Thursday, 31 May 2012

Is all this Jubilee nonsense really necessary?

I'm not that fun at parties.

I spend too much time in my own head over analysing everything and looking at historical context and in a new exciting/boring train of thought - political impact.

So today whilst sat at my daughter's nursery Jubilee celebration surrounded by Union Jacks and red, white and blue I got to thinking about the Jubilee and whether it was necessary.

I should also briefly add that the greatest influence on my life, my Grandfather, was a staunch Cromwellian who thought that Monarchy was a thing of the yesteryear that should be abolished as soon as humanly possible. For my part I believed in Hobbesian law - the state and Monarch was to be obeyed without question until I went to University and things changed. Unfortunately the last Monarch I really respected was King George III. I'm also not that patriotic. Don't get me wrong I love all that Pax Britainnica which summons up notions of Empire, Cawnpore, Lucknow, Isandalawana, Spion Kop and patriotic jingoism that got everybody killed in Flanders. I'm also very interested in great Germanic institutions such as the Royal Houses of Hanover and Saxe Coburg Goethe (as the Windsor's were before they had a falling out with Cousin Wilhelm). This however does not really colour my notions of the Jubilee.

My number one concern is; How much is all this pageantry costing? After all we are in the midst of austerity and the Government is spending how much on national events like the boat parade up the Thames and local councils who are cutting down services that you and I use but still finding the money for these events. Most people are getting an extra day off (I'm working though) which is costing businesses. People up and down the country are holding street parties and weather permitting barbeque's which will hit their pockets at a time when they should be saving money. What are they celebrating? That someone who lives in relative luxury has been in post for 60 years and has everything paid for by the tax payer? How many services etc have been cut by Government and now they're blowing £x Million on a huge party? Is this the sort of thing that should make the average person cross?

Well No.

Ignoring me (and believe me a lot of people do!) and other dour Republicans this is just the thing that the British people need right now.

A party is just what the Doctor ordered to lift the spirits and to forget all the crap that flies at us on a daily basis. Is it wrong to take a day - or two - and celebrate something? There are so many dark clouds out there at the moment that a day of silver linings helps buck up morale. It worked in Russia in 1913 when the people came out and celebrated 300 years of Romanov rule despite the dire situation their economy was in and the poverty that the average person lived in. Even in the darkest days of the Blitz and the fear of German invasion there was time to celebrate victories and little things.

Also following the loss of the Empire and losing the very of essence of what it was to be British in a world that has moved on so quickly left us in the past it is good to celebrate our institutions and history. Lets be honest despite the high points the last sixty years have been tough for the country and the people but we're still here and moving towards the future, redefining Britishness and finding that place within the new world that left us behind.

As much as I dislike the idea of Monarchy and question its relevance in these modern times it is worth celebrating as well to thank Elizabeth for what she has done and spending sixty years in the public eye which has become increasingly more invasive and representing the country and state at so many events. Sixty years in any job is a long time and a vote of thanks for what the Queen does do is due.

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