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.

In all of this we are not alone if we look across Europe at the rise of the far right in Sweden, Italy and France.

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 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.




Comments (30)

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  1. Maclean says:

    We are all guilty of wanting nothing to change when your it that happy place , but as life happiness I’d fleeting and change is inevitable. The colonists masquerading as unionists have been allowed to commit acts of horrendous abuse by hiding the truth . Colonialism want to fool people into thinking that rejections colonialism is reject the Monarchy,nothing can or could be farther from the truth . It’s their way of using Fear , Intimidation , oppression and fake propaganda to control the public and bring the people to their knees . That’s why they like the “ division through agreement and disagreement “ makes to easy to fool and have the lies feel to many like the truth. Westminster’s preached the “ better together “ but actively does the opposite to hide the corruption,embezzlement and fraud by them and their city friends. Scotland like all the countries should and must be independent and if they choose to have an economic Union that’s OK . Please remember it’s “ Scotland the Brave “ and not Scotland ,Westminster’s SLAVE.

  2. SleepingDog says:

    There is indeed a similarity between the age-old Problem of Evil as applied to God, and to the Queen. Roughly translated from the universal to the imperial, the argument goes something like:

    Premise 1. If the Queen is powerful enough to prevent her Empire doing evil, and benevolent, and has top-level knowledge of what goes in her Empire, then she will prevent evil being done by the Empire.
    Premise 2. There is evil done by the Empire (throughout the Queen’s reign).
    Conclusion 1. Therefore, the Queen cannot be powerful enough and be benevolent and have top-level knowledge.

    This may be why royalists have recently been pushing ‘the Queen is a puppet’ in order to keep the ‘benevolent’ and accept the ‘top-level knowledge’. Since the Queen appears to have had all-areas access, top-level security clearance and stood at the head of reporting chains of command that ran right through the British political, military, Church etc institutions, and was briefed weekly by Prime Ministers, and given state secrets in red boxes, if you wanted to deny she knew of imperials evils you would have to present a case that somehow she was being kept in the dark and deluded by a vast British establishment conspiracy against her.

    It will be slightly more complicated in practice (for example, the Queen may just have been incompetent), but it certainly seems difficult to both venerate the Queen by holding a positive view of her benevolence, and also hold that she was any constitutional use in holding the malevolent aspects of her government and state in check.

  3. Mike Fenwick says:

    Royalty -v- Reality.

    Queues form.

    Outside hospitals, outside foodbanks, lengtheninig …

    A clock ticks.

  4. Squigglypen says:

    Excellent as ever.
    I haven’t watched the comedy show re the coffin ( empty or otherwise) zooming down to Edinburgh. However a friend remarked that this can only be good for Scotland’s Tourist Board.. “How come”, I said ?
    “Well the whole world will be able to see our beautiful Scotland as Liz wends her way south…we could even have a 4 colour poster with the coffin sailing along and underneath the words ..See Scotland and die! Wot yoo fink ?”he said.
    I did laugh.
    Thought that might cheer you all up….
    For Scotland!

  5. Meg Macleod says:

    I respect the fact that her family is grieving.
    I despair at the imbalanced media coverage
    Your article says it in a nutshell.
    Perhaps this a last stand of the elite before the world opens its eyes…surely.

  6. Alex McCulloch says:

    A great summary of how things are… to find a way to inform, invole and inspire people to choose a different future.

  7. alice says:

    Unfortunately, I can’t help but think the whole show is to let the peasants know not to bother thinking about freedom and life choices…..the establishment is in full control and can move at a very fast pace in shutting down any peasant nonsense.

    Then again this is has been part of the message since 1745… certainly hasn’t always been listened to thankfully by many progressives and hopefully we will do our part in moving forward in denying oppression.

  8. Fay K says:

    This orgy of imperialism must be having a horrendous impact of the mental health of many people myself included. I have never felt so miserable about such arrogance for a long time and those like that awful Andrew Neil and others is shameful.

  9. James Mills says:

    ”… the world’s longest queue winding its way … ” This is probably a test case to numb the great unwashed to what lies ahead for them in Truss’s UK .
    The world’s longest queues for … NHS treatment , GP’s surgeries , Universal Credit claims , Food Banks , Warm Banks ….

  10. 220918 says:

    ‘Some of the more wildly optimistic delusions of British nationalists are that what we are witnessing is a ‘new nation being forged’…’

    Yes, it’s indeed curious that we’re reading the Queen’s death as a kind of ‘rupture’, a punctuation mark in the evolving narrative of the imagined community of the UK. The themes of continuity and change are prominent in those readings, and we seem to be be representing the whole event to ourselves as (among other things) an opportunity to pause for reflection on those themes, on what has changed over the past 70 years of Elizabeth’s monarchy and what has remained the same, on what might change with Charles’s succession and what will likely remain the same. Shakespeare, had he been still alive, might have treated the transition historically as a moment of cosmic disturbance, in which the order of nature is unsettled and vulnerable to the eruption of tragic or comic chaos.

    I suppose that’s why we’re performing the ritualised dramas or republicanism and royalism with such gusto, as ways of placating the transition and ensuring a safe negotiation of the rupture to a new normality. It’s part of a communal grieving process, in the strict scientific sense of the term, as a bridge over which a transition may be crossed.

    1. SleepingDog says:

      @Lord Parakeet the Cacophonist, when Shakespeare was alive, he had his character Trinculo say:
      “Were I in England now,
      as once I was, and had but this fish painted,
      not a holiday fool there but would give a piece
      of silver: there would this monster make a
      man; any strange beast there makes a man:
      when they will not give a doit to relieve a lame
      beggar, they will lay out ten to see a dead
      The Tempest, Act 2 scene 2.

      1. 220918 says:

        In the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, England experienced a period of uncertainty regarding the future of its sovereignty. Elizabeth I hadn’t named an heir to the throne and the possibility that James Stuart, king of Scots, would succeed was realised in 1603. This era also saw a marked change in contemporary political theory, as the writings of figures such as Niccolò Machiavelli and James VI and I himself began to displace mediaeval theoretical models. It was this socio-historical context that gave us Shakespeare plays.

        Shakespeare’s theory of kingship has been seminal in shaping our own contemporary institution. The dominant paradigm of virtuous rule has, since Shakespeare’s time, been that of the king’s two bodies: the mystical and the natural. The natural body refers to the corporeality of the king, who is in that mode a physical man like any other, while the mystical body refers to his spiritual aspect as the head and conscience of the state. Thus, the person of the king serves to embody the ideal oneness of private and public life, of self-interest and selfless duty, that found its highest expression in the moral and political philosophy of Kant.

        Shakespeare’s theory of kingship resonates with the one presented by James in The True Lawe of Free Monarchies, which he published in 1598, one, in which he outlines the ‘true groundes of the mutuall duetie and alleagance betwixt a free and absolute Monarche, and his people’. In his treatise, James departs from the ‘liege and vassals’ model of kingship in feudalism and in contrast compares the relationship between a king and his subjects to that of a father and son instead.

        Shakespeare’s era also say a marked change in contemporary cosmology. The mediaeval framing of the cosmos as one that’s informed by a transcendent supernatural order was gradually being displaced by its modern framing as a cosmos framed by an immanent natural order. Hence the need for careful rituals to successfully bridge the transition of succession; illegitimate successions, such as those depicted in many of Shakespeare’s plays, result in a more global disruption to the natural order of the cosmos of those plays.

        Hence the current cultural phenomenon of our various observances to mark Elizabeth’s death and Charles’s accession; our professions and protests alike are ritualised responses whose function is to preserve the natural order of the cosmos in which, in our current human condition, we’ve made our home.

        1. SleepingDog says:

          @Lord Parakeet the Cacophonist, Shakespeare forensically destroyed the basis of what you patriarchally (go and decolonise yer mind, please) call ‘kingship’ (plus as I’ve recently mentioned, wrote an epic poem celebrating the ousting of kings). One of Shakespeare’s sources was Machiavelli, a republican who wrote a handbook for Princes because that’s what writers did when threatened by torture, imprisonment and death for expressing republican sentiments under monarchies.

          None of Shakespeare’s history plays adopt the ‘providential’ historiography previously favoured by Elizabeth I, for which she introduced draconian censorship (as I also mentioned before), it is all realpolitik. God does not step in to save anointed monarchs. Even in tragedy King Lear, the theme is improvidence (“O, I have ta’en too little care of this!”).

          Topically, The Tempest is a play about creating, manipulating, sustaining and making use of grief by a powerful ruler using the magical equivalent of advanced technology to create illusions and force a narrative to self-benefit, while groups of people despondently trudge around in search of a far-off goal, or are put to sleep by arts.

          1. 220918 says:

            ‘None of Shakespeare’s history plays adopt the ‘providential’ historiography previously favoured…’

            That precisely what I said, SD. As in James’s True Lawe of Free Monarchies (and In Machiavelli’s De Principatibus), the ‘true groundes of the mutuall duetie and alleagance betwixt a free and absolute Monarche, and his people’ lies for Shakespeare not in providence but in covenant, after the model of the covenant that was thought to exist between fathers and sons.

            (And, incidentally, like ‘man’, ‘king’ carries no necessary connotation of patriarchy, only an acquired one. It derives from a contraction of the Old English ‘cyning’, which signified nothing more that the head of a ‘cynn’ or family, who could be either male or female. Kings only acquire the connotation of patriarchy in patriarchal societies, where the norm is for fathers rather than mothers to be ‘kings’. Elizabeth I, Victoria, and Elizabeth each had her own struggle against the presumption of patriarchy. Even King Billy was only ‘King’ Billy in virtue of his wife, Mary’s, kingship.)

  11. Ottomanboi says:

    Watching the livestream of the lying in state and the body language of the devotees, nay worshipers, before the «shrine» we witness the powerful BritState cult in operation, the British equivalent of the Meiji era emperor worshipping Shinto. The «shrine» of the apotheosis of the mystic state.
    The symbolism is exploited to the last slow march, tear and lip tremble. Because folks, there ain’t nothing else in Ukania’s tool kit. The lights are flickering, bring out the candles.
    Autumn, winter, spring…bring on the discontent.
    Vivat Rex!

    1. 220918 says:

      Why on earth are you watching the livestream of the Queen’s lying in state when there’s paint you could watch drying?

  12. Mr E says:

    Scotland (and the UK) needs to have a civil debate about monarchy vs. republicanism. Without that, an independent Scottish state can’t even have an agreed constitution.

    There isn’t a debate, and I can’t see one happening. There are pilgrims, ranters, and people who couldn’t care less. Even the vague idea of a debate sounds way too difficult, and it’s not going to be ‘sorted out after we’re independent’.

    In conclusion, we would be a monarchy by default. By default, the cornerstone of a Scottish constitution woud be an act of royal succession. And by default, that wouldn’t change.

    1. 220918 says:

      The most disappointing thing is that so many independentistas don’t care what independence will look like as long as it’s independence. For many, independence is not a process in and through which democracy and, hence, social justice is to be realised, but is rather an end in itself or, at best, a discrete instrumental goal or milestone in some utopian project plan.

      1. Mr E says:

        There is a lot of ‘a Great Cause for wankers’ about Scottish independence. It has some hope, but the aforementioned seem to like to pretend that they don’t already live in an independent country, so they can’t be bothered. I doubt that would change.

      2. Alec Lomax says:

        We’d be shot of Truss and her fellow liars. What’s not to like ?

        1. 220919 says:

          So, no substantial change to the status quo, Alec? Just swapping one set of rulers for another, a set draped in the union jack for a set draped in the saltire?

  13. SleepingDog says:

    Apparently the Anarchist Book Fair 2022 went ahead in London yesterday (Saturday). The organisers asked:
    “Please come wearing black to show due respect to the passing of her majesty Queen Elizabeth the second ”

    1. 220918 says:

      As anarchists, we should be wearing black anyway, and waving black(-and-grey) union jacks in ironic reflection of the racist chant that ‘There aint no black in the union Jack.’.

      1. SleepingDog says:

        @Lord Parakeet the Cacophonist, when I pasted the quote, it had a ‘wink’ 😉 emoji at the end, which didn’t get published. That anarchists traditionally wear black is reflected in the V for Vendetta picture that starts this article too.
        Anyway, if you missed the Anarchist Book Festival this year, apparently the Decolonise Fest is still on in London, “A punk festival by and for punx of colour”. Why you conflate anarchism with racism is beyond my understanding, or interest.

        1. 220918 says:

          Funnily enough, my youngest son and I were going to crash an event that Decolonise Fest activists were curating at the Supersonic Festival in Birmingham last month, but I ended up in hospital with heart failure instead.

      2. SleepingDog says:

        @Lord Parakeet the Cacophonist, OK on second reading, I apologise for misreading and misrepresenting your comment, you were associating anarchism with anti-racism, which is fair enough. Though I was thrown by your suggestion that anarchists would be waving union flags of any colour, even ironically (though if ‘God Save the Queen’ can sometimes be ironic, that can too, I guess).

        1. 220918 says:

          Nae bother. You should ‘second read’ more often.

          ‘it is not for nothing that I have been a philologist… that is to say, a teacher of slow reading… [T]his art does not so easily get anything done, it teaches us to read well, that is to say, to read slowly, deeply, looking cautiously before and aft, with reservations, with doors left open, with delicate eyes and fingers…’
          Nietzsche: Daybreak – Thoughts on the Prejudices of Morality.

      3. Alec Lomax says:

        There’s no f in king either.

  14. Helen Burns says:

    How would Andrew Neil know? He lives in the South of France.

    1. SleepingDog says:

      @Helen Burns, I suspect Andrew Neil gets his insights from the grapevine.

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