Before I get started with my Official Diamond Jubilee Blog Post, I’ve a confession to make: I haven’t watched any of the BBC coverage of the Jubilee celebrations. So it’s fair to say I haven’t quite “immersed myself” in the whole thing. I was going to watch the Concert at the Palace, but my partner had already switched over to Euro Football’s Most Shocking Moments on BBC 3, and to be honest, it was quite good fun reliving penalty shootouts and whatnot (the official footballing term). This does however mean that my Jubilee experience has been limited to 1) not going to work for two days, and 2) decorating the dinner table to make it look like I’m an over-enthusiastic new member of the BNP:
Scary, eh? I’d hasten to add that, while I don’t like wasting money, I’ve not gone on to join Nick Griffin and his chums just to make sure I get good usage out of these items. Although if you do happen to be a BNP member, it’s worth bearing in mind that this is probably the one time ever that IKEA will be stocking all the facist paraphernalia you could desire, and at a reasonable price (thus ends the one-off feature ‘Shopping Tips for Facists’).
While I haven’t seen the BBC Jubilee coverage, Bel Mooney – of “no one else is allowed an abortion but me” fame – has. And she is not amused. Indeed, in an article which may well have been half-written before the celebrations even started, she couldn’t help feeling that the whole thing would have been much better had it been presented by her ex-father-in-law Richard Dimbleby. This is pretty damning, given that he’s been dead since 1965.
So, what is it that offended Bel so much?
We saw Clare Balding aboard the magnificent rowing barge Gloriana shouting that the event was all about ‘empowerment’ and ‘diversity’. Er, no it wasn’t, it was about the Queen.
We heard some idiot call the Queen ‘HRH’ (what?) instead of ‘Her Majesty’, someone else talked about her as being a ‘precious piece of cargo,’ while the top deck of a boat was described as the ‘first floor’. Lord Nelson, spin in your grave.
All-purpose showbiz type John Barrowman told us that the bell-ringers would play some ‘tunes’ (that’s not what they do, John), while fluffy little Fearne Cotton was insulting World War II veterans by her very presence on HMS Belfast. (How I wished for Kate Adie, who would have done a fine job).
Jesus! I’m glad I didn’t watch it. Calling the top deck of a boat the ‘first floor’? Give me strength. If only the Sex Pistols had included something about ‘HRH’ and bell ringers ‘playing tunes’ back in 1977, the revolution may yet have come to pass. Clearly Clare Balding is doing her best; she can’t help being that thing AA Gill said she was and which Bel is too polite to mention. And yeah, that stuff about ’empowerment’ and ‘diversity’ is total bollocks. But what is she meant to say? She’s talking about the Queen’s subjects, who aren’t particularly ’empowered’ but there’s no point laying into the Queen over that one right now – it’s her special day!
The thing that really pisses me off, though, is the comment about ‘fluffy little Fearne Cotton […] insulting World War II veterans by her very presence on the HMS Belfast’. My grandad was a World War II veteran. He may have been incredibly courageous fighter pilot, but he was not a moral beacon for the nation. He, for one, would have rather have been watching Fearne Cotton than Kate Adie. And as far as I’m aware, Kate Adie didn’t cover World War II, either (and if we’re going to get all arsey about it, Bel, the correct terminology is ‘the Second World War’. World War II is an Americanisation, which is hardly appropriate in the context, wouldn’t you say?).
If you look at the list of everyone with whom Bel’s annoyed, you detect a common pattern. They’re either women or gay men. With Clare Balding you get the double whammy of a lesbian woman. No wonder we need Richard Dimbleby. Even if he’s dead.
Perhaps the most amusing, if tragic, bit of Bel’s rant comes towards the end, when she explains how the BBC execs just don’t “get” the common people and their needs:
The sad truth is this: these highly paid people regard with contempt those men and women — rich and poor, young and old, British and foreign — who are thrilled by the longevity of Elizabeth II’s reign.
The jibe about BBC execs being “highly paid” is, let’s face it, remarkable. So rich people don’t understand the needs of the masses. Apart, that is, from the richest of them all, those who rule the whole sodding country. Oh, and also the “rich” mentioned above, who happen to agree with Bel about how best to interpret the role of those who lead us. They’re okay, as are their less well-off counterparts. As for anyone else? Well, presumably the Jubilee’s not for them.
One of the saddest things about the unpaid Jubilee stewards scandal is what it says about what those in authority really think about the monarchy and the people whom they serve. It’s not just that no one bothered to consider the crassness of the rich vs poor symbolism on such an occasion, surely the worst of times during which to exploit those in need. It’s the starkness of the message: this is a national celebration, but it’s not for you. You don’t take part in it. You sleep under a bridge and you manage the crowds of ‘real’ people, the people for whom all this takes place. And we’re not even going to pay you. Hell, when I worked as a waitress I’d get paid double time on occasions of national importance, on the basis that the sacrifice I made by working was all the greater. But these people get nothing, other than a vivid reminder of the fact that they’re not like the rest of us. I’d say let them eat cake, but JSA probably doesn’t extend to such frivolous purchases.
Well, I am now about to dismantle my BNP Table of Doom. I couldn’t live like this anyhow. It’s immoral, and what’s more, it doesn’t go with my overall household colour scheme.