Counterpunch: No crowning glory in right Royal farce
There has been a bit of a popular phrase going around for the last couple of days. It goes something like this: “Even Republicans must acknowledge the Queen is a remarkable woman.”
Well. No. We. Don’t.
If anything the vulgar pageantry we have seen in the last few days as Elizabeth celebrates 60 years as Queen of England (and Australia) hammers home the point about what an obscene spectacle it all is.
Doing it with dignity: Read Tory Maguire’s piece on Queen Lizzie here.
This celebration of unearned privilege. This celebration of sectarianism and bigotry. This celebration of an undistinguished family that has achieved remarkably little despite all its privileges.
Have a think about it. What have the Windsors achieved? How have they advanced society in any meaningful way?
Judging by much of the commentary in recent days the Queen’s most notable achievement is simply her ability to keep breathing. She has been Queen for 60 years. That in itself appears to be the achievement.
But what else was she was supposed to do? She is living the most opulent lifestyle imaginable. Every whim is catered for. Every desire met. There’s not exactly a multitude of reasons for her to move on.
In essence Elizabeth is running the world’s most lucrative work for the dole program. It’s not like Charles, Anne, Andrew or Edward are employable in any real sense of the word.
If they provide anything to their subjects (and what a horrible word that is) for all this taxpayer largesse it is that some people get to feel a little more secure in their lives. The Queen perhaps provides them with a sense of certainty in a world that at times seems to be spinning out of control.
Perhaps in England that is all very well. Perhaps the tourists the monarchy drags in makes it all worthwhile in a strict economic sense. In an ethical or moral sense it is much harder to justify.
Especially when the Queen has a nice little shindig at Windsor Castle to celebrate 60 years in the same job and invites dictators such as the King of Bahrain along for the party. Also on the guest list was the ridiculous King Mswati III of Swaziland, who has piled up a $100 million fortune while his people starve. Still, presumably, royals have to stick together.
The argument regarding the stability the Queen provides is routinely extended to the political system she presides over. Monarchists like to attribute all sorts of magical powers to the Queen, number one being her presence as Australia’s head of state has kept the nation plunging into some kind of blood-soaked anarchy.
Australia’s enduring stability as a democracy is attributable solely to Australians. It is not the gift of a far-off Monarch who has visited this nation 10 times in 60 years. Anyway the Queen is also head of state of Papua New Guinea.
How’s that working out in terms of stability?
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