Eric John argues YES…
This is a debate that could easily lead to another Republicans versus Monarchists punch-up, and we all know how bloody those can get.
So let me get this straight:
I am not a monarchist.
No, I don’t have the Union Jack tattooed on my backside.
In fact, I am not even British.
As a foreigner, I see things from a different perspective – not having been brought up to the tune of a national anthem that professes my unwitting loyalty to an old lady that I have never met, and that has never met me, I am understandably less inclined to hate said national anthem. But my appreciation for this whole royal rigmarole doesn’t merely lie in a lack of exposure; I feel no disdain toward the royals because, though they will never have to queue up at the job centre like the rest of us mere mortals, I know for a fact that they do serve a purpose. They don’t just attract gullible, Nikon-armed tourists with big wallets; they also make sure that the rest of the world has something other than violence and crime to talk about when it comes to Great Britannia. Just think about it. Without the royal wedding, the most the UK would have been remembered for in 2011 were the riots. Puts things into perspective, doesn’t it?
Furthermore, a lot has already been said about the Queen’s four-day, possibly double-dip-recession-prolonging extravaganza, but there is one pretty obvious argument that has apparently been lost amid all that political ranting. Stripped bare of its various socio-political implications, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee is more than just the celebration of a pampered old lady’s endurance across the decades. With its explosion of Union-Jack-coloured paraphernalia, its meteorologically bad timing, and that inevitably cheesy Gary Barlow performance, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, in my humble, foreign opinion, is a celebration of being British. And part of being British is to love to hate the royals, while gleefully kicking back in front of the TV instead of heading to work when they declare another bank holiday.
Yes, it would make sense for an allegedly democratic state to be ruled by a fully elected body, but clearly, monarchies throw much better parties. And anyway, democracy is so mainstream these days, even the Middle East is trying to squeeze into it like a skinny Topman t-shirt that everyone already owns. Why not stand out from the crowd by remaining stubbornly old-fashioned and quasi-democratic?
Nadia Amico argues No…
Down almost every street, on almost every television channel, in almost every newspaper or magazine, you’ll find a constant reminder that we must be celebrating 60 years of rule under Queen Elizabeth II. However, a big question mark hangs over this ‘feat’, as we come to assess whether 60 years of monarchy is really something to be proud of, or if it is in fact a sign that things really need to change. Ultimately, the four-day weekend is a celebration of the Queen’s luxury and privileges at our expense, and our acceptance of the monarchy stems from the media subsequently ‘shoving celebrations down our throats’. It does seem rather dated that in the 21st century, we have an unelected head of state, a doddery old dear occupying such a pivotal role, attempting to provide examples to countries ruled by totalitarian despots. And to make matters worse, these costly celebrations occur at a time of austerity, where unemployment has become a far too common problem.
In the midst of these celebrations lies the concert put together by mums-favourite Gary Barlow, including performances by Sir Tom Jones, Sir Paul McCartney and flavour of the month, Jessie J. But does the queen really want a live version of ‘Now That’s What I Call Music! 27349’, or will she have some royal aid whispering in her ear “that little ginger one is Ed Sheeran, from that song you’ve never heard of”. And as if having some pop prince back-flipping around on stage isn’t bad enough, we’ve also got the sickly sweet, but utterly boring Military Wives and a load of kids from The Commonwealth singing about, well singing. Oh Gary, your quest for a knighthood is pure gold.
To be fair, it could be worse; we could share the burden that befalls our friends across the pond. I mean, we’ve inherited this out-of-date ‘British ideal’ with not much input, whereas they’ve actively elected heads of state whose best lines include, “rarely is the question asked: is our children learning?”