Friday, 29 April 2011

Royal Wedding - Are We Bovvered?

Well, today's been the day. William has married Kate and they are now the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and over on politicalbetting the tired old zombies of the Right are claiming the patriotic moral high ground from the Left.

Ho hum..

It would be easy to assume from the cheering crowds that the Monarchy have recovered their pre-eminent status in the public affections but as I walked down East Ham High Street with the shoppers this morning, I had the very real sense of a disconnection between the events in Westminster Abbey and the events in my High Street.

The intellectually lazy (which is usually but not exclusively the preserve of the Right) argument has been that if you don't love, worship or genuflect in the presence of the Royal Family, you're some rabid republican but it's more complex than that. I suspect the majority of the British people chose to ignore today's events - yes, they enjoyed the Bank Holiday (we all work far too hard as it is) but that didn't translate into a desire for celebration or the dreaded "street party".

Indeed, the false bonhomie of the ads and media has been even more nauseating than usual of late - for big business, the wedding is indeed a cause for celebration as they seek to wring more money out of consumers while the wedding is used by Government as an instrument of social control and conformity.

I ignored the wedding, not because I'm a republican or because I don't wish William and Kate well but because I have better things to do with my precious free time than participate in some Government-directed show of national celebration. We still live in a free country and if I choose to ignore the royal nuptials, so be it. I'm not a fan of the Monarchy and would shed no tears if they disappeared tomorrow but I recognise the role they play in the nation and around the world.

I would have liked William to have chosen a career other than the military - I suspect he doesn't have the mental faculties to cut it in a proper job so he gets put in the army with people like himself which is again regrettable but inevitable. I also suspect Kate set her sights on William from an early stage and has put up with more from him than she would have from another boyfriend - I'm reminded of the classic question "what first attracted you to the multi-billionaire Hugh Hefner?". I may be wrong but she strikes me as being little different from the girls and women who pursue footballers around the clubs of Mayfair.

The problems of the rest of the world go on - Syria, Libya and of course the tornadoes in the US as well as our own domestic challenges - and we do them a disservice by concentrating so much on this relatively trivial event. I am convinced Govenrments use events like this as a deliberate ploy to draw attention away from the real and much less pleasant and much more intractable problems confronting us.

Nonetheless. I can but hope ny cynicism is misplaced. We are not the people we were in 1981 and we have seen the fairytale turn sour and end in tragedy. I don't get the same sense of unreality about today but I do think the supporters of Monarchy need to appreciate their support is a mile wide and an inch deep and while that doesn't mean the cause of republicanism has serious traction, it does mean the deference to the Royal Family is largely gone (that may be no bad thing).

Most people don't care - their own lives will always come best however much they my occasionally look at the castle on the hill and wonder about the people living there.

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