For people who’ve just enjoyed several days devoted to a no-expenses-spared celebration of our Diamond Queen, royalists aren’t half a miserable and snide bunch. Or at least some of them are. For instance, there’s one who features in the Guardian letter’s page today. Jesus Christ! And this is the Guardian! Imagine what the Daily Mail must be like.
Can we make this clear once and for all? If anyone has the right to be pissed off following the Jubilee celebrations, it’s we republicans! Us! And I use “us” very lightly. I, for one, am a crap republican – witness the BNP Table of Doom, which my partner and I created just because “we ought to do something”. But to be fair, I wasn’t angry about the celebrations in particular, at least not until this morning. Up till then I was more annoyed about the Jubilee Stewards outrage. It was only when I saw the Guardian letters that I remembered to be annoyed about everything else (and this has NOTHING to do with having been woken up at 5:30 am by a three-year-old throwing bunting in my face. If it wasn’t for the Guardian letters I’d be in a perfectly good, if sleep-deprived, mood).
I’m loathe to quote a letter in full – it feels like singling someone out – but there is no other way of conveying the spite directed at anyone, basically, who doesn’t want to be on their knees before their betters:
For all its faults I love the Guardian and would never buy another newspaper, and I even love my fellow readers most of the time, but at times I cannot warm to their snide remarks about things of which they do not approve, such as the Queen. They are neither original nor amusing. And as for Polly Toynbee, I have long ago given up on her ever being right on anything or connecting with ordinary people or indeed anyone outside her own set.
It may not be very welcome, but the majority of the population respect the Queen and even the monarchy, and do not want some superannuated politician as president. Get over it and worry about things that really affect ordinary people.
Do you get that? We now have a new distinction between ordinary and not-ordinary people. It’s no longer between the monarchy and us (except it is, really). But in the imagination of some, it’s between ordinary people who respect the Queen and the Polly Toynbee set who don’t and thereby are not “ordinary” at all.
As an atheist feminist republican, I don’t claim to speak for the masses. Or for Polly Toynbee, for that matter. I’m just trying to say what I believe is right. And I’m fully aware that to declare oneself an atheist feminist republican requires a willingness to be a total tosser in the eyes of some. To some, I’m just a teenager yelling “it’s not fair!” and stomping off to my room. Yeah, well. I know that’s how I appear to some people (particularly those who are mean). It’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make.
I have children. I have a job. I am approaching forty. I am not still sitting in my room listening to Joy Division. And to be honest, the tantrum-call of people my age is not “that’s not fair!” It’s “that’s political correctness gone mad!” That’s what the forever-teenage idiots yell, before they stomp off to their rooms to rant about the liberal elite who use those illicit weapons known as thinking and being nice.
If most people support the monarchy, then I think most people are wrong. “Most people” have done plenty of stupid things. It’s not arrogant to disagree with them, not if that’s just what you think (that Sophie Scholl, eh? Who the fuck did she think she was?).* It’s not like I willfully disagree with most people on everything. I like chocolate, for instance. And booze. And yes, Terry Wogan is a national treasure.
See? I am “ordinary” after all.
* I’m not comparing myself to Sophie Scholl. I’m a right fucking coward, for starters. But I can’t help feeling there are plenty of people out there who died for what were, at the time, their stupid, wussy, teenage beliefs. Only we all agree with them now. So, er, that’s okay.