Tuesday, September 20, 2022

God Save The King?

God Save the King? It's More Like God Help the British People!
by Coast Watcher

Tradition is a strong force in Britain. The "British way of doing things"is often at odds with the rest of the world and is probably the major factor in the Brexit vote that saw the UK leave the European Union.

The death of HM Queen Elizabeth II saw a surge in royalist sentiment, and a matching anti-monarchist/republican feeling that has led to protests and demonstrations across the country. King Charles and his wife Camilla were booed on their arrival in Cardiff, Wales. One man in the crowd demanded to know why the taxpayers had to fork out much needed cash to pay for Charles' parade. Protesters have been arrested for holding signs reading "Not MY King" and even for holding up a blank placard as a royal motorcade passed. Given that the Conservative government recently passed a law banning protests "if they cause annoyance" with a penalty of up to eleven years in jail, this is no light matter.

Reaction across the whole country has been mixed. At some soccer matches the crowd lustily sang the national anthem. At other venues the mere mention of royalty drew equally lusty booing. Sentiment abroad has also varied. Last year Barbados got rid of the monarchy as the island’s official head of state. Now fourteen other nations including Jamaica, Barbuda, and Grenada are also talking of following suit. Chief among the reasons given is that the British royal family has not taken the commitment to formally own up to and acknowledge their family’s history of slavery.

Recent inept handling of the economy by the Tory government has even led to renewed calls for Scotland to leave the United Kingdom. The passing of the Queen has only added fuel to this fire.

Prince Andrew, brother of Charles, is now Counsellor of State. He is in effect the monarch’s deputy whenever he/she is out of the country. Everyone knows how Andrew bought off the woman who accused him of raping her as a young teen—a woman he claims he never met
for £12 million. The fact that his mother the queen and his older brother bailed him out to the tune of several million pounds more is also well known. Had Andrew been anyone else, the UK would’ve deported him to the US to stand trial for statutory rape.

As of September 18, a five miles plus long queue has formed to see the queen’s lying in state. People are camping out overnight to retain their places. It's said to be the longest queue in British history, eclipsing even those that formed for Princess Diana, but this claim isn’t true. The longest queue is, in fact, composed of 6.8 million people waiting for NHS treatment following the Tory government’s determined efforts to privatize Britain’s cherished healthcare service.

Speaking of the National Health Service, hospitals throughout the UK will suspend cancer treatments for patients on Monday, September 19, the day of the funeral. All burials will also be suspended, which will come as a blow to people of the Jewish and Muslim religions whose faiths decree burials must take place within 24 hours of death.

What’s not so well known is that homeless people
who have to spend every night on the streetsare being moved by police so they won’t interfere with the optics of this outpouring of national grief.

Prince Harry and his wife Meghan walked in the funeral procession. For some reason, elements of the British media are virulently against Meghan. She and Harry were roundly criticized for holding hands as they walked. Snobbish critics say it "isn’t protocol." Seriously? The man lost his grandmother. Why should he not hold hands with the woman he loves both to give and take comfort? Add to that the establishment at first denied Harry, a man who served two tours in Afghanistan, the right to wear military uniform during the funeral and commemorative events. 

You can see how rotten the protocol system surrounding the British monarchy is. The ban was subsequently lifted following public protest. Yes, protest does work.

British law requires members of the public pay 40% tax on any property inherited over the value of £340,000 under the 1993 memorandum of understanding. However, King Charles III is exempt from inheritance taxes. The British monarchy's total wealth is estimated at around $34 billion in assets, but Charles won't have to pay the UK's 40% inheritance tax-or indeed any tax unless he volunteers to do so. He inherits his mother’s personal £641 million estate without having to pay the government a single penny. Charles was also gifted the Duchy of Lancaster, a royal prerogative worth over £750 million. 

See where this is going?

When Charles became King of England, he no longer needed the staff who served him during his tenure as Prince of Wales. They were all given redundancy notices while a service of commemoration was being held for his mother.
[Editor's note and American translation: Charles' personal staff members, who had been with him for decades, were all fired while he was at a his mother's memorial service. This wasn't just a handful of people losing their jobs through no fault of their own, either. He employed a lot of full-time staff.] 

Those with long enough memories will recall how unpopular Charles became with the public because of his negative treatment of Princess Diana, both during and after their marriage. One Ipsos poll taken in April 2022 showed that nearly half of Britons thought Charles should step aside and cede the throne to his oldest son, Prince William. Among millennial-age Britons, Charles ranks twelfth in popularity.

Couple all of the above with a Conservative government that is deeply unpopular over the Brexit disaster and its gross mishandling of the economy in general, and you have an explosive mix. Add to that a Parliamentary Labour Party that is nothing more than "Tory Lite" in its policies, and there really isn’t any prospect of change any time soon without a radical uprising.

The royal family may be at the center of all the ceremony and tradition, but they’re not the only ones, or even the driving force behind the throne. That honorific goes to the people behind the scenes—the chamberlains, equerries, private secretaries, general hangers-on, and those who aspire to gain from being in the royal presence. I can speak from personal experience as to what it’s like to be on the receiving end of a royal visit.

In 1976, then Prince Charles established a charitable foundation called The Prince’s Trust. Aimed at helping disadvantaged young people aged 11-30 all across Britain, it does a lot of good. The trouble is, it provides a nice venue for all those wannabes who crave the glamor of the royal presence.

In the 1980s, I worked in the tourism/hospitality industry. One of the places where I worked hosted the Prince’s Trust for several years. One year Prince Charles came to visit. The site owners had accommodation set aside for his use, which included a brand new toilet installed expressly for him. (The Royal Wee? Quite.)

We working peons were ordered back and forth between venues on the site until finally we were told by functionaries to wait up on a mezzanine level of the first building we’d come from and to stay out of sight while the High and Mighty formed a reception line about fifty feet away. Charles came in, walked along the line shaking hands then departed without even so much as a nod at us workers who had done the brunt of the work to make the venue shine. We were then told to remain on the site until he left. I and several others voted with our feet and walked out. We gave up an afternoon’s pay, but we had better things to do with our time.

Oh, and the toilet accommodation set aside for Charles’ use? He never used it, and it was ripped out completely the next day!

The overall impression I got was of a crowd of teenagers vying to catch the eye of the cool kid, and they were not afraid to shove and push away anyone who might have stolen a bit of the reflected glory. It was all rather sickening.

Will Britain become a republic? I doubt it. As a Briton who grew up with the whole tradition of monarchy and the "British way of doing things" I know my people. We’ll keep buggering on even as the world burns. An admirable trait in many ways, yes, but I feel we can change and modernize for the better without throwing away everything in our culture that’s of value. 

And the one thing that’s in dire need of an overhaul? The monarchy. We’ll see what happens in the meantime to help relieve the British people of these injustices, shall we?

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BIO: Coast Watcher is our resident British commentator and world historian at TRC. As a survivor of a royal visit, he seemed the best to give his opinion of what life is like living in a country where you have a hereditary monarch as your head of state. As you can tell, it's complicated. But does it have to be? The future will tell.


Related Articles:

Not Everyone Mourns the Queen. For Many She Can't Be Separated From Colonial Rule https://www.rsn.org/001/not-everyone-mourns-the-queen-for-many-she-cant-be-separated-from-colonial-rule.html

Former British Colonies In Caribbean Consider Cutting Ties to the Monarchy https://truthout.org/video/former-british-colonies-in-caribbean-consider-cutting-ties-to-the-monarchy/

Antigua and Barbuda Announces Referendum to Become a Republic

Chris Hedges: Monarchs Belong in the Dustbin of History

Lizzy's Face https://caitlinjohnstone.substack.com/p/lizzys-face 

It's a Big Club and You Ain't In It https://caitlinjohnstone.substack.com/p/its-a-big-club-and-you-aint-in-it/comments

The Queen's Death Brings Growing Hope for Irish Unification https://truthout.org/video/the-queens-death-brings-growing-hope-for-irish-unification/

Steven Donziger: How the Royal Family Helps Normalize Oligarchy

How Rich Is King Charles? He Built His Own Property Empire Long Before He Inherited His Mother's https://www.irishtimes.com/life-style/people/2022/09/13/how-rich-is-king-charles-he-built-his-own-property-empire-long-before-he-inherited-his-mothers/

Queen's Death: Colonial Legacy and Media Hysteria
https://youtu.be/mcotClf4omY (video)

Queen's Funeral Shuts Food Banks Amid Cost-of-Living Crisis

Luring Doctors from Poorer Countries Is the UK's Quiet Scandal

Decolonizing the Mind https://popularresistance.org/decolonizing-the-mind/

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