With another addition to the biggest scoungers in the land recently, the media was expectedly fawning. There were a couple of pieces of dissent in the Mirror and the Guardian, as well as the gazillions of articles saying how this mania must stop accompanied by the obligatory ”Congratulations Ma’am and bless ‘is little cotton socks”, but regardless what have the Royals ever actually done and why do we give them so much money?
Being of the lefty persuasion, most of the people I interact with fall towards that end of the spectrum, unsurprisingly the majority weren’t too enamored. If anything, the announcement of a royal boy seemed to be a platform to highlight the kyriarchical advantages he had, with a number of people disappointed that it that the line to the throne would continue to be male dominated, tempered with some hope that he wouldn’t have some kyriarchial advantages that would normatively be assumed. The UK’s first out trans or gay heir to the throne would certainly be an event. Personally I was hoping he was Black, but hey, there you go – life is full of disappointments.
And although a few points were made about the number of babies born on the same day who would live and die in poverty, there was little exploration about why on earth we actually give this family all this money. I mean seriously why, what do they actually do?
What I’m talking about isn’t their existence as a symbol or their symbolic role, which some people seem to believe is the main reason that tourists ever visit the UK. I mean first off, its not like tourists get some automatic invite to Buckingham Palace the minute they book their plane tickets. An ardent royalist might possibly be able to get hold of Lizzie’s schedule and manage to turn up in the same town as her at a public event at some point and catch a glimpse of a sour faced elderly lady. Secondly the UK has a whole lot of reasons to visit it which are a whole lot more interesting than seeing a sour-faced elderly lady; the Edinburgh festival is coming up and Morningside is just a short bus journey away where you can visually gorge on sour faced elderly ladies till you’re heart’s content. And finally, if someone is coming to the UK to visit Lizzie, they are exactly the kind of sycophantic idiot that I would never want anywhere near the country, can we get billboards to drive around demanding that they go home?.
They do, of course have power – real power, crown power. The power to meddle in a former colony’s affairs (take note Salmond, take note), but these are powers invested in the Head of State, a role which Lizzie holds, rather than something that Lizzie is, so there could still be all the power to meddle in the colonies that thought that they were independent (more fool them), without Lizzie actually being the one doing it. I’m sure there would be no shortage of takers. And she does read out what the government is planning to implement for the coming year, and certainly reading that with a straight face is a skill no doubt, but I do question whether a little bit of emotion going into the Queen’s Speech might improve it considerably. The delivery would be far better done by the Artist Taxi-Driver for example, and I’m sure far more memorable.
I’m talking about what do they actually do. Of course, they do things. Everybody does things, but what is it. For Lizzie, it seems to be turning up at doors that wont open until a ribbon is cut, a few racetracks, nice dinners, theatre performances; going off on nice holidays and being wined and dined.She does also visit people in hospitals uninvited, do a video blog once a year, and give nice badges when people think they should get one. (Its not hard to see where Saville got his inspiration from, he just needed to look at his mate’s mum and copy her lead). But in terms of what she actually does I’m stumped.
Her husband also enjoys the lifestyle which comes with this level of income, but as far as I’m aware all he ever does is get ill and insult anyone non-white that he inadvertently comes into contact with. Now, fair enough, Lizzie’s getting on a bit, and I can’t claim to be the most devoted Royal watcher so perhaps in her younger days she did actually do something that has just passed me by. Its perfectly possible that she did indeed once clean out a stable for the ponies of impoverished orphans, or some such, but for a lifetime of guaranteed millions it seems like we are getting pretty poor value for money here.
And even if you look at the younger (I use that term loosely) Royals, you are struggling to find an achievement between them, hell they didn’t even write their own exam papers. Charlie runs a hopelessly bloated company that produces food for posh people, and occasionally paints a few pictures. Andy swans around the world ineffectively trying to blackmail people into giving him money. Eddie ran a crappy film company which made a loss every year of its existence until it ended up bankrupt, now he just has to cut more ribbons.
The female Royals do fair slightly better, but its more good try, but no cheese. In 1974, Princess Anne nearly got us £3 million for the NHS, only it unfortunately it didn’t work. The man who had attempted to obtain this money by kidnapping her in exchange for well funded health services got hit on the head by a passer by, but not before he had injured several others. The passerby got a “Well done” badge from the Queen, the would-be kidnapper got sectioned and the poor old NHS had an extra few patients to deal with, whereas if mental health services had just been properly funded then a whole load of rigmarole could have been neatly avoided.
Fergie definitely does do things. She’s worn lots of clothes, apparently badly and sucked a few toes. She’s tried to help her former husband embezzle money. She has lots of meetings with the bank manager…loads of them…three million just doesnt go as far as it used to you know. She’s written a few books about being a duchess, not eating food and helicopters and been on telly a few times, including going on a show telling poor people how to eat properly and live on a budget. Interestingly she’s also got an international arrest warrant out for for undercover filming in a Turkish orphanage, so maybe she has done something useful after all, but it was only getting unceremoniously kicked out of the Royal Family, and becoming persona non-grata to them after being somewhat indiscrete about attempting to embezzle money on Andy’s behalf that seemed to give her the kick up the arse that made her do anything
And now we come to The People’s Princess. She also wore clothes, apparently well, she once famously shook someone’s hand in the face of the prejudice of the time….and after that I’m struggling. Of course she did actually do useful things before her marriage, teaching nursery school children, but it would seem that her greatest achievement was exposing the domestic abuse that she was subject to while a member of the family – particularly, but not exclusively from her husband. Such an anti-monarchist stance coming from within is a dangerous one to take. Probably just as well that she met her death in a Parisian tunnel at the hands of a non-drinking chauffeur who just happened to get blotto that night, before her husband could bump her off, Benazir Bhutto style. Some have of course unkindly suggested that this is actually what happened, but this hiding in plain sight would be antithetical to everything that the Royal Family stands for, I’m sure. Jimmy Saville would doubtless have advised his mate Charlie about the dangers of doing anything illegal or immoral while in such a prominent public position.
Some might consider it inappropriate to include Harry in this list given his dubious parentage and resemblance to his mother’s lover, however you can definitely see the family resemblance. Harry, unusually for a male royal, does also wear clothes – like Nazi uniforms, proving his Royal lineage. He’s also gone into the army, and apparently killed lots of people, while calling a fellow soldier “his little Paki friend” (watch your back, mate, watch your back!). Yup – definite family resemblance there, but not much actual useful stuff.
Willie, like Harry, also joined the military. Now to be fair to dear old William, he has actually done something useful in his life, rescuing people as part of a Search and Rescue team, which is a distinct contrast to his brother who takes more pleasure in killing people, but apart from that…mmm…I think he made a brick or two somewhere in Africa if I recall correctly, but nope, I’m struggling. His wife, Kate – like her late mother-in-law – also wears clothes, although not so prominently. She also bought clothes for a wee while as well, so its not fair to say that she’d done nothing, but wearing and buying clothes is managed perfectly well by a number of other young women without recourse to that level of resources. George, their son, hasn’t done much yet, and I’m willing to give him a break in view of his young age, but I suspect that he will turn out just as useless as the rest of them.
And for all this we pay over £200 million a year. They are the biggest bunch of scroungers in the country, not content with the ridiculous amount that is given to them on a plate, they continually demand more and more and the amount we give them goes up and up and up. Its not like they are short of a bob or two, struggling to buy food at the end of the month, or find the money to put in the gas meter. We indulge them, pretend that they are important, worthwhile, beneficial even, while they manage to live lives of spectacular uselessness. They are the model for the rest of the super-rich who have worked out that poor people can be bled dry so long as you give them the spectacle, and produce a natty brand image around it. Enough already, no more. That 53p a day that every man woman and child in the UK pays to keep this bunch in luxurious indulgence is far better spent.