Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Queen's Jubilee | The Reluctant Unionist

When is it going to stop?

These Jubilee celebrations have gone on so long, they have become an era in themselves. The Jubilee Period. The time when Britain celebrated the Jubilee. And. Did. Nothing. Else.

Banned from their workplaces for five entire days over the bank holiday weekend -- those of the Queen's subjects not involved in service industries, the emergency services or the media, that is -- Britons have had to resort to gluing themselves to the television to listen to a small army of pundits, grinning wannabes and under-informed experts say the words "spectacular" and "dignified" and "incredible" over and over and over again.

Eventually it will end. Won't it?

We've already had a casualty. Prince Philip, he of the slitty eyed foreigners quip, laid up in hospital with a bladder infection. Was that because he didn't fancy using the loo on board the good ship Flotilla? Or because he drank too much fizz during a day of the most Spectacular, Dignified and Incredible pageantry?

Someone is working on a novel in which the lead character is the man in charge of the river pageant. Someone. Somewhere.

The television coverage has been utterly terrible. Of course it has. The One Show, without the brains. But we'll forgive them that. I mean nothing else was happening for the news to cover, was it? Well. There was that Nigerian plane crash which killed 150 or so. And the soldier getting killed in Afghanistan. And the Euro crisis whatsit, but that's been going on forever. And the Syria thing.

As I say, NOTHING else to bother reporting on. Just the Flotilla. A Thousand Ships. On the Thames! Incredible. So Dignified. And yet, fun.

A million people got rained on trying to watch the thing. Meanwhile in Scotland.... zip, nada. Well, pretty close to nothing. So subdued has the Jubilee celebrations been here you'd think you might be in a different country. Though of course, it might be a different country soon. If the unionist lobby don't get their act together.

The Problem Is... 

Flying a Union Flag in Glasgow isn't the same as flying one in London. It's charged with an entirely different kind of tribalism. Sectarianism. Football fandom. A fair bit of hatred too. It isn't a neutral thing, a coming together and celebrating thing. It's divisive.

As for the rest of Scotland? Well, the thing is, Scots hate a fuss. And remember, our Church of Scotland doesn't look to the Queen. It looks to its ministers, and to its own conscience. And the Jubilee has been, to some extent, used by leading Tories -- because they are the ones in power -- to flag wave. And Scots hate the Tories. Also, Scots are, in huge numbers, socialists. Real, republican socialists. Not to mention the whole independence is us malarkey. So if you add all this together. The dislike for sectarianism. The socialism. The free thinking protestantism. The hatred of Tories, especially English Tories, from London! Well, the Jubilee didn't have a chance.

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