21 September 2022

OPINION: Whether you like the Queen or not, this has been mass hysteria

Danny Price reflects on the Queen’s passing, and what it signals about the UK as we know it today.

So the Queen died, Lizzie kicked the bucket, she’s out of here. Let’s be real, she was 96, she had great innings, and this was expected. Was it sad?….for me, no, but for a lot of people, it was devastating. We’re talking about the person whose head is on every coin and every banknote. People genuinely believe that there was some sort of connection between them and the monarch. 

But however you feel about Queen Elizabeth II, it is impossible to deny that this is the end of an era. It’s the end of an era that in all honesty seems a lot like a great big indoctrination scheme. And let’s be clear, it still is. 

The Queen’s passing didn’t shock the world but make no mistakes about it, we are shocked. On one hand, we have extreme royalist loyalists, and people who are genuinely saddened by this situation, and on the other hand, we have everyone else. In 2021 a YouGov survey indicated that only 31% of people aged 18 to 24 thought that we should have a monarch. The country has now been divided again. But that’s nothing new, is it? Brexit, the pandemic, strikes, immigration, race, class, sex… The list goes on. 

The UK has never been more separated than in recent times. The country is pretty much an analogy of that time some of us saw “the dress” in different colours, except that our divides actually affect people’s lives. We are split. And we’re not talking about even splits or logical splits.

Right now it seems like it’s the most irrational sides that are the ones getting what they want. We had wall-to-wall 24-hour coverage in relation to the Queen’s passing/funeral/the ‘Queue’, yet very little on the other important issues. There’s beem hardly anything in regards to the millions of people affected by the floods in Pakistan. There’s nothing much about the Russians retreating from Kharkiv. Climate change and Covid-19 deaths are vastly ignored. These are important things that affect us, yet we have been reduced to some sort of opt-in system.

If we want to know about other issues, we had better go looking for those stories ourselves because the news channels have only been interested in reporting on the monarchy and this extravagant 12-day mourning period we’ve just experienced. Post funeral, too, this attitude appears to have been milked as much as possible. Even two days after the funeral, the headlines are more focused on Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby ‘skipping the Queue’ to see the Queen’s coffin. The majority don’t want this, but the minority is telling us we’re having it. How very democratic.

What we are seeing right now, with our eyes is nothing short of cult behaviour.

We’ve had BBC reporters call the cost of living crisis — something that will see thousands of people die this winter because of the government’s inaction — “irrelevant” in comparison to the Queen’s passing. We’ve had hospital appointments, some for cancer patients, being rescheduled or cancelled. Theme parks were closed, flights were cancelled, and an amateur Sheffield football team are being investigated for playing a match in the days after her death… Center Parcs was initially planning on turfing out paying customers on the day of the funeral until due to backlash they reconsidered. Bike racks and kids’ rides were closed, and supermarkets removed the ‘beeps’ from self-service scanners. Whether you like the Queen or not, this has been mass hysteria. 

When people rightfully pointed out exactly how ridiculous it all is, they were labelled “disrespectful”. When people exercised their right to free speech, they were arrested. One woman filmed authorities following her around Edinburgh because she was holding a sheet of white paper. It was insanity: “Mourn the monarch or face persecution”, seemed to be the sentiment of the day. 

And forget about bringing up colonialism, as you would have surely been met with the response of “now is not the time”. So, when is the right time? When will it be the right time to talk about all the people who died at the hands of our monarchy? When will it be the time to discuss a formal apology to the ancestors of the brutally murdered — that is, people who were killed without dignity for not handing over their land in name of the Queen? And when are we finally going to put a lid on this insidious racism spawned from the monarchy? If not now then when?

Because let’s be straight, the actions of the monarchy have played a huge role in the existence of racism in this country. The dehumanisation of black and brown colonies invaded by British soldiers set a standard for how many citizens have viewed and treated those with different ethnic backgrounds ever since. The damage caused by this has been vast. Racism is unfortunately not a rare occurrence in Great Britain — racism is rife. Discrimination is everywhere, and it has descended from the top. You could even go as far as to say that racism is the only working example of the ‘trickle-down’ economics system that is now being championed by our unelected Prime Minister, Liz Truss. 

On the 5th of September, Chris Kaba was shot and killed by a metropolitan Police Officer. Police believed that the soon-to-be father, Chris was “armed and dangerous” — he wasn’t. What we have here is a case of history repeating itself — when Mark Duggan was murdered by police in 2011, it was headline news. Thousands took to the streets in protest. Back then people said that it would happen again, and 11 years later, it has, but the response has been very different. 

There’s been a blasé investigation, a delayed suspension of the officer, a lack of arrests, and even an unsettling amount of authorities who are threatening to quit in protest if the officer responsible loses his job — yes, you read that correctly. Coverage has been sparse, and I can guarantee that the Met and their PR were sighing in relief that the pressure was taken off them in light of the Queen’s death. Equality is really not our strong point in the UK; the Queen coverage is more important than justice, but we could have guessed that.

People in other countries and media in other countries are saying that this is the beginning of societal collapse in the UK. Earlier this month, Professor Eliot Jacobson stated that the UK is likely to be the first world country to implode due to Brexit, government spending, corruption, and inflation. There’s also the fact that global businesses are simply not investing and are instead actively withdrawing business… This should be terrifying. With an estimated cost of over £6bn spread across the 12 days of mourning, a state funeral, a coronation, and the rebranding that comes with having a King, we, as a country simply can’t afford to mourn to this extent.

And just when you think it couldn’t get any worse, there came Prince Andrew, gliding down into the grounds of the proverbial ‘secondary school’ of the public eye, ready to serve under the new King Charles III. In the last two years, Charles has pretty much only done two things that have come to the public’s attention: one, accepting millions of Euros from a Qatari sheikh in a suitcase and/or carrier bag, and the other… accepting millions of pounds from the Bin Laden family for his charity. Charles will be a fine King.

But back to Andrew, who was presented with a sexual abuse lawsuit by Virginia Giuffre, and had ties to a notorious sex offender, Jeffrey Epstein. He is probably the most hated royal in the country, but we can’t be surprised that he’s looking to make a comeback. It was always said that he would be gradually reintroduced to “public service”, we just never thought it would be this soon after the scandal. People are being called disrespectful for expressing how they feel… But when it comes to Meghan Markle, it’s a completely different kettle of fish.

At the end of last week, The Daily Mail has run 15+ stories specifically about Meghan. Avid Mail readers are saying that her behaviour was a contributing factor to the Queen’s death, and she’s even been criticised for holding the hand of her husband, Prince Harry. Twitter is a flood of Daily Mail patriots creating the hashtag #GOHOMEMEGHAN, and they even elevated it to ‘trending status’ on Twitter last week.

Then there’s the funeral itself, broadcast on pretty much every terrestrial television channel (bar channel 5) in an attempt to achieve maximum grieving. Really? Did we really need every channel to show the exact same thing? Of course, we didn’t.

Make no mistake about it, what is happening right now in the United Kingdom is a deep hyper-madness that I fear we will never recover from. A weird patriotism that has severely blinded anyone who lacks the most basic common sense. Thousands of people have been sentenced to death this winter due to our government. Hundreds of thousands of people are homeless whilst the person who owns the most land on the planet lay in state. 

News networks are ignoring the institutional racism stemming from the people who are meant to keep our streets safe. There’s no attention to our new Prime Minister Liz Truss’ plan to burden the British taxpayer with £130bn to try and solve the energy crisis. The EU, meanwhile, is going ahead with their windfall tax on big energy companies. 

It’s a shame and it’s a joke.

What we need is real honest media to be asking the right questions and reporting the right issues. We need to scrutinise the Conservative government for their draconian actions. We need to ask why is it right that the government, which costs the British public in excess of £54.6 million per year, have only been in session for 5 days out of 61. Whether you voted for the Tories or not, it’s simply not right and it needs fixing. But in order for that to happen, things need to be discussed and reported.

On the World stage, the UK has looked bad for a while now, but with the passing of the Queen, and the country’s reaction to it, we’re heading towards dangerous territory in terms of our reputation and our functionality. In the end, it will only be the citizens who will suffer.

  • Writer Danny Price

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