The UK has essentially been closed down for the last 4 days to celebrate the Queen’s diamond jubilee, which marks 60 years in the post. I suppose, regardless of your views on the monarchy, most people would recognise that this is something that should be marked, and perhaps even celebrated, but the last 4 days have been, in my opinion, entirely over the top. Last year I escaped the royal wedding by going to France for the day, but there was no escape this year, with it all happening in the middle of marking and exam boards! So, like everyone else, I had to endure the BBC’s 24-7 coverage, which meant that any other events in the world were downgraded to the briefest of mentions. Even Radio 5 Live, which is my normal source of news, was engulfed in the hysteria. Hoping to get some news at 6:00 am on Monday, I turned on the radio only to hear ‘The day I met the Queen’, repeated for the nth time! In the end, Al-Jazeera and Russia Today came to the rescue, with some more balanced news coverage.
As a republican, I despair on these occasions, especially when confronted with TV footage of crowds of poor deluded fools waving flags! Why do so many people in this country want to perpetuate a system which gives power and privilege to a family based entirely on an accident of birth? It might seem reasonable, even rational, to hope that by the start of the 21st century such a system wouldn’t still be in operation, and that we would have an elected head of state. But at present this looks unlikely within my lifetime. And it’s profoundly depressing.
At least it is over now, and we can look forward to some ‘normality’ for a while!