugs in the street to quell dissent, with the state backing the thugs and criminalising the dissidents. That is precisely how all fascist regimes operate.

It is now being used shamelessly. None of the thugs who attacked Rory in Edinburgh has been charged. Rory has been charged with a breach of the peace.

If a breach of the peace is an action likely to provoke disorder, then the persons to be charged should be those who decided to put on display in positions of great honour a man who avoided a trial on sex trafficking by payment of £12 million pounds.

One sign of how emboldened the dregs of society are by this period of mob rule, is the quite extraordinary number of people on social media actively defending Prince Andrew, something that was extremely rare before the death of the Queen.

On twitter, it is interesting how many of those defending Andrew show the characteristics I identified of British government troll units. These are very low follower numbers for an account claiming to have been in existence at least ten years, and a timeline consisting entirely of retweets.

The rehabilitation of Andrew is another of the political purposes to which Elizabeth’s death is being put, to which we are not allowed to object on grounds of “decorum” and “respect”.

Now I would not personally have done what Rory did, in the presence of a coffin. But that is a question of etiquette, taste and demeanour, not of the criminal law.

Anybody who had been paying attention ought not be surprised that the Scottish prosecutorial service is happily channeling this fascism and people are coming up for trial for breach of the peace, including the young woman who did nothing but hold up a placard at the outdoor, public proclamation ceremony.

On Sunday, Police Scotland have banned Yestival, an annual Independence rally in George Square, Glasgow, on the grounds that the Queen’s funeral is on the next day, 400 miles away.

The organisers have quietly rescheduled the event, but I shall turn up anyway to bear witness to my beliefs, because I object to being told I may not express my political opinions. I don’t expect there will be more than a dozen of us and nothing in particular is organised to happen – no stage and no microphones. Unless the mere fact of my existence is held by the fascists to be a breach of the peace, I am not sure how it would be illegal. But they may find a way. This is Scotland 2022.

In the long term I am not downhearted. Propaganda works, and I have no doubt whatsoever that monarchism and even unionism will get a measurable opinion poll boost from the current shenanigans.

But it will not be true that the replacement of a popular monarch by an unpopular one will, in the medium term, strengthen the monarchy. Public and press access will be stifled to suppress awareness of Charles’ appalling high-handedness and temper and the way he treats staff

But you can’t make this man popular, and his Queen Consort will be a constant reminder of how he treated his unfortunate first wife.

As for the mob hysteria, I am of the generation that was sent to church every Sunday of my childhood. I recall the sermon every Palm Sunday pointing out that the same rapturous crowd that hailed Jesus into Jerusalem, called for his death five days later.

All the great religions contain a lot of good sense within their mysticism.


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358 thoughts on “Cool Observation of Mass Hysteria

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  • iain

    English and Scottish elites lead the world in royal worship and in pomp, circumstance and pageantry, but according to the FT the average British household is now *20%* worse off than its peers in NW Europe and will soon be worse off than the average Polish household. By the end of this decade Britain will need to ask migrant arrivals to take a pay cut.
    So twelve more royal huzzahs, a gun salute and a 9 hour queue for the richest among us, damn you!

    “In 2007, the average UK household was 8 per cent worse off than its peers in north-western Europe, but the deficit has since ballooned to a record 20 per cent. On present trends, the average Slovenian household will be better off than its British counterpart by 2024, and the average Polish family will move ahead before the end of the decade. A country in desperate need of migrant labour may soon have to ask new arrivals to take a pay cut.”

    • Wally Jumblatt

      I’m surprised not many more realise how badly the decline of the living standards is in the UK.
      Travel anywhere in the developed world and you see the working family in better housing, with a better plot of land, a nicer village or town, a better climate and a better view. Also in most countries, a better and more rewarding job.
      Travel almost anywhere in the developed world and you’ll see your pound won’t buy anything like the value you hope it will.
      The UK continues its slide into a third-world standard of living. We’ve nothing to export.
      You can blame abject politicians and a crippling tax system, abject civil servants, short-sighted unions, a politicised education system, a hopeless NHS and a disheartened and disillusioned people.
      I was hoping Brexit would force us to energise and innovate, but it seems to be happening more slowly that I thought. But the Remainians continue their sabotage I guess. (Northern Ireland protocol, I ask you)

      I’m not holding my breath for the Sluggard Sturgeon to make plans for a deep-water port on the west coast and a fast rail link to Europe or even to the east-coast ports; for any encouragement to expand high-tech industry; for any investment into rural communities to encourage people to live and work in the country; for any serious attempt to encourage jobs for post-grad students, drug addicts, even jailbirds; to overhaul the NHS, for the slightest inkling she’ll remove a vegetating secretary of the department and stimulate the education system to produce the world-beaters that our kids can be if encouraged.
      Otherwise the best of our talent swill continue to leave.

      • Dawg

        > to produce the world-beaters that our kids can be if encouraged.

        The British Empire was a world-beater in the same sense that Johnny Depp was a wife-beater (as alleged and successfully defended in court by The Sun). That’s how Britain gained its wealth.

        Let’s hope we can train our kids to be world leaders, and trust that they’ll lead in the right direction. Our liberal culture was born out of youth activism and some of today’s young pups are putting the boomer generation to shame on a range of ethical issues.

      • Jams O'Donnell

        Wally – personally I blame the ‘public’ schools for enabling the perpetuation of the class system and the successful production of entitled and trained psychopaths who are oven ready to take over the reigns of power in every generation. The monarchy is a cover blanket and enabler for this system.

  • Tom

    Why does he need to include a vigil at Westminster in his itinerary today? Is it to justify the use of a helicopter instead of a 2 hour train journey? It’s not like he hasn’t already done this at least 3 times already, surely now is the time to allow the deluded masses their time without having to clear the queues to allow the entitled King to skip them.

    • Vivian O’Blivion

      Aye, they’re kicking off about members of the HoL skipping the queue to view the lying in state. Outrageous! It’s almost as if there was a caste system at play here.

      “How dare the 27th Earl of Dalrymple skip the queue. Doesn’t he know we’re a meritocracy.”

      • Deb O'Nair

        I flicked over to watch the crowd go past on Wednesday morning and at 07:50 I spotted a woman in the crowd who looked like Theresa May, and indeed it was. I think parliamentarians get to slip into the queue from the side but join the public queue.

        • Dawg

          The controversy was addressed on the BBC News: Queen’s lying-in-state: Controversy over MPs being allowed to skip queue

          “A row has broken out over who is allowed to skip the queue to pay their respects to the late Queen.
          MPs and members of the House of Lords do not have to queue and can take four guests each to the lying-in-state.
          The majority of Parliamentary staff can also avoid the queues – but people working for MPs must stand in line.
          Cleaners and security guards employed by contractors in Parliament must also queue – prompting claims they are being treated as “second class citizens”.

          It seems that Theresa May enjoyed the same privileges.

          The Daily Mail reported on the BBC’s Philip Schofield and Holly Willoughby filing past the coffin, and said they had also queue-jumped as they were wearing lanyards – indicating special access for work purposes.

          Daily Mail: Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield cut sombre figures as they film TV segment for This Morning at Westminster Hall – as grieving Brits queue for up to 14 hours to view the Queen’s coffin

          It also mentions that ITV’s morning show host Susanna Reid queued for 7 hours with the ordinary plebs. The queue was 6 miles long this morning.

          David Beckham was also spotted queueing with the public for many hours. In the interview, he said he was surviving on Pringles and doughnuts, and complained that his back and feet were sore. He surely ranks as celebrity royalty – though clearly not as ‘entitled’ as honourable members and their 4 guests each. Maybe he should have phoned his MP?

          • Jams O'Donnell

            Anyone complaining of a bad back or sore feet only have themselves to blame. This queueing to see a coffin, (or a bit of a dead body if that’s what you see) is completely moronic. 99% of these people never met the woman. She was just an old biddy with an interest in horse racing, gin and dog breeding. Nothing special, no matter how hard the slimy sycophants try to assert otherwise

          • Observer

            Strange that people who queue for hours to see the most privileged person (corpse) in Britain are surprised that there are people who have more privilege than them when it comes to queuing.

  • Fat Jon

    I don’t know what the problem is. I didn’t understand it when Diana died, especially from certain newspapers who 7 days earlier had been slagging her off for wearing a dress which looked very much like one available in C&A stores.

    My only guess is that the MSM are obsessed with trying to follow and then influence what they believe to be the majority public mood, because they need to practise the remote mind control techniques for when the real propaganda efforts kick in, i.e. the US must be upheld as the planet’s guardian and police force.

    It is like an Orwellian dystopia, but under the guise of freedom and democracy. I have no objection to Charles III and the line of succession, although I do object to the cost of all the ceremonial pomp and the vast carbon footprint of private flights. I prefer knowing in advance who the next monarch is going to be, rather than having glossy ‘manifestos’ forced upon me from potential Presidents Alan Sugar, or Piers Morgan, or Sebastian Coe every 5 years or so.

    • vin_ot

      Even staunch royalists know that this tidal wave of state/oligarch propaganda is solely to manufacture consent for an unelected king, nothing else. The sad circus of monarchy is now all Britain’s Establishment has left to make it feel special and significant in the world. But they know from polling that young people and fast growing ethnic minority populations don’t want it. They also know Charles Windsor is unlikable to most, hence all the stops are being pulled out. Will their relentless efforts at brainwashing have the desired effect? I suspect not. It should be noted that the numbers convinced to go out and honour royalty are significantly smaller than the number of people who voted Green at the last general election. Desperate daze.

      • Observer

        People of influence want to keep the polis distracted from the clotshot and our disastrous Ukraine intervention.

        But… journalists will seize on *anything* to get eyeballs and clicks. They’re poorly paid for the most part, and beholden to the next published piece in order to buy another meal.

    • Jimmeh

      > trying to follow and then influence what they believe to be the majority public mood

      I hear what you’re saying, Jon, but I don’t agree. I think the situation is more sinister; the corruption of the MSM runs far deeper than a bit of flag-waving nationalism and attempts to exploit royalty the way that “influencers” are used.

      Rather, the MSM are thoroughly penetrated by the establishment, and work in concert to promote establishment narratives. The monstering of Assange and Corbyn are prominent recent examples; but I’ve noticed that TV News nowadays seems to have the same headlines, in roughly the same order, with mostly the same talking-heads, regardless of which channel you watch. This has become more pronounced in the last six months. That’s not explicable as simply a concordance of views around the editorial committtees; I know it sounds like a conspiracy theory, but I’m convinced there’s a hidden hand at work, coercing the editors.

      What is this “hidden hand”? Well, I think the recent history at The Guardian is illuminating. The events surrounding the Snowden papers (MI6 in The Guardian’s basement, dismantling laptops using Dremel drills and angle-grinders) were completely pointless for removing the data from public discourse, because everyone knew there were many other copies of the data; the NYT had a copy, for example. The outcome was a marked decrease in the diversity of The Guardian’s output, and a marked increase in The Guardian’s hostility to any anti-establishment narrative. The Guardian’s hostility to Corbyn in particular seems to me to have been a direct result of that theatrical government attack on a supposedly-independent news organ.

      As far as The Beeb is concerned: I’m horrified at the way they’ve behaved. It’s now impossible to get any news from The Beeb; if they have any news, it’s squeezed into a 3-minute slot, at some random time in the middle of the fawning, obsequious black-suit crap. I watch TV; so I’m required by law to buy a TV licence, even if I want to boycott The Beeb. So my attitude has changed; I no longer feel inclined to support the TV licence fee. I don’t care if that forces The Beeb to run ads; I don’t watch ads, I have a TV recorder, so I skip through them. I’d like to see The Beeb forced to drop three TV channels and a dozen or so radio stations. And a few hundred overpaid executives, news presenters, and manufactured “stars”.

      • Observer

        “That’s not explicable as simply a concordance of views around the editorial committtees; I know it sounds like a conspiracy theory, but I’m convinced there’s a hidden hand at work, coercing the editors.”

        You’ll be pleased to know the conspiracies have a name; research “The Integrity Initiative” and “The Trusted News Initiative”.

        I think Craig’s written about them on a number of occasions.

  • Vivian O’Blivion

    I widnae be so sure about a boost in the polls for monarchism resulting from this Pyongyang-proportion propaganda pish.
    I detect a simmering rage in the streets (of Scotland). We are force-fed a narrative that disnae match our sentiment.
    Polls indicate support for the monarchy (excluding don’t knows) in the UK at net 50%. For residents of Scotland support is net 14%. For autochthonous Scots the same metric is nearer 8%.

    • craig Post author

      Yes – I think it’s important to clarify that by net 14 it means 14% more support than oppose the monarchy in Scotland. I fear that will indeed increase a little in the short term. I don’t think your and my reaction to this crap is typical.

      • Gordie

        I don’t believe for a minute monarchy has majority support of Scots.

        We are very effectively separated from each other and our stories by the press but that is my firm belief based on my experience of living here for all of my 53 years and being Scottish.

        The Monarchy did its work behind closed doors under the old ruler. The new one likes people to know what he thinks. This is one of the most powerful family dynasties on earth. I can see an opportunity here. Once the monarchy is diminished what is left will look threadbare.

        • Roger

          This is one of the most powerful family dynasties on earth.

          What?!? The British monarchy has no power whatsoever. We waste a lot of money on it, but Charles has lived his entire life in a gilded cage. He didn’t even get to decide whom to marry, the first time.

    • Jimmeh

      Hey, “authochthanous” is a new one on me, Vivian! I had to look it up; apparently it’s a synonym for “indigenous”.

      Bit like “sybaritic”, from Craig’s previous post, except that for some reason I happened to know what that word meant.

      This blog and it’s comments are turning into a veritable goldmine of lexicographic trivia.

  • Mist001

    I don’t believe for a second that the Queen’s body has ever been inside the coffin. I think it’s been lead lined to give the impression to the coffin bearers and handlers that there’s a body inside in case they were to spill the beans and say ‘it felt rather light’. It’s not like anybody can ever go to the coffin and peek inside anyway. I’m no undertaker but I imagine that since it doesn’t appear to have been refrigerated at any point, then any body inside must be giving off quite a pungent odour by now.

    I think there was either a private service and burial at Balmoral, assuming that’s where she actually died, or her body was whisked away whilst everyone was distracted watching William Purves doing the journey to Edinburgh.

    Timing is everything, she may have died months ago and the state sat on the announcement until they felt the time was right to announce it so they concocted this Scottish connection of her passing at Balmoral to ‘save the union’.

    I’m immediately suspicious of anything the state does during events like these. I don’t believe a word that they say.

    • SleepingDog

      @Mist001, are autopsies usually done on heads of state who die in office? One might suspect foul play in hereditary monarchies or regimes with appointed heirs. I would have thought there might be at least some coroner report on cause of death. Of course, maybe the coffin of the world’s longest-active nuclear terrorist would be lead-lined to protect the public.

    • Ebenezer Scroggie

      The reason why the coffin is lined with lead which is soldered shut to maintain a hermetic seal is because the “burial” in the Royal Vault is not an earth-to-earth, dust-to-dust affair.

      The coffin, just like that of Philip and the Queen Mother, is simply racked on a storage plinth in quite a large space about 16 feet below ground level. Sure, it gets whiffy, but the necrotic ooze and its smell are tightly confined within the leaden container.

      It’s actually three concentric boxes. The inner box is a simple wooden affair which is totally surrounded by soldered lead sheeting. Then those two boxes are surrounded by a thick oaken box made from oaks felled on the Sandringham estate fifty years ago. That’s why it takes eight large men to lift the thing.

    • Uwontbegrinningsoon

      Who shook hands with Truss ? I think it was the queen. Watch out you don’t end up in the Andrew Duncan clinic. They never get out !!

  • Michael Droy

    Quite literally fascism – true. But a broad fascism that covers the left as much or more than the right. Little wonder that Starmer leads the fashion.
    Public bullying is the norm now. Some may think some of it is just the nanny state – advising caution on Covid because we should irrespective of actual scientific advice to limit lockdowns and focus on the elderly not schools.
    Some may approve of parts (I’m quite soft towards the royals myself) and only question other parts.

    But it totally dominates the public sphere nowadays. Once top civil servants obsessed about the QALY calculations that would have shown lockdown consequences were far worse than Covid itself. Now it seems they never even made the calculations but instead were obsessed with versions of Nudge Theory. Nudge Theory is only as good and the direction you nudge in, but that seems to be ignored now – nudge nudge nudge, don’t worry where. This is about bullying for bullying’s sake.

    The worst of it is when opinion bullying takes the place of all reporting on say Ukraine (aka Syria with Nazis instead of ISIS). Absolutely nothing reported on Ukraine makes any sense whatsoever. And yet it is reported with absolute certainty and a hint of menace to anyone who questions.

    • David Warriston

      The use of the word ‘fascism’ as used by Craig Murray relating to the arrest of a demonstrator is not overblown rhetoric. The Nazi Germany state had a catch all legal term called ‘protective custody.’ This allowed them to arrest and detain anyone opposed to their cause on the pretext that good citizens might beat up any anti-Nazis they encountered. The fiction was that the protester was being arrested for his own safety.

      • Michael Droy

        I agree – but so long as we also agree that modern “fascism” is not a thing from the right, and the biggest pusher of modern fascism is the Dems in US.

        • glenn_nl

          Utter tosh. You shouldn’t believe everything you see on Fox ‘News’, you know.

          The Christian nationalists, led by your death-cult head Trump, who’s supporters openly chant “Jews will not replace us” while other white supremacists were actively in his government – they’re not at all fascistic, naturally!

    • Clark

      Michael Droy, 12:55

      “…actual scientific advice to limit lockdowns”

      Actual scientists advising that were in a tiny minority of relevant scientists, and frequently also made claims that proved to be wrong, such that natural immunity would prevent the second wave. But this minority eg. Sunetra Gupta, Mike Yeadon etc., were given disproportionate coverage by the corporate media, because the economic right wing promoted them.

      “…lockdown consequences were far worse than Covid itself”

      Simple examination of the graphs of deaths from all causes disprove this; the deaths peak two weeks after the start of lockdown. Deaths did not rise and then remain roughly constant during lockdown, nor gradually increase as we’d expect if “lockdown was taking its toll”. In various areas locked down but protected from covid by lockdown, the death rate actually fell, presumably due to suppression of other illnesses and accidents.

      I do not support the government’s policy on lockdown; it was always too late, not localised / omitted travel restrictions, and forced those in poorest employment conditions to keep working, risking infection.

      Off-topic factual correction concludes here.

      [ Mod: … and any follow-up comments will be deleted for being off topic. Any arguments supporting or disputing UK policies on lockdown, covid-19 and related matters should be posted in the discussion forum, not here. ]

  • Jimmeh

    Chas is notoriously a kook. He’s much more dangerous than Liz; her attempts to influence government were restricted (as far as I’m aware) to matters like taxing royal revenues and protecting royal estates against the encroachments of things like pipelines, roads and railways.

    I think there’s a very real risk that Chas will be a *much* more activist monarch; he’s already an old man, he’s been waiting for this moment for 60 years, and he hasn’t got very long to push his agenda through. I suspect his agenda might be a lot weirder than just a ban on “monstrous carbuncles”.

  • SleepingDog

    Well, I agree with the political analysis and the highlighting the somewhat sinister trend of innovative political propaganda being falsely dressed up as tradition. And the conditioning of the UK electorate to view highly-political reactionary right-wing royalism as somehow ‘apolitical’.

    Incidentally, Wikipedia says Starmer’s official title is:

    Leader of His Majesty’s Most Loyal Opposition

    I have been wondering about the personal evaluation of the Queen (whose mind remains opaque after death) in similar terms to the philosophical question of the character of God, in relation to the Problem of Evil, power and knowledge. In temporal terms, the Queen may have had top-level security clearance, as some have asserted. In terms of Empire, this means that answers were there for her asking. In terms of temporal power, the Queen wielded enormous royal prerogatives. So if the British Empire did extensive evil, then if the Queen didn’t know it was because she failed to ask reasonable questions, and therefore was somewhat ethically useless in terms of providing a constitutional bulwark against evil government, or for some reason could not exert her prerogative powers to stop it. In the case of the Queen discovering evil, if she was so virtuous, why not just abdicate or whistleblow? Seek sanctuary in another country if necessary? I think the more obvious interpretation is that the Queen was aware of many of the evils of her Empire, and indeed ordered a great many of them (even her own government’s blog says she was part of the Suez conspiracy to commit belligerent war and blame the victim). I guess historians will be poring over these events now.

  • Robert Dyson

    Surprised like you about the tour of the nations. I too thought it disrespectful to be in such a rush. On the inkwells, a normal person would just take a second to move them away, maybe complaining about who was daft enough to put them in the way. This has given me a bad impression of Charles. If there is an attempt to rehabilitate Andrew, it will signal the end of the monarchy. QE2 managed to keep an appearance of humility, she clearly had emotional intelligence. For the majority, we are past the age of deference and don’t take well to being treated like serfs.
    Best wishes to you for all your work.

    • David Warriston

      ‘For the majority, we are past the age of deference and don’t take well to being treated like serfs.’

      You do your ancestors a great disservice. They came closer to uprooting the class system 100 years ago, and earlier, than has happened since. We live in an age where the word ‘compliant’ has been turned into a civic virtue. Surely the crowds lining UK streets indicate a desire to remain in serfdom.

  • Clark

    Craig, I wholeheartedly agree. The following needs to be restated:

    The mob is encouraged to beat up dissidents, so the expression of dissent is illegal. It is quite literal fascism, the exertion of violent force by thugs in the street to quell dissent, with the state backing the thugs and criminalising the dissidents. That is precisely how all fascist regimes operate.

  • Martin

    Interesting that all the propaganda, from royal speeches to media commentary, stress the Queen’s and new King’s “service to the nation”. Isn’t that a reversal of the reality – that we, HM’s subjects, serve the monarchy? I bet there are quite a few Brits – even Scots – who would be willing to exchange their existing circumstances of costly housing, wage slavery, and insecurity, for service to the nation with palatial free housing, a “job” for life, and remuneration in the tens of millions.

  • glenn_nl

    A fine article.

    I love how Starmer effectively says, of course we respect the right to protest! Just so long as nobody actually does it.

    Fortunately, I was thousands of miles away when Saint Diana died, according to all accounts the mass outpouring of insanity in the UK was unbelievable. Concerning this latest bout, an American friend said, “The British go on about having a stiff upper lip, ‘Keep calm and carry on’ and all of that – it’s all bullshit! You’re nothing but a bunch of hysterics!”

  • ET

    I see that the UK government is not above using the occasion in a form of protest of its own. I see that a Chinese delegation has been refused permission by Commons authorities to attend the lying in state after an intervention by the speaker. A House of Commons spokesman said “we do not comment on security matters” when queried. How it this in any way a security matter?
    Invitations to the queen’s state funeral have not been sent to Russia, Belarus or Myanmar, while Iran will only be represented at an ambassadorial level, it is understood.
    Russia and Belarus I can understand.

    • Dawg

      It’s a tit-for-tat retaliation, ET. In March, China imposed sanctions on 9 British people, which included travel bans prohibiting them from entering China, Hong Kong and Macau (and ostensibly Taiwan). The speakers of the HoC and HoL correspondingly barred Chinese officials from entering parliament. As the Queen’s coffin is lying in state in Westminster Hall, which is within the parliamentary estate, it’s just a reaffirmation of the same decision.

      The government of Myanmar isn’t recognised as it came to power in a military coup. Relations with Iran aren’t great at the moment either.

      • Jimmeh

        > The government of Myanmar isn’t recognised as it came to power in a military coup.

        That seems a bit arbitrary; the UK Government isn’t particularly consistent about that kind of thing. We recognized Pinochet’s Chile, and the government of Egypt is recognized, despite being the result of a violent coup against a duly-elected government.

        I suspect the reluctance to recognize the government of Burma might be because there is a lot of lingering sympathy for Aung Sang Suu Khi, who used to be regarded as some kind of saint (until she revealed her true colours – a racist bigot). Or it might be that the Burmese military government had the temerity to change the name of their country.

        I doubt it’s simply because they came to power in a coup.

  • fonso

    “the same rapturous crowd that hailed Jesus into Jerusalem, called for his death five days later”

    It was interesting recently to see how the Japanese rejected their media’s command that they lionize the assassinated Shinzo Abe. The majority opposed the elite’s push for a state funeral and a large percentage even expressed approval of the assassination. Perhaps the Japanese are more intelligent or made of sterner stuff than the British. It does offer hope that populations can reject their elite’s self-serving propaganda.

  • Republicofscotland

    I think the parading of Queen Elizabeth’s coffin all around the UK is more to do with promoting the royals, rather than as a mark of respect for the late queen. The mass hysteria, or cognitive dissonance spoon feed to the public 24/7 on Queen Elizabeth’s life, death, birth and everything other tedious aspect of her long and cossetted life, is pushed by media.

    It was only a few months back this same kind of trope on Ukraine and Russia was rolled out and the masses again bought into it big time.

  • Republicofscotland

    “On twitter, it is interesting how many of those defending Andrew show the characteristics I identified of British government troll units. These are very low follower numbers for an account claiming to have been in existence at least ten years, and a timeline consisting entirely of retweets.”

    A study on bots has been carried out, with another event in mind, and it found that up to 80% of tweets on it, could be bot accounts. It would come as no surprise, if the likes of the 77th brigade were tasked with defending Prince Andrew on social media.

    • Stevie Boy

      Let’s NEVER forget that the 77th Brigade is a military unit deployed by the UK Government, supported by Parliament, against the people of the UK.

  • Juteman

    The way helicopters followed the Queens tour of the the UK made me think of the way helicopters followed the OJ Simpson chase, or the Tour de France.
    I prefer to think of it as The Tour de Farce.

  • Huw

    I believe that your Sunday school teacher was misinformed. It’s a neat idea that the very same people who cried “Hosanna” when Jesus entered Jerusalem called for his death four days later, but it’s not what the Gospel says. The “stone pavement” where the men shouting “Crucify him!” stood is not very large, and could not have held more one or two hundred people, and the Gospel suggests that they were men in the pay of the Temple authorities.

    I hope I don’t seem pedantic, but it’s actually an anti-popular slur to say that “the common people” are so fickle &c &c. The Gospel is smarter. The men calling for Jesus’ death were an astroturf operation, the ancient equivalent of your Twitter trolls.

    • Stevie Boy

      Isn’t religion just another facet of peoples mass hysteria ?
      The scriptures were compiled by the religious establishment circa 400 years after the supposed events. Historically, there is little real evidence of these specific events.
      The Bible is a great read and an important historical document BUT it is just a book like Homer’s Odyssey: it’s not a gift from your god, it’s an agreed narrative from the Council of Rome.

      • frankywiggles

        The subject is royalty Stevie – unelected, hereditary heads of state, tax-dodging billionaires in receipt of hundreds of millions of public money in a cost of living crisis. Dare I say it, mediocre Teutons who are no more gifts from God than the Bible is. For an iconoclast you appear suspicuously reluctant to venture any opinions on them. My view is the “Windsors” should be stood down now, along with the unelected House of Lords, and “their” vast landholdings nationalized in the public interest.

      • Bayard

        “The scriptures were compiled by the religious establishment circa 400 years after the supposed events.”

        Er, no, from Wikipedia: “The four canonical gospels were probably written between AD 66 and 110”.

    • craig Post author

      Sunday school teacher? perish the thought. It was the Rev. Canon Gileon. The Sunday school teacher was my sister, who incidentally has never been wrong about anything.

    • Republicofscotland


      You may find this of interest.

      Was today of all days, in Wales, which is Owain Glyndwr day, chosen by the royals, especially with King Charles III to visit Cardiff castle in mind.

      King Charles, as a young Prince Charles had his investiture ceremony at Carnarvon castle in Wales that officially saw him given the title of Prince of Wales. Could today’s visit be a prelude to King Charles III having his eldest son Prince William, made officially the Prince of Wales at a later investiture ceremony.

      There are crowds of people in Wales waving flags and cheering King Charles III cavalcade, as it winds its way through the narrow streets to Cardiff castle.

      I suppose many Welsh folk will be unaware of the symbolism of Owain Glyndwr day.

      “Owain Glyndwr Day is an unofficial holiday celebrated in Wales on September 16. It is dedicated to the national hero of Wales who was the last native Welshman to hold the title Prince of Wales. Many considered him an unofficial king of Wales.”

  • Stevie Boy

    “What is not in the doubt is the tendency of deluded mobs to turn on those who do not join in – and the capacity of the unscrupulous to exploit that power.”

    Yes, and where have we seen manifestations of that recently ? Brexit, Covid, Ukraine.
    John Cleese said: “When you reach my age, … , you realize that the world is a madhouse and that most people are operating in fantasy anyway”.
    The sheeple want freedom but they don’t even know what that is.

  • Kostis Anagnostopoulos

    Thank you for teaching me new words and reminding me that old age and wisdom is concomitant to courage and persistence.

  • Wally Jumblatt

    I don’t think you need to get your knickers in a twist about everything.
    Charles will get his coronation, anyone who objects can make their feelings known then and not confuse anyone else who thinks it might be a slur on the previous monarch.

    I happened to be watching the tv when the new King was signing whatever the document was – I thought he was handing over his wealth for the job ….. but maybe I was losing interest in what the BBC narrator was tediously droning on about.
    I thought his monarchy might be immediately doomed if that inkwell spilled over the parchment. He was nervous and you could see he was concerned about that too. All the years of planning these showboat events and nobody thought to bolt the inkwells down. (Who uses inkwells of course?). He was right to motion to some page to remove it asap, but even then, the lid came off one of the pots.
    A slick of black ink over the historical document, there would have been no coming back from.

    I also thought it important that he said he knew that the minute he became monarch, he had to put away his pet concerns, obsessions, ditherings about the state of the world and leave that to others. I’m sure he will try to.
    For all his shortcomings, I think he’ll give it a good shot – and I think he should given time to do so. But he won’t.

    For those who wish his majesty’s loyal opposition to not show decorum and play by the etiquette rules, you only have to have half an eye on the descent of the USA into civil war. The current iteration of the democratic party has decided the rules should be made up by those in power, and that includes weaponising the IRS, the FBI and the Justice system to hound their enemies, and creating new rules to ensure they can’t ever lose power.
    For those who want rid of the constitutional monarch, just watch the aftermath of the 2024 Presidential Election when Biden, Harris or H Clinton rig the result (or cancel the election). You’ll get an early taste of it in November this year with the mid-terms, but the real breakdown will be two years later.
    At tht point, two-thirds of America will wish they had a monarch to rally around and remove the corrupt Washington clique.

    • Roger

      When I read your first sentence, I thought I was going to agree with you. The monarchy has no real power and just isn’t important enough to make a big fuss over; getting rid of it would be good, but there are more important things to focus on right now.

      However, you went on to suggest that the monarchy might in some circumstances be of some use, citing the USA. IMHO, the current polarisation of the USA is mainly the result of a FPTP voting system for the legislature, plus single-round direct voting for the Presidency. The result is a two-party system in which almost nobody votes “for” any candidate for anything; they vote against the candidate they dislike more. In the US, but fortunately less in the UK, voters are also swayed by the barrage of advertising paid for by well-funded special interests. I don’t think the presence of absence of a symbolic monarchy has much relevance.

  • Joan Savage

    Brilliant article.
    My only ‘quibble’ about ‘poor’ Elizabeth is that she planned every aspect of her funeral, from the design of the hearse to the long drawn-out mourning process. The Scottish aspects were specifically planned in order to strengthen the union. No surprise that she died in Scotland and hoped to do so, moving here as she did in very poor health immediately after her Jubilee festivities in June, and residing at Balmoral for months longer than her normal sojourn. Also, no one was more aware than the Queen of the need to fast-track Charles’ acceptance as King around England and its de facto ‘colonies’ within these islands. The British State, with the Crown at its pinnacle, is nobody’s fool. It understands the gap between Elizabeth’s personal popularity and that of her successor.

    The self-styled ‘Firm’ is the most successful ‘private sector funded by the public sector’ entity in the British State. It brilliantly employs archaic ceremony as modern currency, manipulating emotions. Through its fabulously expensive P.R., it has re-habilitated the nigh impossible – Camilla Parker Bowles, lost-soul teenage racist Harry, and after the scandal of his first marriage Charles himself — until you read Tom Bower’s warts and all biography of the petulant, luxury-loving, helicopter- and private-plane-addicted, supposedly environmentalist prince. Churlish Anne was rehabilitated through P.R. and given Scotland as her pet poodle to try to improve the monarchy’s image here. Although this didn’t work to a great extent, with only 45% of Scots supporting the monarchy, the focus on Anne’s charity work (she is the most hard working royal and eschewed titles for her children) substantially improved her reputation. And my goodness, weren’t we cringingly grateful when, as President of the Scottish Rugby Union (aimed at making us think she is one of ‘us’) she sported a tartan sash after Scotland defeated England in 1990? Rehabilitating Andrew was a challenge too far, at least on a temporary basis, but watch this spot!

    • DiggerUK

      Rehabilitating Andrew was never a step too far, it was always a work in progress. He was often referred to by people ‘in royal circles’ and ‘in the know’ as Elizabeth’s ‘favourite child’. Having the level of control over her funeral proceedings that she is understood to have had, means his presence throughout was decided on a long time ago.

      He was even allowed to wear military uniform and regalia at the state, NOT family, show in Westminster Hall.

      I wonder what Oprah Winfrey, Hillary Clinton and other assorted defenders of womens rights will have to say on that. Maybe we should expect an outraged Meghan Markle to pen an article in the Guardian…_

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