The Sociology of Grovelling
The English press seem to be falling over-themselves in a bid to see who can publish the most vile, weird and reactionary article as we hurtle towards Brexit oblivion and a clear ‘exercise in self-humiliation’.
Yesterday the Times decided to advertise its Rod Liddle article with this quote:
The Sunday Times seems to be following the NYT giving space to the far-right pic.twitter.com/k0dZuKb2Wd
— Bella Caledonia (@bellacaledonia) November 26, 2017
Today the Spectator managed to mark the announcement of Prince Harry marrying Meghan Markle with this:
The Spectator actually ran this sentence. On purpose. In 2017. pic.twitter.com/ISO6Fv6VfK
— Michael Moran (@TheMichaelMoran) November 27, 2017
Another Royal Fairy Tale
The state broadcaster announced on the lunchtime bulletin:
“The world looks on as London sets to become host to another Royal fairy tale”.
It’s not clear whether the Fairy Tale is one in which the Princess gets eaten by the Wolf-Paparazzi or lives happily ever after with Dopey and Grumpy. But it’s certainly a German tradition.
It’s no coincidence that the twin strands of Brexit humiliation: virulent racism and a gloriously proud ignorance should collide with the Bread and Circuses of another royal wedding.
As the broadcasters seemed to find moron after exultant moron on the streets of Britain almost at will the question hangs in the air, not just of the enduring potency of the Royalist fiesta to offset peoples daily experience of a low-wage economy in the context of rip-off privatised Britain, but the whether they can carry it off again?
As David Jamieson wrote:
“Soon #Harry and #MeghanMarkle will start planning a bigger party than you could ever even imagine. There will be food and drink you could never afford for yourself or family. You are paying for it. You are not invited.”
Whatever the likely response to the Windsor’s version of I’m a Celebrity Get me out of Here (almost inevitably cringing crippling deference and a blinding fawning media coverage) the picture today, now, wasn’t quite so pretty.
The Spectator’s thinly-veiled racism (Meghan Markle is ‘mixed race’ as the barely post-apartheid language of the papers noted) was apparent.
They tried valiantly to frame it like this: “Meghan Markle is unsuitable as Prince Harry’s wife for the same reason that Wallis Simpson was unsuitable: she’s divorced and Harry’s grandmother is supreme governor of the CofE.”
But nobody was really buying it.
What the Spectator was getting at, but couldn’t quite articulate beyond its half-repressed shame, was not some early 20C hypocrisy about divorce – christ half the royal family’s divorced – was something else: she’s half-black, and worse, the others half’s Irish-catholic.
Now no doubt the spin-cycle will actually make this a great virtue: she’s so modern! So capable! She’s a feminist! It’s all so progressive, and yes, sob, his mother would have approved.
But old habits die hard. The Daily Mail only earlier this month was salivating over her “pert posterior and honed figure”.
Whilst the supposed ‘quality press’ is embarrassing itself over celebrity feudalism, other sectors offer little resistance to the mass ignorance about Irish politics.
Jeremy Warner, the Associate Editor of the Daily Telegraph has written:
“The point is that the Irish border is about so much more than economics and trade. It’s hundreds years of history; Ireland has poisoned UK politics and brought down governments for centuries, and may well do so again.”
This is deep denial and deeply racist and quite stupid.
The comment is challenged by someone who writes: “Didn’t Britain invade Ireland, not the other way round ?” To which @snochie helpfully adds: “No. England did.”
But it’s not unusual.
If you feel the echo of 2014 this year with a combination of supremacy and supreme historical ignorance to Celtic nations belting out of the orifices of the British political media elite, you’d be right.
Nor is the self-delusion contained to the far-right of the Tory Brexiteers.
Labour’s Kate Hoey wins outright (in a very competitive group) the award for exceptionally awful analysis. Here’s some of her hot-takes:
“The Republicans are being helped by Leo Varadkar, who seems to have very quickly forgotten his liberal views. The hypocrisy of all shades of Nationalism who “fought” the British Empire and now so cringingly want to be part of an enlarged, anti-democratic EU empire is astounding.”
I’m not sure what the inverted commas are doing in this sentence but I’m pretty sure there’s no EU equivalent of the Black and Tans (bendy bananas aside – obviously!).
She continues (apparently unedited): “The EU bureaucrats pontificate piously about the border as if they know what they are talking about. ”
Yea Kate, go for it!
What’s Europe ever known of political violence [memo to Kate: the entire European project is predicated on the post-war settlement you complete halfwit].
She continues: “The Northern Ireland Affairs Select Committee is currently undertaking an inquiry into the land border.”
Well you’ve got about a week.
It’s exceptionally unlikely that anyone will restrain this torrent of abuse against Ireland in time for some thinking, or some, say, diplomacy.
This isn’t Britannia Unleashed, this is Britannia Unhinged.
As another ‘Royal Fairy Tale’ takes grip it remains to be seen if a deeply unpopular minority government, working on borrowed time from shady DUP votes can endure through farce.
It is not a matter any more of what RW Johnson called: “the whole Ukanian notion of ‘class’, which here denotes a sort of lumpish, self-encapsulating and self-perpetuating corporatism: knowing-one’s-place erected into social theory and a servile national identity. Less a nation of shopkeepers than of butlers – the most that can be said of a true patriot in Ukania is that he is ‘a loyal servant of the Crown’.”
We are in a different, post-deferential world. Instead Feudalism is recreated as Celebrity Romp. This is the world where Bono, Meaghan and Harry are re-presented as radicals, saviours even.
The question is more today, in sickly weirdo 2017, whether an English political elite can sustain a Blame Game on the Irish at the same time as mounting a Made In Chelsea street party in the crumbling ashes of a broken country. The Mirror today reported on the dystopia of British working life “Timed toilet breaks, impossible targets and workers falling asleep on feet: Brutal life working in Amazon warehouse”.
This is all connected.
As Kate Hoey said this morning on Radio 4:
“At end of the day we won’t put up the border. They’ll have to pay for it” echoing the Princess-to-be’s President-in-waiting (for impeachment).
The idea that this most dysfunctional ruling family can combine with this country’s most dysfunctional government in Britain’s worst crisis since the war and succeed is unlikely.
God Save the Queen and God Save America.
The option remains: Scottish citizens or British subjects.