Notes from Normal-island

Oh. My. God. This is totally messed up, he said, gesturing vaguely around at everything. The perfect indication of just what a crazed and insane place we have got to in this so called United Kingdom is that the most sensible public figures on social media right now are Jedward. Yes, that Jedward. The deeply annoying Irish pop poppets, Eurovision entrants and X Factor contestant twins Jedward. They are now providing more mature, thoughtful and insightful commentary on Twitter than anything you’ll find this week on the BBC or Sky. And don’t start me on a print media that publishes photos of a cloud that would look like the queen wearing a squashed cloud hat if you were on psychoactive drugs.

For most of the supposedly serious and [checks notes] world class British media, if they got any further up the arse of the new King Charles, they’d be wearing the crown themselves. For my own part, I’m still at the stage where whenever anyone says King Charles, I immediately mentally add ‘Spaniel’. One striking realisation from the coverage of the Scottish stages of the proceedings is how little many of the commentators actually know about the history of the relationship between England and Scotland.

Currently as I type this, some random sycophantic commentator on the telly, which is just about all of them at the moment, has said, in all apparent seriousness, that when the Queen appeared alongside Paddington Bear in that short skit that was released at the Jubilee, she wasn’t acting opposite “the real Paddington.” Next thing they’re going to tell us is that the dinosaurs on Jurassic Park weren’t real either. That’s the BBC’s mission to educate and inform for you. Anyway, as any royal commentator worth his or her salt ought to know, the real Paddington is Peruvian, so comes from a country where they have a republic, and presumably right now a TV service which is actually still talking about real news.

Still, at this time of National MourningⒸ it’s a huge comfort that we can all come together, prayerfully and respectfully united in deep loathing and contempt for the performative mourning virtue signaller snowflakes of GeeBeebies News and all the other channels where sycophantic royalist, grovelling platitude mongering ‘newsreaders’ talk in that muted and regretful tone that you usually reserve for phoning in sick when you have a hangover.

On Monday 19th, the day of the state funeral, shops and supermarkets will be closed, a number of food banks have also announced that they will be closed ‘as a mark of respect.’ Although clearly not respect for people who are going hungry. Cancer appointments have been cancelled. Center Parcs will be chucking everyone out that day. Shortly after announcing the decision, Center Parcs did a U-turn after realising that it had trained its guests in archery, shooting, swimming, canoeing, and swinging through the trees like apes, meaning it had basically got village-loads of ninjas to clear out.

All other funerals will be cancelled on day the queen is buried, how is this remotely sane behaviour? Closing food banks and cancelling NHS operations and interventions on Monday “out of respect” for a dead monarch. The distillation of everything that is wrong with the UK in two acts of abject and needless cruelty.

On Sunday a BBC commentator narrating the interminable live coverage of the hearse carrying the Queen’s coffin from Balmoral to Edinburgh through Scottish city streets lined with silent onlookers explained to viewers that “Scottish people don’t emote as enthusiastically as people down south.” He has clearly never been to a Scottish football match, or a concert, or indeed any gathering of Scottish people that wasn’t actually a funeral. What did he expect? Hysterical people, crying, screaming, ripping their clothes in grief and throwing marmalade sandwiches at the cortege?

Whether republican or royalist, most Scots have enough integrity to be able to show quiet and dignified respect to a deceased person. That certainly doesn’t mean that they are confirmed royalists, for all the efforts of the BBC to politicise this event in the service of the anti-independence cause. To all the British journalists, who think the Union is safe because Scotland showed respect to a dead Monarch, watch what happens with the live one.

While the service for the late queen was taking place at St Giles Cathedral, the new King’s staff at his residence in London, Clarence House, were receiving redundancy notices. He’s moving in to Buckingham Palace so they are no longer required. It’s beyond the pale to protest against the monarchy during his time of National MourningⒸ but it’s perfectly OK for Charles to sack his staff. Of course, he did it ‘reverently.’ Sacking his surplus servants was Charles’s first act as king. His second was to give his brother Andrew a job. Prince Andrew has been appointed a Counsellor of State for the new king, given the role of stepping in for King Charles if he ever becomes sick or leaves the country, meaning Andrew is effectively the deputy king. The law does dictate that the role goes to the next four in line for the throne, but Charles could have held off and made it known that he wanted legislators to change the law so that Andrew’s place could have been taken by Princess Anne. It’s not like they’d say no. Charles chose not to.

There’s grotesquely out of touch for you. The kid who heckled Prince Andrew for participating in a sex trafficking ring is going to face a stiffer punishment than Prince Andrew did for participating in a sex trafficking ring. But that was just fine with the right wing British nationalist types. What was totally beyond the gammon pale was that Prince Harry and his mixed race wife had the gall to hold hands in the procession. They didn’t muster the same outrage at Princess Anne’s daughter or one of the daughters of Prince Andrew, who likewise held hands with their spouses.

By Wednesday, the cameras were showing us the queues of people in London waiting to view the coffin, the TV announcer said : “This is what we are going to be watching for 4 days.” You’d like to assume not literally, but by this point that’s exactly what the BBC means. The funeral is on Monday, for the intervening five days the BBC is giving us a live stream of the coffin, just in case, you assume, anything changes, interspersed with interviews with people standing in The Queue, which by now has acquired capital letters. Although they missed a trick by not calling it the Elizabeth line.  Some will be queuing for 12 hours or more, all in order to shuffle past a box bedecked in flags with a jewelled hat sitting on top. “I want to be a part of history,” those standing in line tell the telly presenters. You no longer get to be a part of history simply by living through a historic event. This is Brexit Britain, you have to queue for hours.

People complain about the disrespect of those of us who are not interested in this charade or who protest that Charles is NotMyKing. But you know what is really disrespectful? That’s Andrew and his brother using the death of their mother to launder his reputation.

Republicans do not propose arresting people for commemorating the late queen or celebrating the new King Charles Spaniel- sorry, I can’t help it – but that is exactly what is happening to those protesting against the new King. The so-called guardians of free speech, the anti-woke warriors fighting cancel culture are nodding in approval when people exercising their free speech are arrested for it. A man in London was arrested for carrying a blank placard with an intent to write Not My King on it. How we scoffed when that happened to anti-war protestors in Russia. Welcome to Truss and Charles’s Britain.

A monarchy that is threatened by some booing and a few pieces of cardboard is a pretty fragile thing. God, imagine protesting at a *proclamation*, the very thought. Please conduct your anti-monarchy protest at 3pm on a wet Tuesday afternoon in the car park of Coatbridge Asda rather than at the king’s proclamation in front of the world’s media. Thank you for protesting conveniently.

There is apparently no right to freedom of speech in the spaniel’s kingdom if you object to the monarchy and to this long and dragged out North Koreanesque charade. How very dare you not be grieving. They are not just policing our speech, they are policing our emotions too. This is a time of National MourningⒸ and you will mourn, or else. Don’t you dare enjoy yourself, pleb. Turn on the TV, wrap yourself in a British flag and weep like a loyal little subject.

I realise that not everyone in Scotland shares my antipathy to the institution of the monarchy, far more widespread, even in a Scotland which is easily the least royalist part of Britain, is a general lack of interest in the royal family, for many a grudging toleration. But I suspect that the mandatory, authoritarian force-feeding of nauseating royal sycophancy which has been forced upon us this past week is turning large numbers of people strongly against the institution. It was bad enough when Prince Philip died, and I knew that when his wife passed away we’d be in for what we experienced then but on steroids. However it has been far more shrill, intrusive, desperate, and frankly crazed, than my worst fears.

There is still over a week of this to go and they have already scraped through the bottom of the barrel. On Monday we were regaled with the hysterical, nauseating guff of Lulu on the BBC news giving us, in an accent wandering about more than a drug addled student with a rail pass, the final inane utterances of a doomed civilisation. This is despite the fact she told us that she, like just about everyone else, didn’t really know the queen and doesn’t have any stories about her. It makes anyone with functioning neurons remaining want to dook for chips. Up next on BBC News, the members of Steps tell us how Tears on the Dancefloor was really a touching tribute to the late queen, which they then perform with choreography by the Duke of Buccleuch.

This is surely due to deep seated British nationalist fear that the passing of the queen also represents the passing of the British state which she became the monarch of seventy years ago. When Elizabeth acceded to the throne, Britain still had an Empire, it was one of the leading and most influential members of the Allies which had won WW2, the UK still fancied itself as a global superpower. They are not just mourning the queen, they are mourning the Britain that the British establishment and above all the Conservatives, have destroyed.

Now Britain is in crisis, millions worry about keeping food on the table or keeping their homes warm, and thousands of businesses are facing collapse. The UK is isolated, out of Europe and facing an uncertain and diminished future. This island is swimming in a literal sea of sewage. We now have the most right wing Prime Minister in history, who is threatening a trade war with Europe and who is making us all pay in order to protect the profiteering of the energy companies. She was elected by a hundred thousand southern English reactionaries who fume about Europe and ‘the woke’.

We also have a new head of state whose judgement is highly questionable and who has a track record of immense entitlement even by the standards of his family. He’s only been king a couple of days but evidence of his short temper and tetchiness is already apparent. This is the king we are being exhorted to ‘love’. Yeah, I think I’ll pass. We live in a country suffering a Brexit it didn’t consent to, under a government and Prime Minister it didn’t vote for, under a monarchy it didn’t ask for, with a media that isn’t even pretending to represent the true breadth of public opinion, and we are not allowed to protest about it.

The UK itself is on its last legs as half of Scotland has its eye on the exit door, yet politics is paused while the establishment plays at dress up, with billion pound bejewelled hats, chocolate box soldiers, carriages and tail coats, and any protest is met with police action. It’s not a funeral anymore. This is a week-long celebration of the English class system.


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