Monday, 4 June 2012

Let's spend a Penny...

It's inevitable really.

Anything that involves anything in this country will lead to someone making some ill thought out and feeble comment that they will proclaim as fact. I imagine it's the same in every country and culture. But I tend not to see so much of those on my, ewww, facebook timeline.

Last night I read various comments regarding the Jubilee. They were started by a guy I was at school with and later in the discussion another joined in that was ranting about the monarchy being, and I quote, "SCUMBAG PARASITES". All a bit predictable. All a bit... Meh. Is that really the best you can do? I pondered this in the dark hours of the night, looked up the OED definition of parasites and considered what the monarchy is, at least from my point of view.

Then this morning I read a marvellous blog post by @obotheclown which rather prompted me to write this. In it he was actually talking about snide comments regarding achievement. Whilst one could argue that it takes no achievement to, by dint of accident of birth, be in a particular family, it does rather take an awful lot of effort to keep doing a job in the face of, well, everything, regardless of how good the fringe benefits are.

But back to the OED for a moment...

1 an organism which lives in or on another organism and benefits by deriving nutrients at the other's expense.
2 derogatory a person who habitually relies on or exploits others and gives nothing in return.

Hmm. Gives nothing in return? I'll admit here and now I am something of a monarchist, this probably means that I'm going to find strychnine in the next cup of tea I get from my flatmate, but there, I said it. I recognise there are flaws in the system, but as I've written before they are better than the alternative. The alternative being a republic with an elected el presidente. Another bottom feeding politician whose soul positive attributes are to look good and have a better marketing team than the other guy. And let's face it, until the world moves on it's likely to be a bloke that's elected and won't that be good?


Whatever the issues, going by the OED, it's not parasitical. In the self same facebook thread it was pointed out that the monarchy costs each and every one of us 60p a week. I have no idea whether it's an accurate figure, but it sounds vaguely right. The response was "And it's my 60p, why give it to worlds richest reptile?". Okay. Let's look at this. I get paid weekly through an umbrella company. So I happen to know that my tax, excluding National Insurance, was £635.20 for the week. Of which approximately 1p goes to the monarchy.


1.1538p if you want to be pedantic, but 1p, sod it, I'll sort out the difference in December. 1p.

That 1p filled my eyes with tears of joy as I watched 1000 boats being rowed down the Thames. That brought millions out to line the river to see the spectacle and honour not just the Queen, but the history she represents. That had groups and communities up and down the country and across the world coming together to celebrate something that was quite unique. That 1p did more than any bollock brained politician or planner could ever manage to do.

It brought people together.

In a time of deeply unsettling economic turmoil, the country, largely as one, stood up, hummed the National Anthem and had a jolly good time. Sod the weather, this is Britain, we do rain, it's not going to stop us. It was particularly heart warming to see representatives of the Little Ships as part of the pageant, an emotional reminder of another set of people who, against the odds, joined as a nation and gave two fingers to those that would wish to oppress us.

The monarchy is a lasting reminder of the last time this country was properly invaded. I know that there was a later full on invasion that I learnt of just before New Year, must check with the flatmate for details of that, she will probably remember, but this didn't have quite the same impact. Anyway, an event that, ultimately, took us on a path to produce a nation of, well, bloody mindedness like no other.

And that's what I saw. That's what I see. The Queen could abdicate. She could enjoy the her later years and spend time with her husband and consort, time that they ultimately sacrificed sixty years ago. But no, whatever you say of her, she sticks to her duty, she represents us all and she does so with a bloody mindedness and stiff upper lip that should make us all proud.

Let's just keep spending that penny every week.

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