A Network of Friends #72

Whoah! I can’t believe how long it has been since I last wrote a column for Chris but a lot has happened in-between time with me primarily moving from my hometown of Colchester in the east of England to the northern city of Leeds. From going to London for gigs every now and again to at times, gigs happening 2-3 times a week in Leeds. Anyway, this year in June marked the Queen’s Jubilee in the UK. A lot of fuss was whipped up by the media to promote and gain the publics attention and many old connections were made between the Queens Silver Jubilee in 1977 and the Sex Pistols and all that to now and the Queens Golden Jubilee. Sportingly, the Queen allowed the general public (i.e. - us!!) to have an extra days holiday to enable us to celebrate with her the fact that one person can rule over us for so long! This also allowed my girlfriend’s employers the excuse to not pay her for that day too. I’m sure you can afford to lose thirty pounds a day Liz but not us!! Thanks a lot! A massive gig was held within the grounds of Buckingham Palace as aging and Neolithic rock stars like Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton and even America’s new favourite son, Ozzie Osborne turned up and strutted their stuff whilst the new breed of establishment rock stars played too. The Sex Pistols supposedly reformed and did a gig and John Lydon (once Rotten - now definitely rotten - he works as a property estate developer!!!) said that the Queen wasn’t so bad after all. Oh dear. How times change but the rule of the monarchy seemingly does not. The Queen has seen a great many changes during her lifetime from when she was growing up as a royal princess becoming of course, in 1952, Queen of England and the Commonwealth. She has seen the comings and goings of different prime ministers from Harold Macmillan, to Margaret Thatcher (whose new statue was recently beheaded by a vandal who wanted to make a point against Thatcher’s divisive and capitalistic role during her time in power - heh heh) to Tony Blair (George Bush’s puppet on a string). And life shall go on, as it has done before. And yet, how relevant is the Queen and the monarchy to our modern day life within this society. Some argue that it the very fact that the royals have such a history that gives the country here a stability whilst others argue that the Queen’s family represent good family values for us all to live up to. Probably why we’re in such a mess now then? Also, it is worth reading up on your history should you ever wish to gain more knowledge about this great, green and pleasant land of ours especially when you read about how much land is indeed ‘private property’, or land that is owned by the Ministry of Defense, the Church of England and the Royals themselves. A lot of land has been passed down through generation to generation since the time of William of Orange in the eleventh century when he invaded England from France and conquered, putting one in the eye for dodgy Anglo-Saxon King Harold in 1066 and subsequently dished out portions of it to those who helped him to victory. Like you do. It is amazing to see how many of the traditions that still exist today form much of the structure around us. From monarchs past such as King Edward I in the 12th century when he wiped out the Welsh ‘King’ and built a ring of castles around Wales to remind the people who was in control to the killing of the Scots William Wallace and Robert Bruce, whose body was hung, drawn and quartered (which basically means his body pulled apart in for different directions and chopped into quarters) and distributed to the far flung corners of this land as a warning to those who should deem to think about messing with the King. The combination of these events brought about much of how England, Scotland and Wales have been governed ever since despite in recent times Scotland and Wales gaining their own national assemblies.
     In recent years there has been a lot of media and public debate over the role of the royal family here in Britain and whether the monarchy as a whole is wanted by the majority of the populace. It’s an ongoing argument and unless we have another civil war one day they will probably be around in some capacity or another. The link between the monarchy, Parliament and the Church are all closely intertwined in the power structures of this country and occasionally the power of the State is exposed as it was when the Queen’s mother, appropriately entitled, The Queen Mother, died this year just before the Queen’s Jubilee ‘celebrations’ began. At Earth First! Gatherings, one of the running jokes was that the Queen Mother had died - every year! This was primarily because at such festivals with so little news filtering in and the ability for rumours to spread, someone was always liable to believe it and spread the news only to be guffawed at by others who had heard the joke before or simply did not believe it. However this year, the Queen Mother really did die. A big outpouring of supposedly public grief did occur, again, arguably whipped up by the media. Many people really were not that bothered. It was mostly tourists and people who happened to be there in London at the time that queued for hours to see the lying in of State and the chance to see the pomp and pageantry in full flow. She had had a good innings (101) and although she was supposedly everyone’s favourite old grandmother, she also held some very dodgy political views and was a person with deep Christian values. What struck me most about the Queen Mothers funeral was the presence the State made at her funeral. It kind of reminded me that there are always these people lurking in the background. They are people / organizations that you very rarely see, very rarely come into contact with or hear reported about in any particular shape or form, yet upon State occasions, you see all too vividly the role that these people do actually play in our lives, even though for the most part, we do not consider it all. The state is a powerful structure with the establishment and the class structure based behind it to keep us all in line. Only by being aware and learning from your history can you begin to be aware and armed to fight for a better day.
Take care and thanks for reading. You can write to me care of Steve, Attitude Problem Zine, PO Box 326, Leeds, LS7 3YR, UK or e-mail theveganwarrior@yahoo.com