Feeling sick with Jubilee fever

May 30, 2012 12:29 pm

The next few weeks are going to be hard for me. Yes, I have University exams, and they’re bad enough, and no, I don’t cope well with hot weather, but there’s something much worse bothering me. Can you guess what it is?

Jubilee fever.

As a Welsh nationalist and a republican, my blood is quietly boiling below the surface at the moment. I say ‘quietly’, but in actual fact, I’m frothing at the mouth. Time and again, I have had to justify my views on the monarchy to people who simply can’t understand why I don’t want to celebrate Mrs Windsor’s wonderful 60 years as queen of the United Kingdom.

‘What about all the wonderful work she’s done for our country?’ they ask. My poor mind does somersaults when faced with such a ridiculous question. What work would that be? The endless shaking of hands, holding lunches for Swazi and Bahraini tyrants, and opening of buildings? Yes, such hard work. Never mind the commendable work that teachers and nurses, factory workers and bus drivers, owners of small businesses and community activists do all across Wales and throughout the UK. No, never mind them. Poor Elizabeth works hard.

Times are tough, friends. So much so that the national newspaper of Wales recently had the nerve to suggest that we simply cannot afford to have a fully bilingual national legislature here in Wales, although Welsh is an official language of Wales, and indeed an official language of the National Assembly. We simply can’t afford such luxuries, they said. Of course we can, however, spend £15 billion on the Olympics (the benefit of which Wales will see, I add, will be minimal) and over £1 billion on Jubilee celebrations.

‘Ah ha,’ royalists are quick to shout, ‘we’d be spending this money on an elected Head of State even if we did get rid of the monarchy!’ I don’t deny that for one minute. Surely, though, in a democracy, if we’re spending quite that much money on a Head of State, the person occupying that office should be accountable to the people? What happens if Mrs Windsor falls out of public favour? What can we do about it? Diddly squat. We are but subjects.

Then, of course, there’s the argument that there’s so much history attached to the monarchy – we would be massacring our heritage if we got rid. It’s not my history, not by a long shot. My history is that of The Lord Rhys and his court at Dinefwr, and of Llywelyn ap Gruffydd and the incredible skill and power he showed in managing to unify the Welsh kingdoms in the thirteenth century, and of Owain Glyndŵr who raised an army against the English invaders and held the first ever Welsh parliament (or Assembly) at Machynlleth in 1404.

I don’t feel that my history is that of the son of a Welshman, Henry VIII, deciding, through his own ego, to incorporate Wales into England. Nor do I feel that my history is that of the eldest sons of English monarchs since Edward II back in 1301 being given the title of Prince of Wales.

As for the current prince, Charles is but a mouse when placed next to Rhys, Llywelyn, and Owain. Charles has no place meddling in politics, lobbying and putting pressure on the government, simply because of his own views. As a republican, however, it was recently argued that I should rather look forward to Charles becoming king, and I can see why.

I know what you’re thinking: ‘what a party-pooper.’ Not so. I’m a student, remember, so I know at least as well as the rest of you how to have a good time. I just can’t bring myself to rejoice in being reigned over by a multi-billionaire simply because of her bloodline, and archaic English (or arguably, German) tradition. I cannot for the life of me understand why any self-respecting citizen of any country would want to allow the office of Head of State to pass from generation to generation within the same bizarre, inbred family without even having a say in the matter.

I mean no harm to Elizabeth Windsor, or her family. I’m sure they’re quite lovely people – they seem it. I have no doubt that she is gracious, elegant, professional, and has stamina by the bucket-load. (Mind you, I’ve never met her, so I wouldn’t know.) What gets me about her, what really irritates me, is that she is at the top of a hierarchical, unelected, undemocratic hotchpotch of inherited privilege, while the rest of us subjects flounder below her, ready to drop to our knees at the very sight of her perfectly-pressed white gloves, two-inch heels, or even the tip of one of her impressive, if slightly ostentatious, hats.

I think I’ve said my piece for now, and I’d rather stop before I get going on her husband. I don’t think my blood pressure can handle it.

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