It’s been a crazy few weeks on this bleak little island. Firstly, you’ve got energy bills seemingly getting more expensive by the week, while the party who is supposed to be in charge of the country fights amongst themselves to pick a new leader and, ultimately, a new Prime Minister. The Tories appeared to be missing in action when it came to providing any kind of solution, while a few thousand of their members decided on who would lead the country for the next few years and do things that will affect the millions of the rest of us who didn’t even have a say.
Then, only a few days after the new Prime Minister, Liz Truss, visited Queen Elizabeth II to receive the ceremonial offer to form a government, the Queen dies. Now, the Queen was 96, so her peacefully shuffling off this mortal coil is no great surprise. But, with the whole country already in chaos, it was a rather large catastrophe to throw into an already tumultuous mix.
Now, I’m no royalist, but the Queen has been one of the few stable constants of the last 70 years of UK history and that has finally crumbled. It’s sad that the Elizabethan era has come to an end, but for me that’s mostly because the next era isn’t looking all that bright.
I’m largely neutral when it comes to the Royals. I don’t have a hatred for them, but I would also never feel the need to practically worship a group of rich people that are only there through circumstance of birth. This country does pomp and ceremony extremely well, but it’s hard to be all that interested in it when large swathes of the UK population are getting poorer, while the rich only get richer.
The country has practically been on pause for the last couple of weeks and, if you flick on terrestrial/satellite/cable TV, listen to the radio, or open any newspaper, then you start to get the feeling that the media is screaming ‘YOU WILL MOURN & BE SAD UNTIL SHE’S BURIED.’ The over-saturation of coverage knocked important stories like another devastating study on the effects of climate change far away from the public consciousness. Because, who cares about the future of life on our planet eh? It obviously doesn’t draw eyeballs, and that’s the depressing truth.
Oh, and then there was The Queue. The miles long display of Britishness (we love a good queue) of people who wanted to pay their respects. It’s quite amazing what we can do when we come together and put our minds to it, I just feel like our priorities are often in the wrong place. We consistently come across as a nation that bows down to the ‘cult of celebrity’ when there are so many other important matters that we could be focusing our attention on. Accounts like GrieveWatch on Twitter have been interesting to follow, as they’ve been documenting just how mad this country has become since the Queen died.
Look, I don’t begrudge anyone wanting to pay their respects, or anyone who loves the Royals for that matter. I just think the media reaction to it all has been slightly over the top when there are far more important, and more immediate, crises going on right now. It feels like we’re being told to forget all that for the moment as this is ‘more important’. In reality, the death of a 96-year-old woman who had a pretty cushty life in no way affects the daily struggle that many people are going through in what’s supposed to be the 5th richest nation on Earth.
But it’s over now anyway, and this brief hiatus from the mess that this country is in will be gone by tomorrow. The 24/7 rolling coverage of the Queen’s death will be replaced by the usual 24/7 doom & gloom that’s now a common staple of British life. So, maybe Diamond Geezer is right when he puts it far more eloquently than me that we may ‘just wish that the National hiatus had gone on a lot longer.’