Having been born, bred and buttered in the United Kingdom, I am classed as a subject of Her Royal Highness, Queen Elizabeth. But I have a slight problem: I don’t wanna be!
Don’t get me wrong, I have the utmost respect for both the Queen and the rest of her family. I have a not-so-secret girl-crush on Kate Middleton (I mean, how can someone always look perfect and lovely and not-even-slightly-slutty-but-still-a-complete-babe ALL THE TIME? Like, she’s supposed to be a commoner! Ain’t nuthin common ‘bout them cheek bones!). Harry too seems like such an awful lot of craic. Plus, his eyes are rather dreamy. And that roguish grin? Hubba-hubba! I also think the Queen herself is an absolute lady – she’s adorable! She reminds me of my own granny. In fact, when watching the televised concert in her honour I felt sorry for the poor wee love. Yeah, I’m sure my granny would love to sit outside in the cold until midnight watching a load of acts that she probably doesn’t even like. NAT! I’m, pretty sure most people in their later years would rather celebrate any milestones with a small family gathering with their feet up watching the soaps. Not only that, she was up again the next morning to attend yet another engagement- at 86 years of age! Not only was she there, she was bright eyed and bushy-tailed. She is the consummate professional.
However, this does not negate the fact that I believe the profession she excels at is utterly redundant in 2012.
It simply does not make sense. In a country with such high levels of poverty, unemployment and social immobility, such a lavish lifestyle is, in my opinion, obscene. Especially when you’re job description essentially entails ‘going to things’: going to garden parties, to galas, to concerts, to visit people, going around the world on a jet plane. I know that the weekend’s celebrations were only in part to commemorate the sixty years of service the Queen has given to her country. It is also a way of celebrating Britain and our great and glorious past. Yet, I honestly believe that such money and effort would have been better spent in an effort to try and improve our chances of a great and glorious future. In many ways, I feel the celebrations have been a way for the Government to deflect attention from the fact that they are failing the common people; stick a few union flags up and bake some apple crumble and let’s remember why Britain is great.
“Oh, you’ve been made redundant and have been evicted from your house as a result to the excessive cuts to public services? No matter! Here’s a bakewell tart. It’ll cheer you right up!”
I’m not alone in my thinking – far from it. According to recent polls, anything from 22%-50% of Britons identify as being anti-monarchist. Indeed, in England, Scotland and Wales, many people have spoken out about the monarchy.
I, however, am not allowed to.
You see, I am an Irish Catholic from Northern Ireland. Therefore, any grumblings or misgivings I have about the monarchy take on a much more nefarious shade. At best, my views are dismissed as those of a typical Irish Nationalist malcontent- those Catholics, up to no good – as usual!- and at worst as the beliefs and views of a terrorist.
I see no place for the Queen in modern society and, therefore, in the minds of some, I must surely condone any recent dissident activity or murder perpetrated by republican groups. I’ve been shocked by how many opinions I’ve seen on facebook that subscribe to the belief that if anyone here in Northern Ireland is not participating in the jolly spectacle that is the Queen’s Jubilee – or, woe betide, vocally opposing the festivities!- is ‘sectarian’ or a ‘bigot’. In fact, I’ve seen a small number of statuses over the last few days that are out-and-out offensive rants about how “Catholics are pathetic and can’t let us enjoy our celebrations. I’m just so proud to be British”. To anyone culpable of these extreme views I bit my tongue and forced myself to refrain from pointing out that, being from Northern Ireland, you’re actually not British; you’re a citizen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (DUH!) and grudgingly pulled the little arrow away from the ‘unfriend’ button.
I am not a bigot. I am painfully aware that this sounds very similar to those people who state “I am not a racist but…” and then continue on to state something terribly racist. However, I refuse to let my informed opinions about politics and society be undermined by someone else’s misguided view that they stem wholly from my religion and community background. It’s just so….irritating!
“I may not agree with what you say, sir, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” – Voltaire
I came so close to unfriending a lot of people this weekend (who, let’s face it, weren’t great friends) but stopped myself as they’re the people that entertain me with hilarious statuses such as “Well, I thought someone was my friend but she’s clearly just a backstabbing whore, boyfriend stealer” and I simply can’t give them up. Only joking! The main reason I didn’t click the unsubscribe button was because everyone is entitled to their own opinion: no matter how misguided or founded on ignorance it happens to be. If I want people to listen to my views and take them seriously for what they are and not view them as a mere symptom of my upbringing, I simply have to do the same for others. One can disagree without being disagreeable.
Plus, I would really miss those emotional melt-down statuses.
by Lucy Williams
Feature image via.