Now that she’s not here

Queen Elizabeth II, the only UK monarch everybody under 75 years of age has ever known, was  matriarch of both a country and the most famous family in the world. She was Head of:

The UK state;

The Anglican Church;

The judiciary;

The armed forces;

The Commonwealth;

People  mourn the queen as an individual in The ( 5 mile long) Queue. . . .

The death of any human being is sad and should be respected, as should the bereaved  family at this time. 

 . . . but

There is a difference between being respectful of the family and getting caught in the trap of the pageantry and ceremony that supports an institution that’s an affront to democratic values.

The QIIE Legend

  1. She and the royal family have provided ‘stability’, ‘held this country together – held countries together’
  2. She was  ‘the rock on which modern Britain was built’ ,
  3. She displayed  ‘unwavering dedication and devotion’
  4. She embodied “the epitome of steady grace and resolve”
  5. She ‘served’ her country diligently in doing her ‘duty’ for 70 years.

Comment: The Royal Family take pride in their lives of “sacrifice” and “selflessness”

Queries: How do  selfless members of the public who sacrifice time, energy and maybe even money, compare?

How does the “sacrifice” of  volunteers who  aid the homeless or toil in soup kitchens and food banks, compare with the “sacrifice” of the Royal Family? 

Do these volunteers live out their lives in greater or lesser luxury?

Which sacrifice should we celebrate more?

Which is more useful to the nation?

The QIIE Reality

She liked dogs and horses and rarely betrayed strong emotions

She seemed to accept that her role was to be shown things –   so many  factories,ships, tanks,  hospitals, local customs and types of cheese

She waved, cut ribbons and unveiled plaques

She received so many bouquets of flowers from small curtsying girls

She  never  appeared bored or irritated

She “consented” to laws that suited her and her family and property

QIIE Legend vs Reality

 Queen Elizabeth II  was born out of Empire and colonisation

Yet she  is re-imagined as liberator

Comment:The Monarchy can have no responsibility for the Empire and the Commonwealth which they lead, because they are mere humble servants

Queen Elizabeth II was  a “humble servant of the nation”,

Yet one of the wealthiest people in the world

She was  a quiet, un-ostentatious woman

Yet wore diamond  and emerald tiaras, rode  in  gold carriages and spent her life in enormous multi-room palaces with acres of gardens and grounds

Her Royal Family is held up  as the symbol of the perfect, ideal family

Yet it was dysfunctional and covered up sexual depravity (Prince Andrew and Epstein, King Charles’s friendship with Jimmy Saville)

Her Royal Family is a modern institution

Yet  for the 2nd time in its history couldn’t cope with one of its members marrying an American divorcée

Queen Elizabeth II reigned when public services were sold to private companies

Yet the Royal Family enjoys unique tax advantages and King Charles III will not pay inheritance tax on any of his mother’s assets

Comments: The notion of the royal family as symbols of duty or sacrifice to the nation is a lie.

This falsehood is at the centre of a deeply unequal UK

Blurred is the distinction between the virtues of the late Queen as a person and the virtues of the monarchy as institution

Blurred is distinction between the virtues of the late Queen and the virtues of the “united UK”  she supposedly stood for 

Elizabeth II was Queen when British officers tortured, maimed and killed Kenyans during the Mau Mau uprising.

She was Queen when her troops killed civilians, her very own British subjects, in Northern Ireland

She was Queen when her government let one of its MPs die on hunger-strike in Long Kesh

Remember: “Her” Governments sanctioned and committed all these atrocities

Comment: She incarnated and ably helped sell her nation and its system while never criticizing or apologizing for its past

6)    Elizabeth II was an enigma, a blank screen

 that people  can project their own fantasies on to

She meant so much to so many

She was the  “adored mother, grandmother.

She understood  me as one of her people.

I “knew” her

Comment: Elizabeth II’s greatest asset as queen was her blankness. She was good at being what people needed at the time they needed.

Maybe she had great personal qualities and maybe she didn’t – it didn’t matter

7) Elizabeth II was an expert saleswoman

Over 70 years Queen Elizabeth II got many people in Britain and around the world to buy into a Ruritanian pantomime. She managed to convince them that   a small family   should rule the UK, Realms and Commonwealth. That it was right they were chosen simply by virtue of their birth.

Comment: Upon her death, members of the Royal Family all rotate upwards in a self-perpetuating process  of obscene unearned wealth, massive privilege, special tax breaks, nauseating deference, silly titles and even sillier uniforms.

The mourning period

 is tied in with the message  ‘Here is your new Monarch and you have no say in it’

Britain’s media speak with a single, respectful voice about the Queen and her unimpeachable legacy.

Every single newspaper and broadcaster in the country is united in supporting the accession of an unelected head of state.

The media  lauds  every Royal family action, sings their praises as a venerable institution at the core of British society, dutifully acts as the royal PR mouthpiece in reporting on their charity work, and marginalizes any talk of doing away with the royal family altogether as “republican rabble-rousing.”

Their implicit justification is that to air any other viewpoint would be disrespectful towards what  Queen Elizabeth II was all about.

The arrest of anti-monarchy protesters and the condemnation of others who dissented showed that the royal succession “is as much about coercion as consent”

Comment: Silence is not a politically neutral act. It is a demand that we collude in a corrupt system of establishment rule and hierarchical privilege.

The British establishment expects every man, woman and child to do their duty by lowering their head, showing respect for the Queen and her family.

By emphasizing that the nation is “united in respect for the Queen and in respect for monarchy”,  an idea of community is constructed.

Everybody is doing this or at least should be.

Making people understand that  “now is not the time” to  criticise  the late Queen, the monarchy or British society in general is a very powerful way of asserting  a sense of national identity and reinforcing a particular meaning to national identity.

Comment: It’s callled “bullying” in any other context. If you don’t conform, you’re outside the community. And indeed, you’re even worse, you’re inhumane. You’re not showing grief at the death of another person and you’re daring to criticise those of us that do.

Queries: Isn’t this  about much more than an eccentric pageantry of death?

Isn’t it, like King Charles III’s whistle-stop tour of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, about reinforcing the Union?

Isn’t it about strengthening the idea that unearned privilege and wealth is normal?

Isn’t it about cementing  Charles III’s succession without any dissent?

Her legacy

The Britain left in her wake is a Britain of economic decline, a Britain of massive wealth inequality and poverty, epitomised by the hereditary wealth and privilege of the British Royalty

She was one of the richest women in the world with children in her domain living in poverty 

Queen Elizabeth II did nothing to fight racism during her reign

Queen Elizabeth II was the head of a criminal imperial organisation and was widely considered the last link to the Empire. The Royal family and UK museums  count amongst its ‘private property’ the loot of ages, cultures and continents.

Comments: South Africa wants the Cullinan Diamonds back, together with all the gold, diamonds stolen by Britain.India wants its Koh-i-noor diamond. Greece wants the Elgin marbles. Easter islanders want one of their statues.Ethiopia wants its tabots.

Former colonies, except Ireland and Malta, are known as 3rd world countries. Nobody likes to be called a “third world country.” Of course the difference is, those poor nations didn’t do it to themselves

It’s clear that the British Monarchy was/is not universally adored

Neither in science, nor in art, nor in literature, nor in exploration, nor in mechanical invention, nor in humanising of laws, nor in any sphere of human activity has a representative of British royalty helped forward the moral, intellectual or material improvement of mankind.’- James Connolly

Final Thoughts

Words written over 100 years ago about Royalty and the Monarchy apply equally well today

Once the emotions of the Queen’s passing subside, the unifying effect she provided as part of the glue of British identity will not be so easily replicable by her successor

QIIE  acted as a retardant on the slow deconstruction of the British identity, and without her processes that have already been unleashed will accelerate to reach their natural conclusion

Deference and blind loyalty belong to the past 

Lord Trimble amongst The Dead

Lord Trimble,  arch Unionist, intellectual Loyalist and convinced  Brexiteer, was laid to rest.

An Orangeman, a man of fascist-type Vanguard rallies, whose leaders worked with Loyalist paramilitaries and called for Catholics to be exterminated. A man who supported the reactionary Loyalist Workers Strike. A man who participated in  the Orange Order Siege of Drumcree and the  Garvaghy Road stand-off which was linked to the death of 3 children.

British, Unionist, anti-Catholic, anti-Irish  to his finger-tips.

An unpleasant character, by all reports. Rude, cold, arrogant, easy to anger.

Ostensibly, a man of peace, authority and caution, far-seeing, percipient, worthy recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.

In the run-up to the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement Lord Trimble insisted his  people must not linger on in the past but embrace the present.

Yet he did exactly the opposite.

Lately he supported Brexit,  hindering any move forward on the Northern Irish Protocol (NIP), contradicting judicial  findings  that the NIP breached the 1801 Act of Union  and supporting Unionist refusal to accept a SF First Minister in Northern Ireland.

He ultimately encouraged a tribute to the past, the supremacist  past of Unionism that lives on in present Unionist  parties.

Comment: RIP Let the dead bury the dead

Lord Trimble acquiesced to  the 1998 (Belfast/Good Friday) Agreement because

 a) he had no other choice. The British, Irish  and USA governments offered no alternatives to Sunningdale Mark 2, except Joint Sovreignty with the Irish Republic. A fate worse than death for Unionists/Loyalists.

 b) the IRA/SF were already on board pursuing peace. Being off-side and left out, was not a good look for the Unionist/Loyalist image and

c) the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement secured another 25 and counting years of Unionist hegemony in Northern Ireland.

Queries: What was there  not to like?

A mere quibble about power-sharing for slow learners?

 Lord Trimble knew Unionist/Loyalist  hard-liners were not slow learners.

A long, long time ago they had learnt  how to wield slogans in their favour.

   “No Surrender” and “Never, Never, Never”  guaranteed their place in Northern Ireland and  Westminster, particularly when  the Conservative Party needed to be make up numbers  to form a government.

NB: The Conservative party in England were comparatively slow learners in this regard.

“Brexit is Brexit” and “Take Back Control” came much later.

Unionists/Loyalists had no intention of, nor are they ever  going to, share power with the IRA/SF.

Parity of esteem is a foreign (EU?)  concept to them.

Since 1998, the Stormont Assembly has staggered from one debacle and collapse to to the next.

Unionists  forever walk in smaller “No No No” circles, a minority in the “wee pravince”  they once dominated.

After the latest elections the DUP refuse to participate in the Stormont Assembly, thus blocking everything.

Ostensibly because they do not like the NIP which the British government they supported negotiatiated, ratified and attempted to implement to a certain extent.

Ostensibly because they will not play “bridesmaid” to a SF First Minister.

Comment: Unionists/Loyalists and Westminster are not yet sick of Ireland, not yet sick of being where their supremacism is  unwanted.

Remember: Unionist/Loyalist  attraction to Northern Ireland  is not rooted in love of place and people but in their desire to control the people and impose their will upon everybody living there

Today Unionism/Loyalism/The Loyal Orders are shadows of a past, flickering in a world in which the living and the dead meet, haunted in these summer months by the legacy of 10 dead IRA Hunger Strikers.  

The Stormont Assembly  music has stopped.

Unionists/Loyalists will not permit the Assembly to function unless they get what they demand.

The rest of the parties and MLAs gather at the door, coats on, ready to leave if the DUP gets what it wants. 

If not, what are all the conversations about a “New /Shared Ireland about?