Last week was a bit of a week wasn’t it? Firstly we get a new prime minister in the form of one Liz Truss, selected by the membership of the Tory party, with the electorate at large not having any say in the matter. Then the Queen passes away and we have a new monarch, King Charles III, imposed upon the populace, with us plebs having absolutely no say in the matter. Yet we keep being told we live in a ‘democracy’.
It’s early days but it’s becoming clear that we have come to the end of one era and are moving into another. What this piece will attempt to do is briefly look at what could well happen as we move into that new era and what that means for those of us who want radical change where power comes right back down to us at the grassroots. There are a fair few other pieces attempting to look at where we are at the moment – this is one of them: The Queen and Her Legacy: 21st Century Britain Has Never Looked So Medieval – Jonathan Cook | Mint Press | 9.9.22.
Regardless of where people stand on the issue of the monarchy, we are at a historic point in time. The passing and the succession are coming at a time of crisis. They’re also coming at a point where even the illusion of the post war consensus has finally disappeared. Events are moving swiftly, particularly behind the scenes. We’re entering a turbulent period. Needless to say that anything that gets written at this point is only going to be a snapshot in time.
What’s the mood?
This piece is being written in the early days of the period of official mourning. Television and radio schedules were cleared and re-formatted to ‘reflect the mood of the nation.’ We hardly ever watch the telly so to be honest, we can’t really comment on the content of what’s being broadcast. We have been told that in the interests of research, we perhaps should ‘take one for the team’ and watch the telly in the interests of research. Bollocks to that, life is too short! As for the radio, it was downbeat, sombre music interspersed with reminiscing about the reign of the Queen, although thankfully at the time of writing, there’s some easing back to normal.
Strikes by rail and postal workers that were scheduled to take place were abruptly pulled during the evening of Thursday 8.9, shortly after the announcement of the Queen’s passing. The proposed gathering by Extinction ‘Rebellion’ activists in London’s Hyde Park that was due to run from 10-13.9 has been postponed. This is the statement they issued explaining why.
Not all protest has stopped. On the night of Monday 5.9, a young man, Chris Kaba was shot dead by the Metropolitan Police, even though he was unarmed. On Saturday 10.9, Chris Kaba’s family and supporters marched to New Scotland Yard to demand answers from the cops as to why he was killed. This is a report of the protest: ‘The fight continues’: Protesters march to Scotland Yard for Chris Kaba – openDemocracy 10.9.22. Shame the Socialist Workers Party (and a few others) pulled their usual trick of trying to swamp and take over the family’s protest but there you go…
On Saturday 10.9, pretty much the entire football programme from the Premier League right down to the grassroots was pulled on the orders of the Football Association. A fair few people think this was to avoid any ‘insensitive’ chanting from those supporters who haven’t bought into narrative that the monarchy has the support of everyone in the country. Celtic are an obvious club whose supporters definitely don’t buy into the narrative and rumour has it that Liverpool are another. Lower down the leagues in the neglected corners of the country, there may well be more. On the other hand, on Saturday 10.9, rugby and other sports pretty much carried on as normal, albeit with any games scheduled for Friday 9.9 being put back twenty four hours: Bristol Bears v Bath Rugby rescheduled for Saturday at 17:30. We’re not begrudging the fans of rugby or any of the other sports that went ahead their enjoyment but you have to admit that the wholesale cancellation of football smacks of classism and raises questions about what agenda informed the decision.
The authorities have tried to put on hold what passes for normal life in the aftermath of the Covid lockdowns and restrictions that have, on and off, been a part of our existence for the last two and a half years. The gut feeling among a lot of people who questioned and resisted the lockdowns and other restrictions is that after the period of official mourning is over, things will not be getting back to normal. That’s down to the kind of monarch we’ve now been lumbered with and the agenda he appears to want to pursue.
As already mentioned, it’s early days and at the moment, things feel pretty weird. A fair few people look to be trying to carry on as normal, albeit constrained by closures and cancellation of events. Others have gone into full mourning mode. Some people are walking round on eggshells, keeping their opinions to themselves in a bid to not offend others or start a flaming row. Others on both sides of the pro/anti-monarchy debate have gone into full attack mode with flaming rows ensuing. Well, that’s how it seems to be when you’re online, however in real life, things are a little bit more nuanced…
On Saturday 10.9, a number of heritage events scheduled for Keynsham, the town we live in, were cancelled. However, the monthly farmers market went ahead as normal. We went along in the morning and it was busy as was the High Street. As well as the shops, the pubs and cafes were open as normal. After a walk in the afternoon, we stopped off at the pub by the Avon for a cider to refresh ourselves. It wasn’t quite as busy as normal but that may well have been down to the rugby match between Bristol Bears and Bath Rugby that diverted the attention of a fair few people. Our gut feeling is that a lot of people want to carry on as normal, with any grieving and marking of a historical moment being saved for the day of the funeral on Monday 19.9
Regular readers of this blog will be aware that I did attend a few of the anti-lockdown protests during 2021. At the time I made the observation that a wide range of people from across and beyond the political spectrum attended those protests and that at best, they were an uneasy coalition of convenience. I made it pretty clear that in no way could they be described as a movement in any meaningful sense of the word despite the disingenuous attempts of some so called comrades to do just that. I did indicate that at some point, this uneasy coalition of convenience would start to unravel. Well, the passing of the Queen and the succession of Charles to the throne has done just that! There are those who totally get it: Charles’ empire: the royal reset riddle 15.4.22 (updated 9.9.22). Then on the other hand, there are the monarchists who can’t seem to join the dots and see the role of King Charles III in pushing the great reset. Suffice to say that on Twitter, there has been a massive falling out between these factions! One that in all honesty was overdue, if only to clear the decks and clarify who can and cannot be trusted.
So, where are we headed?
Anarchist and anti-monarchist though we are, we have to acknowledge the reality that for many people, Queen Elizabeth II was a constant in their lives. She somehow kept the royal show on the road, despite numerous attempts at self sabotage of the institution by her offspring and their offspring as well. However, for those taken in by the image she portrayed, it should be noted that she and her advisors amongst others were complicit in the attempt to cover up the numerous sins and crimes of the British Empire.
All of that has now gone and we’re entering unknown territory. As mentioned earlier, we’re in a weird situation. Those who regarded Queen Elizabeth II as a constant in their lives are feeling pretty disorientated at the moment. A fair few of them want Charles to continue to maintain the institution of the monarchy. However, some of those who saw the late Queen as a constant are now asking questions about the future of the monarchy, suggesting that perhaps she should be the last monarch.
Then there us malcontents who can clearly see the potential King Charles III shows for shooting himself and the monarchy in the foot many times over until it’s crippled and topples over for good. From screwing up his marriage to Diana which a section of the population will never forgive him for through having Jimmy Savile, a serial sex offender, as a friend and onto being a renowned meddler, a Malthusian de-populator and an enthusiastic proponent of the great reset, the King has already sown the seeds of his own destruction. Our task is to make sure those seeds are well watered, germinate and then thrive.
It’s been said that the death of the Queen has marked the final end of the era of post war consensus politics. Looking back at the decades since the Second World War, we’re struggling to find any decade where there was anything like a consensus among the population. The 1950s might possibly have had a bit of an aura but from the 1960s onwards, that started to crumble. We’re old enough to remember coming of age in the 1970s and trust us, by that point, any vestige of consensus was vanishing pretty damn fast. All that can be said is that now the Queen has gone, what was largely a myth of post war consensus has finally gone with her and it’s all bets off from this point onwards.
Major shifts are taking place. From decades of neo-liberalism, through the financial crash of 2008, and onto the way the Covid lockdowns were leveraged to bring about the great reset, we’re being buffeted by increasingly disruptive and destructive changes to our lives. The King has taken the throne as energy bills are soaring, the cost of food is rising, and public transport and many of the utilities we rely upon are crumbling because the profiteers who run them have put in the minimal level of investment they can get away with. A growing number of people are going to suffer as a consequence of this. As we’ve written previously, we’re heading towards a period of instability: A winter of discontent? 29.8.22. The King will soon realise that his honeymoon period will be limited as the shite really starts to hit the fan. He may well try to ‘steady the ship’ but the amount of toxic baggage he carries with him will turn out to be his undoing and ultimately, that of the monarchy.
A very brief conclusion
Change is coming. Change has to come because we can’t carry on as we are. However, the process will be messy, contradictory, divisive and quite possibly bloody. The illusion of stability that Queen Elizabeth II somehow managed to convey during her reign will be seen as just that – an illusion. One that will disappear as the harsh reality of a society in the first stages of collapse impacts upon everyone’s lives. When people’s illusions get shattered, there’s no way of telling how they’re going to react. A lot of that reaction will be visceral and pretty irrational. Suffice to say, the coming period will be very challenging and carries a lot of risk for us. We’re coming into a period where if we get it right, there’s everything to gain but if we don’t, there’s everything to lose.