A Well Behaved Republican

By Fiona MacInnes

I do so think I deserve a pat on the back, a little praise or small republican treat of some kind for my exemplary behaviour during the last week or is it two weeks?  In any case it’s finally becoming a fading mirage of discordant primary colours. You can tell a decent designer has been nowhere near the union jack.  When Charles and Di wed the world was watching it on telly and I chose to go to the only place just about in Britain (see I’m even conditioned into the lingo again) where you couldn’t get TV. It was a blistering hot day, strangely silent like Italian siesta time and I opted to do a solitary trek across the hills of Hoy only returning when I knew that it might be safe to do so and the inbreds had finally been coupled. Back then I was smouldering with barely controlled resentment and anger. But having an adolescent strop in public never looks good and the gullible that have been starved of knowledge and education and lost the ability to question all the truly bad things about why the monarchy just cannot continue, can be dangerously rattled by attacks on the symbol of their own intellectual and material servitude. It’s a strange conundrum.

The cobwebbed alliances of the Masonic lodge and the Christian right came together with the sleeping republicans to produce I confess some undoubtably spectacular bonfire beacons, and depending on the concentration of your fervour, dubbed  ‘a community bonfire’ or a ‘jubilee celebration’. You could take your pick although I know of one beacon that caused not a little domestic strife  as the coastguard offer of £100 to cart the pallets to the top of the hill was not a sum that could easily be denied on grounds of republican principal. As a late arrival at the local bonfire I was greeted by fellow ‘quiet republicans’ who could appreciate a bit of a community thing for the kids and the good old primal charge of a raging inferno, and all muttering some conspiratorial mitigations as if caught in a guilty act.

 

Nature took its course on the bunting the new London neighbours strung out from their washing poles as a grim easterly gale swept in, to my (quiet) joy. I have been like a sugar addict who has not touched the bag of home made tablet, tantalising as it is because I know that once it takes hold I will make a pig of myself then feel sick. I could so have been disgraceful but instead I have been a quiet and well behaved republican, I have not sworn at any white haired grannies or derided the most tacky town hall pageant. You see I have known all along that it will pass. It’s pretty much on a posh Jeremy Kyle or rather more stuffy X-factor level. Even this second helping of torch-a –rama which I suppose is ok-ish until you talk about the cynicism of sports sponsorship, the bus-driver’s and their bonus, the fishing fleet banned from the Thames, ( you mean you didn’t know about that one – its pretty low status I agree). I could go on and I think I will on money and then the wrecking of wee football teams, the absurdity of buying players like Pokemon cards and the obesity bomb that is fuelled by those very big companies that are part of the whole bloated charade.

As Arundhati Roy says, ‘flags are bits of coloured cloth that  governments use  to first shrink wrap people’s  brains, and then as ceremonial shrouds to bury the dead.’

In her debrief on her day at the local old peoples’ centre my mother  ( a war widow of a war several wars back from today’s batch) likened it to being dropped into a 1930s Mosley rally, and like the rest of us kept stumm summing it up only later, safe among consenting adults with ‘I don’t know why folk are so stupid.’



Categories: Arts & Culture

Tags:

10 replies

  1. Smoldering, yes and so was I with the advantage of living abroad but being able to access one or two UK news channels and the t’internet. It was boak bag stuff and has morphed seamlessly with the Euro Finals (Footie version, not the dying days of the €)

    Samuel Johnson described patriotism as the last refuge of the scoundrel. This was and still is jingoistic ,confused, feudal patriotism at the max. Latter day bread and circuses.

    One niggling error though, it was not the Masonic Lodges with the Christian Right, it was the Orange Lodges, a big difference

  2. I forgot to add something about Patriotism being the first refuge and in researching this opinion, I came about two interesting opinions which I have cut and pasted.

    “In Dr. Johnson’s famous dictionary patriotism is defined as the last resort of a scoundrel. With all due respect to an enlightened but inferior lexicographer, I beg to submit that it is the first.”—Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary, at entry for patriotism, The Collected Writings of Ambrose Bierce, p. 323 (1946, reprinted 1973).

    H. L. Mencken added this to Johnson’s dictum: “But there is something even worse: it is the first, last, and middle range of fools.”—The World, New York City, November 7, 1926, p. 3E.

  3. It saddened me to see so many people caught up in the fervour, waving their little union jacks like obedient subjects, using such reasoning as “oh she’s wonderful” and “she’s the Queen!”, clearly having never even bothered to ask themselves what it is that makes her so wonderful. She’s the ultimate celebrity – everyone knows her, only she can be the queen so her position is unattainable by ordinary oiks, we’re told from a young age that it’s a massive privilege to be so much as waved at by her, never mind meet her.

    When I think back to when I was younger – and I’m talking about 8 if not earlier – when I decided I didn’t see the point of the Queen, it makes me wonder if I’m part of a different species. Seriously, how come an 8 year old see the futility of it all but grown men and women queue up at the Mall just for a glimpse of some woman, whose only talent was being born into the right family? It shouldn’t even need explaining, the monarchy is so blatantly wrong.

    But what do I expect from a species that still believes in omnipresent beings, and a populace that actually needs to be convinced of the obvious and inherent merits of self-determination? You’d think we’d only just discovered how to make fire.

  4. If this has come on twice – sorry
    Just to say we dont have an orange lodge and so the local masons valiantly stepped into the breech – its an islands thing.

  5. Anent Doug’s memory from age 8, I was taken at age 9 to see Cecil B. de Mille’s ‘Ten Commandments’. I thought it was wonderful (much better than the book!) but was alarmed to discover that my parents and indeed most of the adults I knew professed to believe that it was a true story. How could they?

    Realisation of the true nature of the monarchy took a little longer to arrive – surprisingly, as I think there is a clear homomorphism between the two. Deliberate, of course – they serve the same purpose. Unquestioning popular acceptance of the manifestly irrational has obvious political uses.

  6. As a flag, the union jack is going to be a sorry looking rag when the scottish saltire is removed after independence. If the establishment have difficulty in finding a place to fly the union rag then the obvious suggestion would be for pole placement in the arse .

  7. never forget the time i was talking to a guy in a pub in paisley. he had just been turned down for a job in the council. consequently, he was railing against nepotism in the council and claimed he knew that the person who got the job, their maw worked in the office.

    a few hours later, on the high st., the same guy was decalring his love for the monarchy and entertaining us to his rendition of God Save The Queen.

    i think the council got a lucky escape , there!

  8. We talk about “in Britain” but should we talk about being “on Britain”?

    Being on Hoy no doubt complicates the question.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: