The beginning of May would be a very good time to escape the country, if you can afford to seeing as how the energy price cap comes to an end in April and millions of households will be struggling to afford their gas and electricity bills, a Westminster created utter disgrace in a country such as Scotland which produces several times more in energy than it requires for domestic consumption.
King Charles #NotMySpaniel has displayed the Windsors’ unerring inability to read the room by refusing to settle for a pared back coronation. Not at all, this immensely vain and self regarding man wants the whole show with all the bells, whistles, equerries, brocaded trumpeters, massed ranks of ermine clad lords, RAF fly-pasts, and mounted cavalry in highly polished breast plates that public money can buy, all so he can sit on a gilded throne while an arch-bishop plonks a jewel encrusted hat on the head of a plonker, a head filled with nothing but an over-weening self-importance.
The Coronation will stretch over three days in early May with the actual jewelled hat plonking taking place on 6 May. The costs of this exercise in gilded self-indulgence will run into the many tens of millions, some estimates put the cost at as much as £100 million, and this at a time when we are told that there is not enough money to pay nurses a living wage that means they do not have to rely on food banks in order to ensure that their kids have enough to eat and public service workers across many sectors are being driven to take industrial action.
Although the Coronation celebrations are scheduled to take place over three days, they will be preceded by weeks of interminable hype on the BBC as BBC and Sky presenters desperately seek to shoe horn coronation references into every news report, story, and light entertainment show with obligatory vox pop pieces asking random passers by how excited they are about the coronation on a scale from Wheeeeee! to wetting themselves. And of course there will be the traditional tonguing of the royal arse from the BBC’s resident monarchical oleaginst, Nicholas Witchell. After all, no royal event in the UK would be complete without switching off the telly in disgust because that insufferable man is sliming over the TV screen again.
The big coronation blow out comes less than a year after millions of pounds of public money were spent on the Queen’s four-day Platinum Jubilee, and will be just 42 days before yet another pointless show of royal pomp and circumstance for the monarch’s annual birthday parade, Trooping the Colour – Charles’s first – in June. The UK Government acknowledges that it set aside £28 million of public money to cover the cost of the Platinum Jubilee, the real cost was certainly far higher. The forecast costs of the coronation do not include the money that will have to be spent to keep Prince Andrew out of public view for the duration of the proceedings. Neither does it include the economic impact of closing down the entire country for three days in order to sing the praises of a man who doesn’t give a thought for the impact of his privilege on everyone else.
Just last week trains to Ayr from my local station were cancelled all morning because Charlie’s diesel guzzling private train was occupying a platform at Ayr station for several hours because he, Camilla, and their retinue of valets, toothpaste squeezers, underlings, lackeys, and fnaugh-fnaughing aristocratic hangers on were on a jolly to Dumfries House, a property funded by public money and various heritage charities (£5 million of which was contributed by the Scottish Government) which Charles treats as a private residence for himself and his huntin’ shootin’ and fishin’ friends. It’s safe to assume that the disruption and inconvenience he caused to local people did not register with him.
There were initial reports that Buckingham Palace was going to opt for a pared back coronation in order to appear sensitive to the difficulties struggling households face. But then after consultations with the Spaniel and his lackeys it was decided who cares about being sensitive to the poors. No, said the Spaniel, let’s go for the full fat flummery. That’s the message we want to send here. Apparently the coronation is seen as an invaluable opportunity to sell Britain to the world, because it seems that the world is desperately wanting to buy Ruritarian pageantry, clueless entitlement, and tone deaf symbols of privilege. This is what passes for advertising the UK these days. It raises the obvious question, if this is what they are advertising, just who do they think they are selling to?
The expensive ceremony is not a constitutional requirement. Charles is already king, He automatically became king the moment that his mother passed away on 8 September last year. The constitutional niceties were taken care of when he was officially proclaimed king on 10 September when the Accession Council , consisting of members of the Privy Council, gathered at St James’s Palace in London in order to make a formal proclamation of Charles as the new monarch. The Clerk to the council read out the Accession Proclamation and Charles swore an oath to uphold the independence of the Church of Scotland, and that was the Constitutional requirements taken care of. The Coronation is not necessary. The Nazi sympathising Edward VIII was king from 20 January 1936 until his abdication on 11 December 1936 even though he never had a coronation. This year’s coronation is merely a sop to the vast ego of an immensely privileged and entitled man. It’s Let Them Eat Coronation Chicken, or whatever other culinary monstrosity is invented in an attempt to manufacture public engagement with the event and to distract from the fact that this is coronation sicken for many many more of us than the BBC cares to acknowledge.
The majority of contemporary European monarchies today have either long since abandoned coronation ceremonies or have never had them in the first place. Only the British monarch still insists on a coronation ceremony. Yet the coronation ceremony is not even, as it is presented, a hoary centuries old tradition. Most of the modern ceremony was invented in 1902 for the coronation of Edward VII, another vain and insecure adulterer who had spent decades in his mother’s shadow and who demanded all the flummery and toadying that the British state could muster in order to further inflate his already bloated ego.
It’s a ceremony which encapsulates all that is wrong with modern Britain, the deference it pays to the obscenely rich, the exceptionalism, the lack of concern for the problems of ordinary people struggling to make ends meet, the celebration of feudalism and the democratic deficit. If this is selling the UK, Scotland is certainly not buying it.
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