Posts Tagged ‘ jubilee ’

The Jubilee: All Depends Where the Camera Points.

Anyone following the EyeOnWales twitter feed will know that we had some issues with all of the Jubilee palaver. General consensus from critics have fallen on our complaints as being those of lefty republicans, militant Welsh nationalists, xenophobes and most commonly, unpatriotic bastards. Who knows, maybe a bit of all of the above is indeed applicable. While not a republican blog at heart, we certainly have some issues with our democracy being advertised as a model to the world, while having to bend a knee and open a wallet for a monarch whose position is afforded to her by god (theoretically). We certainly have issue with decades of under investment in Wales coupled by massive contemporary spending cuts, while forking out direct and indirect costs running to the billions for a party. As for being unpatriotic, we have our Welsh flag flying proudly thank you very much, and it will remain flying proudly once all of those little plastic Union Jacks have been discarded to create some of the most festive landfill sites seen in the world – our patriotism is not defined by a government dictate to start celebrating.

But none of those issues has really grated. If people want to go celebrating the life of someone, fine, we don’t like the expenditure, or agree with the sentiment, but hell, there are plenty of things our respective Governments waste money on, this is just one more to put on the pile of burnt money, while people in Britain do far stupider things on a Friday and Saturday night than stand in the rain waving plastic flags at boats, in the grand scheme of things, it’s no great evil.

What does grate though, is the insistence of the national media in portraying the Jubilee as something that ‘everyone’ has got on board for. ‘The Nation comes together’ we are told, ‘street parties held across the nation’ we are told, ‘we are one country’ people insist, ‘the unity of the country’ is on display for all the world to see. You could mostly copy and paste these catch phrases into the commentary of any of the major news carriers in Britain (Wales included) and then on to the world. But was it really the case?

On the morning dog walk, Union Jacks have been spotted popping up here and there, the bunting going up, being blown down across the roads, to be replaced by some more the following day. Point your camera at those decorated houses and you would have yourself a fine snapshot of a nation in party mood yes? Then pan that same camera to the left, then to the right, then directly behind, nothing, just houses, no flags, no bunting, just homes, as they were and as they will remain. The dog walk usually identifies around 15-20 houses where the occupants have gone to the effort of decorating for the Jubilee. For each one of those houses, roughly 20-30 more will be found undecorated. Point your camera here, and what story do you then have for the newspapers? Television audiences are being cited as well by some as proof positive of the national mindset towards the Jubilee. Some 17million watching? Yet when the same argument is presented that some 45million were not watching, it is dismissed out of hand – proof of nothing the Jubilee fans shout loudly, except perhaps that the majority simply don’t care.

For us, it’s not so much an argument about becoming a Republic, or having a free and independent Wales, it’s about not being presented to the world as having taken part in a celebration of all the things that are the opposite of those sentiments. Freedom of choice and expression is a theoretical tenant in Britain, undermined by a national media that has been intent on painting a picture of unity in the worst example of jingoism in recent years, regardless of the reality. So perhaps that reality can be summarised for the many international eyes falling on the British Isles these past four days as such:

1. There are a lot of people celebrating the Jubilee, not everyone, not a majority, but a lot of people, and they had a fun time of it.

2. There are some people using the Jubilee to campaign for a Republic, not many, far from a majority, but some people, and they had a fun time of axe grinding.

3. Then there is the majority, not everyone, but most people, those who did not watch on television, stand by a river watching a boat, or climbed a hill to light a beacon, those who did not decorate their houses, or eat tea and cakes in the middle of a street.

Categories 1 and 2 have had plenty and some media coverage respectively, category 3 has been lumped in with category 1, and it leaves a sour taste in the mouth.

We are not asking for less coverage of the Jubilee (though that would be quite welcome, I remember something happening in Syria, and some Egyptians being angry about something, but world news really has no place on the BBC while a party is going on in London), what we are asking for is less generalisation in the commentary. Some of the nation came together, yes, the majority did not. It would be nice if the world knew that, and was not painted a picture of everyone in the British Isles as having decorated their faces, heads and homes in Union Jacks; some of us were protesting against it, most of us ignored or didn’t care about it – and when discussing the impact of the Jubilee, perhaps some questions might be asked of why the majority didn’t join in, as opposed to why a vocal minority had a party.

Just one question on that topic perhaps, rather than presenting a million celebrating as being representative of the actions of 60+million, please BBC, are you listening? Oh, I guess not, well, it’s okay, I know you are busy, lot’s more Jubilee to be broadcast after all…

The Jubilee: A Tale of Two Pensioners.

The scene: a small local pharmacy.

The occasion: an elderly gentleman, around 80-90 years old, with the assistance of two walking sticks, making his way to the counter.

The event: said elderly gentleman requests his prescription medicines, multiple large and heavy bags worth of pills.

The discussion:

‘I can’t carry these home, they are too heavy, can they be delivered please?’

‘The next delivery won’t be made until Wednesday I’m afraid’ replies the cashier.

‘But I can’t wait until then for my medicine’

‘Well you can carry them home now if you like?’ responds the ambivalent cashier, ignorant of the man’s age or that his own means of staying upright was through the use of two sticks gripped in both hands.

‘But I can’t carry them, they are too heavy, and I have no free hands’ is the meek and slightly desperate response.

‘Well like I say, the delivery goes out on Wednesday’.

‘Why not before?’

‘Well we are closed for the Jubilee you see’ [that would be Sunday, Monday and Tuesday the man would now have to wait].

‘But that’s not good enough, I need my medicine, I won’t make…’ he pauses, ‘I can’t wait that long’.

‘Well I don’t know what we can do about that I’m afraid’ if all the help provided in the store, and the elderly gentleman makes his way to a seat, slightly confounded by the situation.

Now, in observing this amazing exchange, the eventual conclusion was reached where, after some ten minutes of calling around, the pharmacy managed to find someone with a relationship to the man in question, to assist him, a happy resolution to a situation that saw the mobility challenged pensioner breathing himself into a panic attack, thanks to the initial disregard. A mess cleaned up, but a dangerous situation created in the first place, that could have been avoided.

Why was this the case? Because a very different pensioner is having a party, a party which will have the same impact on the economy and public services as if a general strike had been called.

Want a party? Have it on the weekend, but don’t let this indulgence risk the lives of others, because that is what is happening. Few people seem to be aware of the second bank holiday, the second day of ‘celebration’, and many more will be caught out like this gentleman was today. The stress witnessed today was completely unnecessary and the direct product of this ridiculous extravagance. We can only hope that, for the sake of a party on a weekday, that nothing worse than stress occurs, because what was witnessed today could have been much much worse.

Monarchs in Cardiff – Twitterverse Responds.

So, we understand the English monarchy were in town today. Apart from some unnecessary traffic congestion, we didn’t really notice the difference. However, there was an interesting and at times amusing set of twitterings on the subject, some welcoming them, some very much not welcoming them, and a handful of views that were somewhere in between. Frankly, we were a little disappointed by the range of comments, nothing overly incendiary at all in the end, still, the range of comments provide an interesting cross section of views on the visit.

 

Those not so happy said:

bethanjenkins@bethanjenkins

I choose to air my republicanism. I reserve my RIGHT to not go and bow before queen, born to a position of power, who has never been elected.

David Raybould@daveraybould

Going to try to be positive today. Promote the benefits of visiting German royalty.

Simon Coopey@SimonCoopey

Wales has a ‘queen’? I don’t remember voting for one. #gweriniaeth

Al Iguana@aliguana

I know, let’s take a leaf from North Korea’s book and give every child a Union Jack, then get them to line up and wave them at Liz. Oh wait.

Fartpants@halfienoakes

I notice the queen not coming to North Wales on her tour…good #stayinEngland

 

 Those who were in the middle, or just not aware said:

Elizabeth Windsor@Queen_UK

Stand by Wales. Your Queen is coming for you.

Dean Burnett@garwboy

Cardiff Bay is crawling with Police today. Apparently because the Queen is coming. I don’t get how someone this dangerous is head of state

Samantha Bull@raccoonteeth

Why is the queen in Cardiff? I keep seeing tweets about it

Kez@Goleudy

Is it bad that I’m totally unfussed about the Queen visiting Wales? I was more excited when I got a Care Bear back in 1987.

 

 And those who rolled out the red carpet suggested:

suzy davies@suzydavies

Very much looking forward to lunch with Her Majesty later!#diamondjubilee

Daran Hill@DaranHill

A very warm welcome to HM The Queen to Cardiff today. A hero we can all believe in #diamondjubilee

Alex Powell@Alex_D_Powell

Fantastic to see so much support for the monarch in Wales!! Queen starts Wales tour at Llandaff Cathedral in Cardiff http://bbc.in/Ideqah

SorryI’llGetMyCoat@woweegoodstuff

Despite what Republican Leanne Wood and barmy #Plaid Cymru would like us to think we always welcome the Queen to Wales.

Michael Gove and the little yacht that could.

He’s an interesting fellow is Michael Gove. While seeming to be totally competent in his role as chief deconstructionist of the working class education system [Policy No 21b: If they won’t vote for us, we won’t teach them how to vote], Gove seems to have found himself in slightly tricky waters (yes, we’ll run with those sorts of comments early on here) regarding a proposed new royal yacht. However, scorn should be held back for the time being, after all, in these times of austerity we are all being pressed, even the Royal Family, and gigantic yachts just don’t come as cheap as they once did. After all, those pesky unions and their meddling have meant that you can’t expect your ship building crew to return a death rate of a minimum of 5% anymore, the busybodies tend to expect that number to be a lot lower these days!

So, given that ol’ Queeny is going to be having a little bit of a knees up sometime in June, Gove presented the frankly brilliant idea of giving her a giant boat. Well, not so much Gove giving her a giant boat, but the nation. Of course, plenty of wealthytodos were ready to claim that private money would play its part, but Gove was confident that the general public would be more than willing to cut off their thumbs, sell them to medical science, and donate the profits to the ‘old woman gets older, let’s give her a boat’ campaign. It seemed so perfect.

However, it seems to be the case that the general public are in fact a little less keen about lopping off their limbs to be able to contribute to this perfectly reasonable birthday present. So to, was David Cameron, who seemed to distance himself from the project rather hurriedly [must be some manner of republican then, not wanting the public to buy the ol’ crone a boat an all], muffling something about times of austerity, and possibly it being inappropriate to ask a general public to pay for a multi-million pound boat, at the same time as many of them seem to be considering selling their blood in order to pay for bread [extreme perhaps, but it could be happening].

So poor old Michael Gove is left on his own, with his crowd of billionaires of course, isolated and left out in the dark, and all for want of buying a birthday present. Never mind Michael, I’m sure there are other things you might encourage the nation to do for her, such as reintroducing child labour, slavery as a solution to the pensions deficit, and re-colonising the commonwealth, all perfectly reasonable thing to ask the general public to foot the bill for, and we all hope that he will try, one of those at the very least…