Meanwhile, back in the real world
The establishment have milked it for all it’s worth but tomorrow, after the last stage-managed event surrounding that diamond jubilee is over, for the vast majority of the population it will be back to reality with a bang.
For the jobless teenagers bussed in from Bristol, Bath and Plymouth to sleep rough and work for nothing as stewards during the Thames procession on Saturday, it will be back to grinding poverty and a total absence of a worthwhile future.
For the unemployed it will be another week of fruitless searches for jobs; for those with disabilities, it will mean fending off intrusive medical tests (run by a private company on a pay-by-results contract) intended to force them into menial jobs.
For tens of thousands of homeless households tomorrow will mean another night in temporary accommodation, disrupting children’s education and making it impossible to bring up a family in a sustainable way.
For public sector workers, it’s the start of another month of jobs cuts and increased pension contributions deducted unilaterally on the orders of the ConDem government. And another year of a pay freeze while food prices, in particular, continue to soar.
For those lucky enough to have jobs, Wednesday will for many see a return to a hostile work environment where management makes sure everyone knows their place, getting to work on an overpriced, overcrowded transport system.
An unprecedented, co-ordinated state operation, incorporating the media and led by the BBC, has driven reality into a corner in favour of relentless pomp and pageantry that has gone on for hour after hour, day after day.
No matter that people are being slaughtered by the Assad regime in Syria, or that the Obama administration is using drones to execute at will in Pakistan, or that the global economy is irreversibly heading for a second, far worse crash. More important, beacons are being lit across Britain, loads of boats are struggling down the Thames and some pop stars are holding a concert outside Buckingham Palace.
The last few days have seemed virtually authoritarian in atmosphere, with a contrived “celebration” organised to mark what? The fact that a privileged woman, a huge landowner with several palaces, immense wealth, including a hidden collection of masterpieces, has held an unelected position for 60 years.
Discredited politicians have tried to use the occasion to create a sense of flag-waving Britishness that died with empire and is not particularly supported by the citizens of Wales and Scotland, let alone the minority population in the north of Ireland.
The ConDem government, perhaps the most despised in recent history, no doubt hopes that the queen’s diamond jubilee has taken some of the attention away from its austerity policies which have helped to deepen the recession triggered by the financial crisis of 2007-8.
Of course, the monarchy is not the all-powerful ruler who cites divine authority from God. That period of history ended with the execution of Charles 1 by Cromwell’s parliamentary forces in January 1649.
But it symbolises the fraudulent nature of what passes for democracy despite the immense struggles of the Levellers of the English Civil War, the radical movement of reformers of the late 18th century, the Chartists of the 19th century and the Suffragettes of the 20th century.
Present democracy is little more than a show, a façade behind which corporations and financial institutions, markets and bond dealers, call all the shots. The monarchy is part of that theatre, with Her Majesty’s government the accomplices who direct the state to give big business what it wants and needs.
A fresh constitutional settlement is urgent to meet the aspirations of a disenfranchised majority of working people, replacing the power of the corporatocracy. Such a democracy could never include an unelected, hereditary head of state but would instead express the power of those whose labour actually makes society possible. Tomorrow is as good a time to start on this project as any.
5 June 2012