Now that it’s the day after the big hubbub I figure I should probably say something regarding the subject. Frankly I consider the entire facade of the royal wedding sick and twisted on so many levels. There are so many strands of hypocrisy that surround the event and the mentality I’m not really sure where to start.
This conceptualisation as a celebration of Britishness is so absolutely bizarre to me. What is it to be British, what do the monarchy represent?
Do they represent British Imperialism, where at the peak we held a quarter of the worlds population under our dominion, were 5 times the size of the Roman Empire by population and 6 times the size by land mass? In which our actions encouraged, enabled and enacted genocide, continuation of a caste based society, pillaging of a regions resources, instigation of a slave trade and a denial of human rights?
Is Britishness identified as our apparent failed multiculturalism and a determination that white, anglo-saxon and protestant is the best thing to be? An inability to work together with people of other cultures and communities?
Is it fish and chips, or a curry with a pint (multi-culturalism is dead, but we’ll still appropriate their food for our enjoyment)? Other than the fact we call them the British Monarchy what part of this entire situation am I meant to feel attached to them, other than as someone who happens to, purely by coincidence, have the privilege of being born in one of the most historically oppressive countries in the world?
Or maybe the Britishness that I’m meant to feel an overwhelming joy for is the fact we live in one of the freest democracies with one of the most powerful economies! Where protests become the subject of police oppression. Where an unelected Government without a mandate is destroying everything they possibly can which would support the poor, the sick, the elderly. Where it’s considered a genuine and implausible battle for people to fight for a fairer voting system (with STV being completely thrown out the window). Where our democratic right to choose our own head of state is replaced by a religiously justified and hereditarily chosen individual with no accountability but a great deal of power (that’d be the monarchy, by the way.)
Where people are being arrested (or threatened with arrest) for crimes that haven’t even been committed to prevent dissent [clicky] [clicky] [clicky] [clicky] [clicky]. Where people living on the route of the wedding weren’t allowed republican posters in their windows. Where Westminster city council bans street sleeping, along with such action on a broader scale come the Olympics, to hide from the rest of the world our levels of homelessness. Is Britishness encapsulated in our stiff upper lip and ability to weather hard, economic downturns by splashing money on the royal wedding, while people are being laid off from their jobs and having disability benefits cut?
This kind of encapsulates the entire drama surrounding the Royal wedding. The country is entering it’s toughest test of the last 20 years, which may yet prove to be worse than life under Thatcher, yet the approach surrounding the wedding is to sweep everything under the rug and pretend to the outside world that everything is hunky dory. We don’t have homelessness problems, we don’t have republicans, we don’t have an economic crises. [clicky] We have bunting, and lots of it. We have wedding dresses and military uniforms, crowds of people cheering because they love having a monarchy (though I still can’t figure out what it is about the monarchy that they like). It reminds me of the fascist propaganda spread by Mussolini that he’d made the trains run on time.
So while our flailing economy is completely shut down for a day in a fashion much more efficient than any black bloc action will ever be. While money is spent on cake, champagne and all sorts of other accoutrement instead of schools, the NHS, disability benefits, libraries etc. While leaders from (and other representatives of) oppressive, autocratic regimes, responsible for torture and shooting protesters who demand democratic rights [clicky] [clicky] [clicky] are sent invites asking them to attend …
Lets all be happy that a someone we’ll never meet and never be effected by is tying the knot with someone else who we’ll never meet and never be effected by. That these two people, living off the backs of riches garnered through imperialism, oppression and war, will never again have to want for anything in their lives irrespective of what direction the rest of the country is going in. Let us celebrate that Britishness has achieved this climax of socioeconomic enlightenment, or rather abject ignorance on the matter.
And yes, it’s true, that Prince William didn’t ask to be born into the royal family and didn’t ask to have all this press focus and attention heaped upon him, and it’s not his fault and he probably doesn’t enjoy it. But he could do the same as his great, great, great uncle Edward VIII and abdicated in favour of a simpler life. He chooses to maintain the benefits of his hereditary position and therefore chooses to be subject to the criticisms of it.
So lets not say we shouldn’t care about the royal wedding having happened because it’s a very important occasion. But lets not con ourselves into it having been good for the country, or an expression of this constructed notion of Britishness.