Editorial – Coronation chickens
As of 2023 there are still 43 countries in the world with a monarch as head of state. Most of those pampered parasites seem content to stay away from the media and enjoy their exalted status in relative obscurity. Not so in Britain, where the royals are a glitzy public circus act, and this month are staging a huge event that will no doubt grab headlines around the world. Britain seems weirdly addicted to silly medieval ritual. There has never not been a monarchy here, apart from a strange 11-year hiatus following the beheading of one king in 1649. While politicians regularly rise and fall on their swords due to fluctuating polls or appalling performances, it seems that no scandal, internecine row or public disgrace ever dents the popularity of this archaic and anachronistic state institution. It’s not that there’s no anti-monarchy sentiment. YouGov surveys of 18-24 yr olds since 2020 have shown 53 to 67 percent opposition. But politicians are too chicken-shit to come out against the monarchy. The so-called democrats of the Labour Party are as sycophantically gung-ho for the royal freeloaders as the Tories, while the supposedly radical tax-the-rich brigade didn’t utter a squeak over Chas’s £650 million tax-free inheritance. And now the whole country is expected to lose its collective mind as the nobs and toffs convene at Westminster Abbey to plonk a metal party hat on the old plant-botherer.
Socialists will take the free bank holiday hand-out, but otherwise treat the fancy-dress pomp and pomposity of the king’s coronation with the contempt it deserves. We’re no advocates of a capitalist republic – they exploit their workers every bit as much – but having your nose rubbed in class privilege and entitlement is a bit more than we can stand. In republican countries like the US, disingenuous efforts are sometimes made to background, de-emphasise and disguise class divisions. In the UK they are flaunted in our faces. It would be nice to think that British workers, sick of the cost of living crisis, of war in Europe, of lying politicians, of global warming, would at least treat the royals with disgust, if not turf them out of their palaces as a prelude to general socialist revolution. But the truth is that many workers lap up the royals like a dog laps up its own sick.
The Republic website is asking people to use the coronation event to protest, on the grounds that ‘there is a positive, exciting, democratic alternative’ to paying court to yet another gilded idler. They’re right, there is, but it’s not the alternative they’ve got in mind. The real alternative to a king is not some other ruling class finger puppet, whether elected or not. It’s the abolition of inequality and class privilege through the democratic common ownership of the world’s resources, and the collective and responsible stewardship of the planet and everything on it and in it. Not our king? Not our capitalism!