As a religious Andrew Marr Show viewer, I was outraged to find as I tuned into Marr’s classic monologue last Sunday, that the show was effectively cancelled for the second week in a row. Yes, more than 48 hours after he died, the British mainstream media continued to forgo anything resembling real news coverage in favour of more sobbing about the painless passing of an (almost) centenarian. Ironically, Philip himself would be outraged at this. As Marr reminded his viewers, the Duke would hate all this “repetitive poppycock” (relentless b*llsh*t). And yet, despite this, the British media seem on a mission to put North Korean state television to shame.
Never mind that the Northern Ireland peace process is under its biggest ever threat thanks to a needlessly hard Conservative Brexit that planted a border down the Irish Sea. Never mind that whilst tens of thousands were dying and millions losing their jobs, former Tory leader and millionaire David ‘Dodgy’ Cameron privately lobbied for and was given emergency government funding to ensure his shares were profitable. Never mind all that! Instead, let’s talk non-stop about how much of a nice guy Prince Philip was! Yay! (Just scroll up to see the Metro front cover a whole 72h after Philip’s death). Even Prince Andrew (yes, wanted by the FBI for questioning) featured on this front cover and was platformed on live television expressing his sadness. (Oh, how I feel for him, the alleged rapist and known associate of a convicted paedophile and sex trafficker who ruined the lives of countless teenage girls). And the worst part is that that’s just the media coverage side of things…
As part of Operation Forth Bridge, the UK has entered a period of ‘national mourning’. Among many things, countless events have been cancelled (most notably, Boris Johnson’s 12th April pint), all political campaigning ahead of next month’s elections has been suspended, and new laws won’t receive royal assent. Yes, in the third decade of the 21st century, the daily functioning of the government to protect its citizens through law-making has literally been suspended because the husband of the Queen died. A year of a pandemic that claimed the lives of 130,000, many before their time- not once did the country enter into ‘national mourning’. Clearly, the life of this one man is worth more than all of those put together.
Yes, I know- he’s a VERY important person. But this brings me on to my wider point to do with the survival of the Monarchy.
The Institution has faced several scandals over the last 2 decades, each one tipping public support a little more in favour of the abolition of the Monarchy. (Diana, Prince Andrew, Harry and Meghan, you name it). Already a majority of young people in Britain do not support the idea of a Monarchy. When the Queen dies, this is all likely to be exacerbated since Charles hasn’t got remotely as much public sympathy as Elizabeth does. Sooner rather than later, the Firm will thus reach a T junction: reform or perish. And, assuming they don’t want the latter, they will have to appease us. To appear more ‘in touch’ with modern Britain. This might include ditching the gold piano that sits behind the Monarch each Christmas as she assures us that we’re all going through these tough times of economic destitution together. (Not to mention the Cinderella-esque Gold Stage Coach).
Frankly, however, the Windsors will have to swallow much bigger sacrifices than that if they want to survive. They will have to cut back their taxpayer allowance and luxury lifestyle significantly. They will have to cease being above the law: if the FBI wants to extradite you for vital information about sex trafficking, your family should not be able to protect you. If you’re responsible for a car accident, you should face the consequences. And yes, when a Royal dies, the country should not, literally, grind to a halt. By all means, people should feel free to feel sad, but news coverage during a time of national crisis and political campaigning just before an election should not be suspended; the government should continue to function normally and we should not suddenly exonerate wanted paedophile associates. Essentially, life should continue as normal, not slip into something resembling ‘The Death of Stalin’. It’s not too much to ask really.
This is not an attack on Prince Philip. Obviously, he has no control over what has been going on the last few days and as I’ve mentioned, he would hate all this. It is an attack on our Monarchy, or rather, the kind of Monarchy we currently have in this country. One which will not survive and does not deserve to survive if it doesn’t undergo some serious refurbishment. But it’s unlikely any of this will happen before Elizabeth dies. Which makes me think: if what we’re experiencing now is the protocol for when the husband of the Queen dies, god help us when the Queen herself dies…
Image: Front cover of the Metro on Monday 12th April via Adrià Aranda Balibrea. Not a mention of the Greensill scandal or the ongoing violence in Northern Ireland.