Thursday, 28 April 2011

Up the republic!

I had a strange day, full of emotion, but most of it vicarious. I went to Buckingham Palace for 12 noon, where the PCS civil service union staged a small demonstration to promote its Fair Pay for Royal Cleaners campaign. They are calling on the Royal Household to pay their cleaners an extra £1.40 an hour, in order to bring them up to the London Living Wage of £7.85 per hour. Calling for this now, while everyone thinks the Royals are wonderful, is a smart bit of PR. You can sign the petition here.

I would post a picture of that demonstration, and will do later, but I then went off on a seven hour-long circuit of central London landmarks capturing, or trying to, some of the sights as the capital builds up for the wedding tomorrow - and it's going to take me all night to download my pictures!

I'm a convinced republican, but I'm not stupid. I do know that people's emotions, including favourable emotions regarding the monarchy, are a real thing.

I've taken literally hundreds of pictures today, and tomorrow the papers will be full of far more interesting ones, of wedding dresses, hats foreign dignitaries and despots, street parties - including several here in Barnet - etc. So no one will ever want to look at the fruit of my labours.

But it wasn't entirely a wasted effort: I got lots of camera practice, I met some interesting characters, and I never have to photograph a central London monument again, as I think I have all of them now, including several I never even knew existed before.

I'm going to Red Lion Square tomorrow for the Republic street party. It had been due to take place in Covent Garden, but the big landowner around there, Shaftesbury Estates, objected. Covent Garden shopkeepers would have had a fairly sophisticated and tolerant attitude to the killjoy republicans. I suspect that in Red Lion Square we might be pelted with rotten vegetables by the occupants of the council flats overlooking us.

Hey ho, that's where sentiments stand.

P.S. Given the number of preemptive arrests of people suspected of plotting to protest against the wedding tomorrow, I hope I will get through the night without a knock at the door. I'm counting on that nice picture of Buckingham Palace at the top deflecting suspicion... The world's gone mad.

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