Saturday, 20 October 2007
Posted by Dave
At present in Spain the monarchy is currently coming under sustained attack, particularly from people with regionalist interests to secure. However it is more than that - a wider debate with protests and gatherings happening throughout the country and pictures of the king being burnt in public by students. The quintessential question is, of course, ‘why do we have a monarchy’ and it’s got so bad that the king has actually gone public with a defense of why he matters:
I have to say that I am in sympathy with the sentiment. I am, without reserve or apology a committed anti-royalist, not based predominantly on the people who occupy the slot in the tiny irrelevant time-slice we call our existence (although I will have no problem with pointing out why they illustrate precisely what is wrong with the ‘institution’) but with the institution as a whole.In England, the origins of Kings of states (with the lowest ‘s’ possible being quite deliberate) were of course regional factionalism and straight forward fighty-fighty behaviour over utterly random aggregations of territory which bore closest resemblance, sort of, to our current counties. The King of This or the King of That or all the alternative titles, of course, now mean nothing to us at all these days. Whether they were regional barons, earls, dukes or kings of whatever bit of the country they declared ‘theirs’ and expanded and lost over centuries in a serial fashion it is now just irrelevant other than as a bookmark in history.
So back then, kings or queens were simply the highest title of the most powerful leaders of the time, particularly in a military sense because without an army of blokes who could slap the other king / earl / duke / whatever down, there was little chance that you were going to be the king / earl / duke / whatever of even your own privvy next week.In other words the origin of monarchy is simply territorial one-upmanship which related to beating the shit out of people. In the UK’s case, the origins of the current monarchy are even more bizarre than a straight intra-country series of twat-punchery. We have no straight line which explains A begat B begat C within the UK without seeing multiple countries get in on the rumble as well. Our history is littered with interventions and invitations to foreign monarchs coming over and ‘assuming’ the role of monarchy and –natch as our yank brethren would say- the subsequent fighting over regional territories.
If you would like to spell it out, the history of the monarchy (even in some sort of consolidated sense) is a bunch of people from Wessex, then the Danes who invaded, the Western Saxons who restored shit, the Normans from france who shot arrows in peoples eyes and stuff, the Plantagenets who were also French, a weird bit of fucking around with the Irish (we’re up to about 1141 now), people from Lancaster who had been pooning people from Yorkshire, then the people from Yorkshire who pooned the Lancastrians who had previously been pooning them, a short intervention by people who were distinctly Scottish, a brief period of sanity for 11 years with no King, more Scots, the fucking *dutch* or Hanovers since that was different sort of but not much, a marriage to a german in the name of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (Victoria in case you’re lost) and then a rebranding of the royal’s surname from Saxe-Coburg-Gotha to Windsor because it was a place, like, during a time the germans were fucking us over briefly – and lets face it the germans knew how to pick a losing fight in the 20th century – during WWI.So….. total fucking farce….right?
No continuity other than the precedent of the last bunch had overthrown the previous bunch. Now of course, despite this, it was astonishing what could be accepted as ‘right’ to rule, not least the inestimable fear brought about by total utter religious belief and the concept of the ‘divine right’ of kings. No matter that the lot in your irrelevantly brief time slot of existence hadn’t been in place that long, the ‘divine right’ of kings made them of a god-like status. There are fantastic versions of how the populace couldn’t even look towards a king even in the 1700’s out of the sheer awe for their status.
These days, when your future king is on audio record as wanting to the tampon (no seriously I’ll link it if you have forgotten) of his mistress while he was cuckolding his pretty but incredibly dim and messed up wife, I simply don’t know why we have them at all. As I’ve established, there’s no coherent sense of history as to why they are here and I frankly find it incredibly intellectually embarrassing that a nation of largely decent people go and prostrate themselves before a bunch of no-chins in front of the world. I don’t buy tourism (republics like the US and France get tourists), I don’t buy any rational (we’ll do irrational in a sec) argument to tradition either (what tradition - it’s a bunch of disconnect peons twatting each other) and I despair of what it says about us as a nation that people swear allegiance to the queen instead of their country on getting a passport. And I despair that we put this current lot of sloane-rangers on a pedestal and pay for their incredibly privileged lifestyle. There is some sense of tradition there, considering all the flag wavers of the Queen’s double jubilee but that would be so much better re-directed at pride in the country, not pride in a bunch of over privileged and distinctly, evidentially not very bright people who, imho, might (some of them) give good service to a country (hey I bet a lot of people could do a fuck load better given that comfortable cushion and service behind them tho) but have no logical basis in being there at all.
Thirty years ago the Sex Pistols sung possibly the most ironically held lyric ever in ‘God Save the Queen’. The BBC banned it so as not to ‘spoil’ the Queen’s Silver Jubilee. Such petty, unthinking, slavish devotion was unbecoming then (I mean they said ‘God save the Queen, she ain’t no human bein’ – how fucking *radical* was that) but today the general basis is even more unexplicable. Whatever they are protesting in the streets of Spain today, I hope we get our own version too......