Tony Greenstein | 03 June 2012 | Post Views:

Stuff the Jubilee and the Royal Parasites

Anti-monarchy protesters gather on the banks of the river Thames at city hall, London. Photograph: Peter Macdiarmid/PA

A variety of tyrants and pretenders.  Queen Elizabeth II with her royal

pose for a picture before her Sovereign Monarchs Jubilee 
in the Grand reception room at Windsor Castle Photo: AP

When the supporters of Israel’s fascist foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman broke into the national anthem (Britain’s not Israel’s!) some of them asked me why I hadn’t joined in.  My response that I was a Republican didn’t seem to have much effect.

The absurdity of the Monarchy and its Diamon Jubilee hardly needs pointing out.  Do doubt the Queen does do a good job.  The question though is what that job is.  The Monarchy isn’t about opening hospitals or acting as a royal patron for charities.  It is about being the symbolic representative of the British state.  That is also why Her Maj also runs the State’s prisons (at least until they began to be privatised!).

It symbolises the reactionary and irrational and mystical nature of the British state.  A state based on persuading people that they should put their trust in the British Establishment that has such contempt for working class people.  The very nature of the Monarchy, with its emphasis on fealty, obedience, a ‘natural’ order where some are born to rule, is something any half-decent socialist and indeed democrat should oppose.  As Shelley wrote, the Monarchy is ‘the string that ties the robbers’ bundle.’

It is the State in person, the human representative of all that is most ghastly about the capitalist system.  At the same time as working class people are expected to see their pensions slashed, jobs cut, living standards lowered, benefits abolished, the NHS privatised – all in the name of tightening our belts, the Jubilee will cost about a hundred million pounds or so.

The reactionary nature of the monarchy should have been clear to anyone left in doubt when it invited to the Jubilee celebrations none other than the bloodstained King of Bahrain Hamad Al-Khalifa.   But why not since the Monarchy has always rested on coercion when required.  The corrupt and banal Prince Andrew, in his efforts to secure a little cash on the side for himself, was recorded denouncing ‘absurd’ obstacles to the arms trade, such as human rights considerations. 

Through the years the Duke of Edinburgh has given vent to his racist and reactionary outpourings.  The Royals are against (working class) ‘scroungers’ whilst having done their best to avoid tax (until it became too much of a political embarrassment).  Their palacess are subsidised by the taxpayer, they receive a Civil List, have a Royal fleet of planes, a train and until recently the yacht Brittania.  This is in fact an imperial monarchy not a Dutch bicycling one. 

Yet underneath the surface, despite the attempts of every supermarket, the BBC (whose notion of ‘balance’ is to exclude Republicanism from its coverage almost entirely) schools and all respectable society there has been a distinct lack of enthusiasm for the diamond jubilee.  The amount of bunting in supermarkets is far in excess of anything on the streets.

But at a time of crisis that is when the Royals, despite their record over Dianna, are most useful.  Because however rich or poor we are we can always identify with the monarchy.  What was most disturbing to constitutional historians like Vernon Bogdanor and the late Norman St John Stevas was that Walter Baghetot’s mystery concerning the monarchy had disappeared in the public airing of marital differences.  Her death representated the nadir of British monarchy, the annus horriblis as the Elizabeth famously noted.  The mass outpouring of grief over Diana’s death whilst not republican in itself noted a level of dissatisfaction with the Royal family that transcends the individual members of these leftovers from the State of Hanover.

Tony Greenstein

Despite mass media coverage of Queenie’s diamond jubilee, few have made the link between the monarchy and the inequality and the lack of social mobility which exists in the UK.

Crosspost from Organised Outrage
31 May 2012 02:59 AM PDT

Despite the acres of media coverage about the English sovereigns diamond jubilee, only a tiny number of broadcasters and mainstream columnists have made the direct link between the monarchy and the gross inequality and the lack of social mobility which exists within the UK. Yet it, and an under regulated capitalist system lays at the heart of this problem.

The capitalist system has always created inequality and a lack of social mobility as at it’s core is exploitation of the weak and powerless. But over the last three decades, as neo-liberal governments of both left and right, deregulated the markets and privatized state assets, inequality and the lack of social mobility in the UK have returned to19th century levels which would not be tolerated elsewhere in north west Europe or Scandinavia.

There is no surprise in this as it is what these neo liberal governing elites intended, make no mistake, no matter how much David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Michael Gove may decry the current lack of social mobility, it is an inevitable consequence of the governmental policies they so diligently implement.

If they genuinely find this lack of social mobility appalling, far from making a bad situation worse by implementing austerity measure which were bound to have a detrimental impact on the most disadvantaged section of society. Whilst issuing whinging PR powder puffs about the lack of social mobility in the hope it will cover up their own responsibility. They would be fighting to remove the class bias and prejudice which is inherent within the core of the British State. Not bolstering it by making 2012 a year of diamond jubilee celebrations for the woman who sits at the pinnacle of the class prejudice which makes millions of her ‘subjects’ live less than fulfilled lives.

There is nothing more unsightly than a beneficiary of class prejudice pretending to oppose it whilst taking full advantage of it. Cameron, Clegg and their reactionary administration fall into this category. (As too incidentally does the editor of the Guardian whose newspaper weekly bemoans the lack of social mobility whilst being a bastion of class prejudice, but I will return to Mr Rushbridger at later date.)

Whilst only a major redistribution of wealth will get to the core of this generational lack of social mobility and the crass inequality which accompanies it. There are things which can be done to move this onto the national agenda and affirmative action is one of them. By introducing it a government would be admitting for the first time such inequality exists because powerful and privileged elites wish it to.

Just how biased against working class people the UK has become can be seen in the following statistics. By working class I also include the group of people whose families hit the ground hard when Thatcher de-industrialised large parts of the UK economy, and whom the mainstream media insultingly term the ‘underclass.’

At a time when only 7% of the population are educated privately:

Over 50% of the current UK coalition government went to public schools. Twenty-three members, out of a cabinet of 29, are millionaires.

Of the 774 judges sitting in English and Welsh courts, 60% attended Oxford or Cambridge universities and 67% went to public schools, an astounding figure by any fair persons standard as it highlights those who administer the law in England and Wales overwhelmingly come from one small social class. Something which cannot but affect how they administer the law.

54% of the ‘top’ 100 newspaper editors, columnists, broadcasters and executives were educated privately.

54% of senior executives in FTSE-100 companies were privately educated.

The percentages for British diplomats and senior military officers who went to public school are even higher, and will remain so without a major change of policy. As the children of these two professions are feather bedded by the State, which pays their fees so they can attend English elite public schools.(fee paying)

While its media, political and academic elites claim the UK is the world’s oldest and finest democracy, and over the last two decades its armed forces have attempted to export ‘democracy’ around the world, admittedly on the end of a bayonet.

In reality they are in no position to preach about democratic accountability to anyone, as at home the British State’s democratic principles are wafer thin. If you look at the flummery associated with the monarchy and parliament, its roots in our public life have absolutely nothing to do with democratic accountability and would be familiar to the worlds tyrants and the elites they surround themselves with.

It is highly pertinent the Queens speech, which yearly heralds the State opening of Parliament, an event that marks the beginning of a new session of the UK parliament, is not held in the democratically elected House of Commons but within the unelected House of Lords

Mull this through and ask yourself what message this sends out to the ruling elites, many of whom, for services rendered, eventually end up within the unelected chamber. Thus it is no surprise the servants of the British State, the MP’s, privy councillors, judges, magistrates, police officers (in England and Wales), members of the armed services, (except the Royal Navy) all swear an oath of allegiance to the monarchy. Even newcomers to the land who wish to become citizens take an oath of allegiance to the monarch and her heirs not the country they are about to become citizens of.

Nobody in British public life takes an oath to democracy, or the state, let alone the people. Instead hand on heart with a religious book in their hand they swear:
“By almighty God that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, her heirs and successors.”

Monarchy, we are often told, is merely a symbol, nothing more! Tell that to the fairies, it sits at the pinnacle of class prejudice and privilege. When MP’s, diplomats, the military, police and judges pledge allegiance to the Queen; they are really pledging allegiance to Britain’s ruling elites and it is their duty to enforce the class prejudices that are beneficial to their own way of life.

As Peter Wilby recently wrote:

“We should think more about what monarchy actually symbolizes: hierarchy, hereditary privilege, deference, feudalism, unearned wealth, and militarism (the armed services being just about the only profession in which the royals seek serious employment).”

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Tony Greenstein

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