In Great Britain, you can still be hanged for some crimes. One is arson in Her Majesty’s shipyards. Really. So if you’re anywhere near Chatham, be careful with that fag end. Another is treason, and I’m about to commit this heinous crime. Well come and get me! You’ll never take me alive coppers! I’m on top of the world, ma!
I refer to the latest addition to the Royal Family. This surprised me a little since I was pretty much unaware of the pregnancy. But Kate thingy, married to William (is it William? Or Harry? I lose track.) has given birth to a boy. Well bully for her. Well done all round. Great news for the parents, and grandparents, and friends. But do I give a stuff? No I do not. And I do give a stuff about the media hysteria.
Every single newspaper in the UK today has a full front page of this momentous ‘news.’ Even the broadsheets have fallen for this. Even the Guardian, for goodness sake, has a banner sub-head, ‘A child, a boy, a prince, a king.’ A woman had a baby, guys! It happens all the time! Get over it! Who cares?
Predictably the fanatically Royalist Daily Mail went totally over the top. The first 20 pages were non-stop baby talk, in more ways than one. Twenty pages! Lawksamussy me. Plus a souvenir pullout section. A souvenir? Does anybody actually treasure these and keep them for posterity? Oh they do? Why? Why do they do that?
Let’s face it, by the time the new sprog reaches the throne, it’s going to be a way off in the distance. Charles is over 60, and Madge is still batting on a fine wicket. The newborn heir to the House of Windsor will be drawing a pension before the Crown lies uneasy on his head. Those Hapsburg genes may not do much for your jaw line, but they sure as hell pretty much guarantee longevity. You’re in for the long haul sonny boy.
It will make not a scrap of difference. Not one jot. The monarch is in theory head of state, but in practice is a toothless relic of the past with no real power at all. Though fair play to Madge for keeping Margaret Thatcher standing during their weekly audiences. But it doesn’t matter! It truly doesn’t matter.
Unlike many urban warriors of my acquaintance, I’m not an anti-royalist. I think in general it’s better to have a monarch than an elected head of state, such as a president, that changes every four years. But I’m incensed at all the fuss here. Woman has sex with husband, has baby. Well, whooppie doo.
I keep hearing people having sweepstakes about what the poor wee dote will be called. My money’s on Eric Bloodaxe. I’ve got good odds on at the bookie’s for that.
The Mail is particularly rabid about immigration, and gets swivel-eyed about ‘foreigners coming over here and living off the State for nothing.’ Well, the Queen is maintained by the Privy Purse, which is paid for by taxpayers, ie the State. She’s of German descent, via the Battenburgs/Mountbattens. Her husband and consort, Philip, is Greek. Scrounging immigrants indeed.
Oh yeah. Nearly forgot. During WWI, the King of England, the Kaiser, and the Csar of Russia, which countries were pounding the crap out of each other for four long wasted years, were first cousins. So much for marriage and alliances stabilising things, eh?