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article imageOp-Ed: Royal sick bags to the ready, not everyone is a monarchist

By Mathew Wace Peck     Jul 26, 2013 in Entertainment
Feeling nauseous after all the sycophantic hype surrounding the birth of yet another parasitical drain on the British taxpayer? Then look no further.
Other than Eduardo Arrufat’s article elsewhere on Digital Journal, you could be forgiven for believing that everyone on the planet, let alone the whole British public, had been eagerly awaiting the news of the birth of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s first child. But, despite what the establishment would have you believe, there are many people who don’t care one iota.
If you are one of those people – or, indeed, if you are mildly interested in the comings and goings of the British Royal Family, but have become sick and tired of the wall-to-wall media and press coverage in the last few days, then Lydia Leith has the answer – in the grand old tradition of royal memorabilia … with a twist.
Known for her popular Royal “sick bags”, her most recent addition is the Royal Morning Sickness sick bag. Originally produced in “girly” pink and “blue for a boy” blue – when the sex of the to-be third in line to the throne of the UK’s historical (i.e. archaic) institution and tourist attraction was still not known – the sick bags bear the heading “Shake, Rattle and Rule” and the artist’s impression of the Royal Baby.
Harming children
At a time when the UK Conservative government is inflicting the sort of benefit cuts that will bring further suffering to some of the poorest and most vulnerable and disadvantaged children in British society, the richest family in the land and their over-privileged offspring are being feted and handed millions of taxpayers’ money.
A correspondent to the i newspaper, yesterday, summed it up thus: “Isn’t it ironic that so much fuss is made of a child [who] will cost us all millions […] while we try to save a pittance on what it costs to keep the children of the poorest?”
Simply, by an accident of birth, Prince George is now third in line to the British throne. First in line is the Queen’s first-born son – George’s grandfather – Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Cornwall and holder of many more titles too numerous and boring to list. Second in line is the baby’s father, Prince William of Wales, the Duke of Cambridge. By dint of George’s birth, William’s brother, Prince Harry of Wales, has been demoted to fourth in line to the throne; as has every other royal personage in the feudal line of succession, for as far as anyone can care to list.
For many years, the British Royal Family were accused of being out of touch and, especially after the death of William’s mother, HRH Princess Diana – or, simply, Diana, Princess of Wales, as she was relegated to after she and Charles divorced – became very unpopular. However, over the last decade or so (so the current heat wave isn’t the cause, then) a strange U-turn has taken place, with the royals once again becoming “popular”.
Establishment hogwash and baloney
Strangest of all is that, although ordinary people are being told on a daily basis that we live in austere times, that there is no money to act decently towards one another, that everything our forefathers worked to create has to be dismantled, that (sick bags to the ready), “We’re all in this together,” the richest in our society carry on as if that’s all a load of hogwash and baloney (which, as an increasing number of us are coming to realise, it is)!
Last year, Queen Elizabeth II – incidentally, one of the richest women in the world – gifted Prince William a cottage on her Sandringham estate. Just like that! He also inherited £10 million from his late mother’s estate, which had been held in trust for him.
However, as reported by the London Evening Standard, it is British taxpayers – most of whom wouldn’t know what £10 million looked like, let alone ever have the good fortune to be given such a sum – who are having to fork out for the £1-million refurbishment of Kensington Palace for him, his wife and their new-born son to move into.
And that’s at a time when the increasingly nasty and out-of-touch Iain Duncan Smith, acting on behalf of Her Majesty’s Government,* is penalising ordinary low-income people for having a so-called spare bedroom in meagre hovels. Unbelievable, yes, but what’s more astonishing is that there are plenty of ordinary people who, without a shed of irony, it seems, at once think this iniquitous Bedroom Tax is right and at the same time that it’s OK to subsidise some of the richest people on the planet.
Cambridge Tax
According to the Guardian, Kate and Will’s Kensington Palace apartment has 21 rooms, but omits to say how many of them are bedrooms. Given that there will be just three people living there and (the government would assume) that two of them will be sharing a bed, they need only two bedrooms. Obviously, there will be more, but you can be assured that Duncan Smith won't be suggesting any time soon that the Cambridge’s should be charged a spare-bedroom tax!
As depressing as all that is, there is at least some proof of a healthy dose of popular dissent among British subjects** to the myth that everyone loves the Royal Family: according to i ’s parent newspaper, the Independent, recently, “Leith’s sick bags have proved popular at [other] high-profile royal occasions, including the nuptials of Kate and Wills [in 2011] and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee [in 2012].”
So, if you have had enough of the recent vomit-inducing royal hysteria, why not purchase a Royal Baby Sick Bag. Each one is screen-printed by hand, costs just £3 and can be purchased direct from the artist.
Footnotes: British sovereign history
* Although the British public are allowed to elect a government every few years, it’s not actually their government, but the sovereign’s. Although many believe that the monarch is just a ceremonial figurehead, that is not strictly the case.
Basically, following the restoration of the monarchy (in 1660) and the 1706/7 Acts of Union, the Parliament of Great Britain was established. Effectively, the sovereign changed from being an absolute monarch (i.e. a king or queen who has sole power over the state, is not legally bound by any constitution and regulates the government) to a constitutional monarch (i.e. one who is forced to act within the guidelines of a constitution). However, Britain's constitution is “uncodified”, which, simply put, means that the way the British are governed is to a very large part through customs, usage and precedent – and therein lies the rub. Can you imagine the American people being happy with that?
Every time, there is a British general election, a new prime minister takes office only after the sovereign has summoned her preferred choice to the Buckingham Palace. In practice, that person will be the leader of the party who has gained the most seats in Parliament, but – and this is the crucial bit – the Queen or King can choose someone else, if they wish!
The Centre for Citizenship is a good starting point for finding out exactly what Britain’s “quaint old tradition of monarchy” actually is:
Despite being elected by ordinary voters, ( “commoners”), every Member of Parliament (MP) is required to swear an oath of loyalty – “I swear by Almighty God that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, her heirs and successors, according to law. So help me God.” – to the sovereign before taking their seat in the elected House of Commons!
It gets worse ... As well as still having the right to choose the Prime Minister, the Queen (or King) has the right to dismiss any minister and any government, dissolve Parliament, refuse to agree to legislation passed by the elected representatives of Parliament, dismiss the governments of other countries of which she (or he) is monarch, pardon convicted criminals, declare a state of emergency, issue proclamations and command the army and raise a personal militia.
** It is a popular misconception that the people of the UK are British citizens. Britons are all subjects of the reigning monarch; currently – and for more than six decades, Queen Elizabeth II.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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