The Socialist 15 March 2012 |
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The Socialist - reader's comment
'Westenders' - omnibus edition
Rob Bishop, Gloucestershire Socialist Party and Cheltenham Against the Cuts
We are being badgered to celebrate 60 years of Queen Elizabeth on the throne by a never-ending propaganda offensive. Tacky royal souvenirs (probably made in China) will be bought; street parties will be held and royal media coverage will torment us to distraction.
But do we really need the fairy tale fantasy of the real Royal Family, Britain's poshest and longest running soap? This celebrity reality show is not a tax-cheap production either, coming in at £180 million a year.
Some would argue, with tongue in cheek, that it offers value as over the decades it has produced enough political, financial and sexual scandals to keep the tabloids full to bursting.
Those with a more serious mind argue that the royal family represents the biggest welfare claimants in the country to which the government's proposed benefits cap will, of course, not apply.
Britain's first jubilee celebration was for Queen Victoria. Until then the diamond anniversary denoted 75 years - it was conveniently brought forward 15 years to rescue Victoria's plummeting popularity with a one day celebration. The Archbishop of Canterbury of that era, EW Benson, summed up Victoria's diamond celebration pageant's political role by saying: "Days afterwards, everyone feels the socialist movement has had a check."
Similarly, Elizabeth's diamond glorification will offer a timely diversion from the misery of mass unemployment, service cuts, housing crisis, poverty wages, etc. At the same time it will boost the flagging fortunes of her dysfunctional but grotesquely rich Windsor family.
With Will and Harry, already at their young ages, worth £30 million each and Charles a billion plus she can expect some nice presents. I doubt it will include the British Street Party Ultimate Kit (reduced to £43) with its balloons, bunting, flags and streamers etc for street parties.
Neither will she be given such tasteful gifts as the Union Jack cake stand (only £3.99) or a royal carriage shaped cardboard vase (£6.99). All these handsome products are sold by a company owned by Kate Middleton's parents. But hurry while stocks last!
On the positive side, many will get another bank holiday. If you get paid for it, which some bosses resist and workers may have to fight for, this is welcome. But unlike the two million who went on strike to defend their pensions last November, this day off will not be cited as the cause of wrecking our children's education or economic ruin. Or will it?
The desperate Con-Dem government may repeat its defence that yet another public holiday is one of the causes for poor economic performance, as they incredibly did over last year's royal wedding. The week of Diamond Jubilee celebrations should be more than enough to explain our economic demise for the foreseeable future and why more public spending cuts must be made.
The fuss surrounding the Diamond Jubilee is a desperate attempt to boost the flagging popularity of the longest running soap opera in history and divert attention away from the economic crisis that is capitalism. As with Eastenders, I switched off years ago and will not be watching.