Friday, 1 June 2012

Diamond Jubilees come but once every 60 years: how to 'celebrate'

The weather this spring was so crap that flaming June seems to have snuck up on us and it is Diamond Jubilee weekend already!

I am a republican so I shan't actually be, you know, celebrating. I shall go to the protest called by the Republic campaign.

This is the only really visible republican organisation in the UK, but its politics are very limited. It basically confines itself to making the case for an elected head of state, as if the constitutional monarchy were the only democratic question to worry about in the UK's class ridden, undemocratic, social pyramid.

For sure, the Queen (and the egits that will succeed her) are at the apex of this pyramid and lend it a hidebound, mystical, spurious glamour... OK, Republic have more than a point!

But I don't favour having a president or a head of state at all actually. In fact, why have states? But one step at a time!

If you want to join Republic's protest it is on Sunday 3 June from 12 noon to 5pm close to City Hall on the South Bank. Details here.

In theory the protest will have a great view of the flotilla (!) as it arrives at Tower Bridge and will be visible to the Queen and her entourage as they alight from the royal barge. But I reckon we'll turn up to find they've erected a dirty great screen to spoil our view.

I suppose it would be fitting. After all, it's someone else's party and we didn't want an invite. But I do think the republican point of view needs to be aired in the public space. I think we do have that right!

There are lots of other things on this weekend, depending on your political bent.

Save Friern Barnet Library campaign, Sunday 3 June

If you are agnostic about the Jubilee, or a royalist, or just want to support this very good cause, Save Friern Barnet Library campaign have quite a programme at the Friern Barnet village green, from 12.30 to 7pm on Sunday 3 June.

More details here.

BAPS at the Diamond Jubilee festival, Monday 4 June

The anti-cuts and anti-privatisation campaign Barnet Alliance for Public Services (BAPS) has a stall at the Diamond Jubilee festival planned for Monday in Golders Hill Park.

The council website describes the festival thus:
Monday 4 June sees Barnet Council play host to the Diamond Jubilee Festival with the City of London Corporation, at Golders Hill Park. The flagship event in the borough starts at 2.45pm and ends at 10pm with a fireworks display and the lighting of a six-metre high beacon as part of the national beacon chain.
Even if, like me, you hate the monarchical system of government (!), please come to the park if you are in the area and say hello to BAPS, which is beginning to achieve real results!


Rog T said...


I'm also a republican, but I think the issue is a dead duck whilst QEII is with us. She doesn't upset anyone and I think that as most people feel kindly towards old dears, no one would want to rock the boat.

I saw the republican demo. It struck me as a bit counter productive. From what I saw the majority of people greeted it with incomprehension. I picked up one of the leaflets, but I must say even with my sympathies, it didn't inspire me at all.

My view is that we should accept the status quo until after the QEII era and then campaign for a referendum as to whether we should keep the monarchy. I would suggest that this be held no sooner than 18 months after Charles takes the throne, as a mark of respect to his mother.

In all probablity, I doubt that any republican agenda would succeed, but at least then we could say the Monarchy has a democratic mandate.

Citizen Barnet said...

Hello, Rog,

I take your point about it being possible to have a crap demo that does more harm than good to your cause.

However, I do think they were right to hold a demo. In fact, the one that was planned down by the river got the publicity they wanted and might have had more had it not been chopped in two. Security were not letting anyone down to the river after a certain point. The rally up on Tooley Street was a scratch affair because people had been stopped from going to the official protest point.

This might explain something of its ramshackle and unplanned appearance. (Something.)

I do think it was absolutely right to insist on having a protest: last year, for the Royal Wedding of all things, Republic were shunted off into a corner of Red Lion Square, and disparate groups of fairly harmless republicans wearing zombie suits or carrying home made placards were lifted before the event, and held until the wedding was over.

You have to wonder at the mentality that thinks several million partying royalists can't cope with the sight of a few republicans exercising their democratic right.

That's why it was important to insist on having a protest.

I think Republic's message is rather uninspiring. It's hard to sell the idea of an elected head of state when other elected politicians are generally held in such low esteem. There are other things I don't like about their methods, but - another time.

I hope I have time to write a blogpost about the Republic demo, but it's not looking likely alas.

I don't think people would vote Charles out in a referendum, because they are looking forward to bowing and scraping to King William and Queen Catherine.

It all does my head in. Did you see the concert this evening? I saw some of it. Aside from Lenny Henry's racist stereotyping of black people, the worst part for me was when those working class lads from Camden, Madness, appeared on the roof of Buckingham Palace onto which were projected images of 'ordinary' homes, including council flats and terraced houses.

You really couldn't make it up! You really wouldn't want to!

David Duff said...

'President Prescott'

Hmmnnn! It has a certain je ne sais quoi about it, don'cha think? I mean, he's the sort of sound, upright type the 'Toms' would be happy to salute as they go on their way to face the muck and bullets.

Or perhaps, to keep the feminine line going, so to speak, there is always the possibility of 'President 'Harry Harperson', a truly inspirational figure certain to keep the country united in adversity.