Tag Archives: anti-monarchy

Sycophancy Knows No Limits

Its been there since 1858, it’s officially called the Clock Tower, but most people probably know it by the name of the bell it houses – Big Ben.

But now, in the latest bit of jubilee sycophancy, it is to be renamed the Elizabeth Tower in honour of Mrs Windsor, the House of Commons has confirmed.

It follows a campaign, backed by most MPs and the three main party leaders, to rename the tower in recognition of the Queen’s 60 years of unelected privilidge. The House of Commons authorities have now agreed the change – like they were ever likely to say no.

Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood originally proposed the idea an early day motion which was backed by 40 MPs. The motion called on the House of Commons Commission to consider the change “in recognition of Her Majesty’s 60 years of unbroken public service on behalf of her country”. Mr Ellwood is no doubt contemplating  a just reward in a future honours list.

And this at a time when many of those same MPs are seriously considering cutting the benefits of those already at the bottom of the pile… something that I hope voters will bear in mind come the next election. 

Coming soon –

> Stonehenge to be renamed Queenhenge.

> Glastonbury Tor to be renamed Sixty Glorious Years Tor.

> London to be renamed Elizabethville.

Why not ?  The sycophancy seems to know no bounds now.

Mr. Frankenstein

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FUCK THE JUBILEE – 4

Did you enjoy waving your flags at your betters as they paraded down the Thames on Sunday ? Lucky you – not everyone had such an uplifting experience, it seems…. as reported in The Guardian yesterday:

A group of long-term unemployed jobseekers were bussed into London to work as unpaid stewards during the diamond jubilee celebrations and told to sleep under London Bridge before working on the river pageant.

Up to 30 jobseekers and another 50 people on apprentice wages were taken to London by coach from Bristol, Bath and Plymouth as part of the government’s Work Programme.

Two jobseekers, who did not want to be identified in case they lost their benefits, said they had to camp under London Bridge the night before the pageant. They told the Guardian they had to change into security gear in public, had no access to toilets for 24 hours, and were taken to a swampy campsite outside London after working a 14-hour shift in the pouring rain on the banks of the Thames on Sunday.

One young worker said she was on duty between London Bridge and Tower Bridge during the £12m river spectacle of a 1,000-boat flotilla and members of the Royal family sail by . She said that the security firm Close Protection UK, which won a stewarding contract for the jubilee events, gave her a plastic see-through poncho and a high-visibility jacket for protection against the rain.

Close Protection UK confirmed that it was using up to 30 unpaid staff and 50 apprentices, who were paid £2.80 an hour, for the three-day event in London. A spokesman said the unpaid work was a trial for paid roles at the Olympics, which it had also won a contract to staff. Unpaid staff were expected to work two days out of the three-day holiday.

The firm said it had spent considerable resources on training and equipment that stewards could keep and that the experience was voluntary and did not affect jobseekers keeping their benefits.

The woman said that people were picked up at Bristol at 11pm on Saturday and arrived in London at 3am on Sunday. “We all got off the coach and we were stranded on the side of the road for 20 minutes until they came back and told us all to follow them,” she said. “We followed them under London Bridge and that’s where they told us to camp out for the night … It was raining and freezing.”

A 30-year-old steward told the Guardian that the conditions under the bridge were “cold and wet and we were told to get our head down [to sleep]”. He said that it was impossible to pitch a tent because of the concrete floor.

The woman said they were woken at 5.30am and supplied with boots, combat trousers and polo shirts. She said: “They had told the ladies we were getting ready in a minibus around the corner and I went to the minibus and they had failed to open it so it was locked. I waited around to find someone to unlock it, and all of the other girls were coming down trying to get ready and no one was bothering to come down to unlock [it], so some of us, including me, were getting undressed in public in the freezing cold and rain.” The men are understood to have changed under the bridge.

The female steward said that after the royal pageant, the group travelled by tube to a campsite in Theydon Bois, Essex, where some had to pitch their tents in the dark.

She said: “London was supposed to be a nice experience, but they left us in the rain. They couldn’t give a crap … No one is supposed to be treated like that, [working] for free. I don’t want to be treated where I have to sleep under a bridge and wait for food.” The male steward said: “It was the worst experience I’ve ever had. I’ve had many a job, and many a bad job, but this one was the worst.”

Both stewards said they were originally told they would be paid. But when they got to the coach on Saturday night, they said, they were told that the work would be unpaid and that if they did not accept it they would not be considered for well-paid work at the Olympics.

Molly Prince, managing director of Close Protection UK, said in a statement: “We take the welfare of our staff and apprentices very seriously indeed.

“The staff travelling to the jubilee are completing their training and being assessed on the job for NVQ Level 2 in spectator safety after having completed all the knowledge requirements in the classroom and some previous work experience. It is essential that they are assessed in a live work environment in order to complete their chosen qualifications.

“The nature of festival and event work is such that we often travel sleeping on coaches through the night with an early morning pre-event start – it is the nature of the business … It’s hard work and not for the faint-hearted.

“We had staff travel from several locations and some arrived earlier than others at the meeting point, which I believe was London Bridge, which was why some had to hang around. This is an unfortunate set of circumstances but not lack of care on the part of CPUK.”

The company said it had spent up to £220 on sponsoring security training licences for each participant and that boots and combat trousers cost more than £100.

The charity Tomorrow’s People, which set up the placements at Close Protection under the work programme, said it would review the situation, but stressed that unpaid work was valuable and made people more employable. Tomorrow’s People is one of eight youth charities that were supported in the Guardian and Observer’s Christmas appeal last year.

Abi Levitt, director of development services at the charity, said: “We have been unable to verify the accuracy of the situation with either the people on work experience or the business concerned.

“We will undertake a review of the situation as matter of urgency. Tomorrow’s People believes strongly in the value of work experience in helping people to build the skills, confidence and CV they need to get and keep a job and we have an exemplary record going back nearly 30 years for our work with the long-term unemployed.”

Mr. Frankenstein

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THE BIRTH OF A REPUBLICAN – 1

It may have become apparent in the course of recent posts that I’m not exactly a card-carrying, flag-waving, forelock-tugging monarchist. But what set me on this course ? What traumatic event in my distant past ?

To answer that, we must take a journey back through time to the early 1970s. My home-town was having a year-long festival to celebrate the fact that it had been the venue of an important battle  500 years before – about the only thing that ever happened there – and someone had persuaded Mrs Windsor to distribute Maundy Money at the local church there that year.

Maundy Money ?  One of those ancient customs that are now pretty obsolete but presumably continued because it makes it look like the monarch is working for their money. Royal Maundy  is a religious service in the Church of England held on Maundy Thursday, the day before Good Friday.

At the service, the British Monarch or a royal official ceremonially distributes small silver coins known as Maundy Money as symbolic alms to elderly recipients. The coins are legal tender but do not circulate because of their silver content and numismatic value…well, actually they do circulate, you can buy them on eBay. I guess real cash in the bank beats symbolic alms every time.

Like many of my peers at that time  I was  a member of a paramilitary youth organization founded by an ex-soldier with imperialistic views. Once a week we would don uniforms and salute the flag. Ok… it was the Cub Scouts, but nevertheless we were told we were going to strut our stuff, such as it was, for Mrs Windsor.

I dont remember being particularly enthusiastic about it to start with, and my expectations dropped further when the great day dawned cold and grey. Standing around freezing my pre-pubescent bits off was not top of my list of things to do,  especially as we had been ordered to wear short trousers. No-one wore short trousers in the Cubs normally, but apparently failure to do so on this occasion would  have been an affront to the monarch in some unfathomable way. This minor fashion detail may well have been the planting of the first small seed of republicism.

So there we were, lined up behind the church, our green uniforms set off nicely by our increasingly blue-tinged skin. Then there’s a flurry of activity and there she was – Mrs. Windsor herself.

My first impression ? Well, I thought she’d be bigger. Even a few of our more gangly Cubs, myself included, seemed to tower over her.

Second impression ? Didn’t she look…I dunno…kind of dowdy ?

Ok, I know what you’re thinking –  since when was a 10-year old, especially one wearing short trousers, considered an authority on sartorial elegance ? But that’s rather the point, I think. If even I was struck by the fact that, despite unlimited wealth, she looked a bit frumpy…I mean, she wasn’t even wearing a crown. I really felt she hadn’t put the effort in.

These two impressions were formed in a split-second, just before we were engulfed and completely hidden from the view of the midget monarch by a pack of cameramen, tv news, security men … I dont think the woman even saw us.

And then the circus passed on and that was that, leaving me with a distinct feeling of anti-climax and what I guess was the first symptoms of a case of Emperor’s New Clothes Syndrome – we’d spent all morning hanging around and risking exposure for that ? Why ?

Once you’ve asked the all-important question “why ?”  and started to think about it, there’s no going back, I guess, even for a frozen 10-year old in short trousers.

Mr. Frankenstein

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Tourists Are Money – Aren’t They ?

Whenever anyone tries to defend the concept of monarchy, two arguments always seem to be advanced – the value to tourism and the supposed inadequacies of an elected president. I was reminded of this today when a letter pushing both views appeared in one of our local papers, and I think these are points worth looking at.

Firstly, we’re frequently being told that the value of monarchy to the tourist industry is immense…but how do we know this ?

The answer is we dont.  Tourists come for many reasons and, unless you’re going to question every single one as they’re about to enter the country, there’s no way we can know their motivation. To imply that tourists only visit the UK because of the monarchy is as misleading as suggesting that tourists only visit Thailand with a view to a little paedophile action. Undoubtedly some do, but most have other motivations.

It follows that the economic value of the monarchy to the UK tourist industry is impossible to calculate, not that it stops  their cheerleaders from reiterating their supposed value – such as The Telegraph newspaper, which boldly stated that  ” there is the unquantifiable, but enormous, tourist revenue it generates.”  Yeah, but – if it’s unquantifiable, how do you know its enormous ?

In any case, unless you’re a visting head of state you are not going to meet any members of the monarchy on your visit. You might just see one from a distance at a ceremonial affair, but you’d probably get a better view on TV.

No, what most tourists probably come for is  things – landscapes, museums, various other attractions…if the monarchy vanished without trace tomorrow, these things would still be there and tourists would still come to see them.

After all, does no-one visit France, Germany or America because they dont have monarchies ?

The second argument usually put forward is that  “having a monarchy saves us from having President Blair”, the implication being that any president would inevitably be an ex-politician. They seem to miss the point that he would at least be a head of state we were permitted to vote in…and who we could also vote out.

But in any case, its not really a valid argument anyway, because there isn’t a rule book. In the event of the abolition of the monarchy we’d have the chance to actually write the new rules, and one of them could be to exclude ex-politicians from running for office – something I’d advocate.

What exactly would a president be ?  Really, a sort of meeter-and-greeter on a national level, a non-political figurehead.  Someone to put on a show at official functions, open a few events, someone like….an actor ?

Is it such a strange idea ?  An actor would make a great head of state – they’d only be playing a part, after all. By actor, incidentally, I’m not talking about soap stars, I’m talking about actors – there must be loads of them around, experienced stage actors largely unknown to the general public but more than capable of bringing something to the part.

After all, Mrs Windsor might have been on the job for 60 years but she still sounds like a unenthusiastic  housewife reading a particularly boring shopping list. This is partly because – despite what the media would desperately like you to believe – the Windsors have zero charisma, but also I suspect, because she never had a director telling her  “put a little life into it, luv…”

And now – some more music…

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Fuck The Jubilee – 2

It’s not just music – here’s some artwork…

 

 

That one is the work of DayMoonRoseDawn and was orriginally posted at http://twicsy.com/i/7ck9jb

 

Campaign Badges of Sheffield, UK, have a number of topical badges available, including this one. They’ll also make badges to your design. Worth checking out.

http://www.campaignbadges.co.uk/

 

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Fuck The Jubilee 2012

Despite what the mainstream media would have us believe, the whole country is not currently indulging in a paroxym of royalty worship. The fact that our glorious monarch has notched up 60 years of unelected privilige may have some dancing in the streets, but for many others it varies from being an irritation to an insult to our intelligences.

Unemployment rising, services being cut, a bunch of politicians who seem to be doing their best to make bad times worse… and we’re being encouraged to hold street parties – at our own expense, its not as though she’s paying for the beer or anything – to celebrate one of the world’s richest woman’s clinging to an unelected office. What’s wrong with this picture ?

But its not all bad news. Although you wont see it mentioned in the mainstream media, there’s a healthy underground swell of anti-monarchist feeling that breaks through in creative outpourings. It was particularly noticeable at last year’s royal wedding, googling “fuck the royal wedding” threw up a wide variety of Youtube protests, from the satirical to the outraged.

It looks like the Jubilee overkill is going to achieve similar results, and I hope to introduce a few of them here. Cherish them, they’re true rages against the royal machine. Let’s start with a prime example….

 

Mr. Frankenstein

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