Strength Through Unity – Unity Through Faith
Some of the more wildly optimistic delusions of British nationalists are that what we are witnessing is a ‘new nation being forged’ and that the experience of dazed supplicants shuffling through Westminster Hall will somehow wipe-away the social, constitutional and ecological crisis that faces us all.
This delusion is perhaps understandable. The actual reasons for continuity of a visibly broken state are thin on the ground, and the idea that they might seize on an outbreak of royal populism as a Get Out of Jail for a complete void of political imagination or ideas or vision is obvious.
But there is a problem in that the comical nature of the whole Coffin TV phenomenon, the soap opera royals, the Lions and the Unicorns, funny hats and medals and the sheer banality of it all … masks a far weirder, far darker truth. It may be that after Monday the crazy subsides, the bootlicker go home and the Truss government trundles into office. Maybe the new King will bumble along into eccentric constitutional wallpaper.
But this is such a strange time unleashing such weird energy there is an alternative that what we are seeing is a rise of a new Anglo-British Christian Nationalism: a glorification of the military; a complete whitewashing of Britain’s colonial past and an acceptance of the behaviour of the Met and other forces as well as the whole panoply of surveillance and authoritarian rules that have been ushered in. This coupled with the new Tory government, that no-one elected and the deification of a family, that no-one elected, makes democracy in Britain look to be in a very weak place. The repression of a democratic vote in Scotland, which has come to be a sort of mark of glory across all the unionist parties, the threats against workers organising for wages and the casual undermining of parliament that became commonplace under Johnson means that democratic values seem to have very little currency in Britain in 2022.
Of course our surge to the right doesn’t look like some others, manifesting itself in the glorification of the royalty, the cult of personality, the abandonment of reason and the rise and mainstreaming of authoritarianism.
None of this would have been possible without the pliant and wholly deferential 24 news media and their tabloid colleagues. None are so expert (and well rewarded) than Andrew Neil, who writes in the Daily Mail: “The death of the Queen has been a timely opportunity to take stock of our nation, to re-examine what kind of place we’ve become. Contrary to the miserabilist musings of much of the establishment commentariat and its social media echo chambers, whose default position is always to run Britain down, the condition of the country is actually rather good.”
‘Establishment commentariat’ is doing a lot of heavy-lifting here, especially from one who personifies the description.
But Neil’s jaunty upbeat analysis comes on the same day as the FT’s John Burn-Murdoch explains: “Income inequality in US & UK is so wide that while the richest are very well off, the poorest have a worse standard of living than the poorest in countries like Slovenia ft.com/content/ef2654 Essentially, US & UK are poor societies with some very rich people.”
Burn-Murdoch’s analysis shows that now “the poorest Irish have a standard of living almost 63% higher than the poorest in the UK.”
Take. Back. Control.
But if Britain’s spiralling economic and broken social conditions are not new, just more chronic, the introduction of a new quasi-spiritual element is. The ritualistic and completely overblown ceremonies of the lying-in state merge populism with the military and the expression of religious fervour sanctioned and curated by the state media and the religious establishment.
Between now and the coronation we shall see how this unfolds. But the desperation of the media class is palpable. Andrew Neil again:
“By dying in Balmoral, the Queen reminded Scots they are not just some remote outpost of the Union but an integral part. It was, unwittingly or not, her last (and lasting) gift to the Union. Nor are we the divisive, racist, nasty hellhole so many agitators and academics would have us believe, as one look at the world’s longest queue wending its way through London to pay its respects to the Queen lying in state in Westminster Hall confirms.”
The idea of whitewashing the real problems of racism in Britain because of *checks notes* a Queue is laughable. Neil might not think so but the relatives of Chris Kaba or the 136 black people killed in police custody or after contact with the police since 1990 will.
The extent of the social crisis masked by pageantry and monarchism is unprecedented and will be revealed when this hysteria is finally over.