There are not many occasions where the whole of the community can peacefully enjoy an event which is simply on a humanistic and national level. There is no reason for anyone to be excluded, it can appeal to rich and poor, it can appeal to all races, religions, and nationalities – it is the recognition on a very basic level of a positive binding of 2 people together.
It is very easy to be cynical about anything to do with the Royal Family, and they have single-handedly done a very good job over the last 30 years to erode the public confidence in the institution. As the monarchy is quintessentially “establishment” – it is the establishment’s establishment – anyone who has any remote feelings of disaffection with the national “firm” will not feel engaged in this event. One can frown upon anything which appears to be slightly mediaeval which the notion of a monarchy is – however I do feel that the point is being seriously missed here.
We live in a country which has been “compromised” by a poorly focussed policy of multi-culturalism which has tried to be so liberal with the nation’s sensibilities that it has forgotten that it is perfectly natural to have a national identity ( a team identity – in spirit). We often are led to be believe in Britain that being nationalistic is tantamount to being racist, or right-wing – which no other country seems to struggle with. We support regimes, and have promoted in other countries, the right of people to self-determine their national identity. We were one of the first countries to recognise Kosovo – which hasd been an Albanian sub-culture of Serbia/Yugoslavia/Ottoman Empire for centuries – that is perfectly natural – however within our own kingdom, we are made to feel that this is slightly unhealthy or out-dated.
We miss the point about the monarchy. It is the last vestige of our true national identity, it’s what brings us together as one, it is a simple embodiment of that figure – it is not about the individuals. In much the same way that when we support a football team it is very rarely about the players, it’s about the shirt, the colours, the heritage, the badge, and all of the symbolism – the player’s carry that responsibility for a period of time. For the monarchy the players don’t get transferred – they are lifelong in the shirt and colours.
Anyone who has a heart will enjoy a wedding, and it is a great leveller, and gives people the opportunity and freedom to be sociable and pleasant to others, even though on other occasions they may be far apart. Whilst this serotonin and dopamine rush may be short-lived, it is difficult to deprive a significant proportion of the population of this “trip”.
The cynics and naysayers will point out the expense of the occasion, and how much of it could be spent on hospitals and schools, however with 50% of the population watching it on TV and presumably voting YES for the occasion then this is a powerful referendum, and voice of democracy. Perhaps the political beatniks and intellectuals should bear this in mind – this is more of a mandate than any other communist, anarcho-syndicalist, “tree-hugging”…or liberal proportionally-represented system that anyone cares to dream up can ever summon up.
With this force of public opinion comes even more responsibility on behalf of the establishment. The police seem to have taken this position as a vote for ever more repressive enforcement. Although no one wants to see unnecessary and trivial stunts in the name of free-speech and “right to protest” – frankly this is tedious, and puerile, – people do have the right to go about their business and hold different opinions.
In the run up to the Wedding there was a lot of chatter about various groups from Muslim Against Crusdades, EDL, various anarchist groups, UKUncut, Chris Knight and his street theatre, Charlie Veitch and his Love Police..and no doubt more. For those of us who commit personal time to record many of these events they tend to be non-events and are nothing more than noise on the streets. The Police felt that they had a mandate to pre-empt the potential for a problem and arrested Veitch for “conspiracy to cause a public nuisance” – or in reality “conspiracy to have an opinion and be politically satirical with a megaphone in a public place”. Chris Knight and colleagues were arrested as they were planning to “execute Prince Andrew” using a mock, working, guillotine – the very same one ( I assume) that was at Parliament Square last Mayday.
This was topped by the actions of the visible “undercover police” who forcibly snatched a man for singing in Soho Square – again, presumably on the basis of the potential to run amok in the centre of London.
Video imported from Youtube
Whilst it is reasonable for the Police to ensure that the public’s safety is maintained, they need to ensure that they do this with public support and with some level of respect for those that they are policing. Protest is a great British tradition, like the monarchy, and as that institution modernises and re-invents itself, so must the police force, and not take us into an Orwellian state where the “thought” of doing something is the crime itself.