Death of the Queen Mum

‘We will never see her like again’, was just one of the much quoted sentiments that politicians, newspaper editors and royalists mouthed, parrot fashion, when the Queen Mother died at the end of March. Newspapers published tens of thousands of column inches to commemorate her ‘service’ to the British public and TV stations ran no end of documentaries about the royal family, convinced the nation was’ united in mourning’.

Socialists undoubtedly found the whole episode nauseating and were relieved when the official ten days of mourning were over. For one thing, more pressing news – for instance the crisis in the Middle East – was marginalized and there was no call for a minute’s silence for the 400,000 children under the age of five who died from hunger and related diseases during this period.

For ten days we were asked to close down our critical faculties and mourn the passing of someone who had lived 101 years and 238 days of uninterrupted luxury. Make no mistake about it; the Queen Mum was born with a silver spoon in her mouth, into a family that owned 3 luxurious homes at a time when 99% of the British public lived in various degrees of poverty. At her death she had 80 staff taking care of her in 5 residences – a fact not wasted on a friend of the present writer who works in a care home, where the average shift sees 10 carers and domestics looking after 42 elderly people in various stages of mental and physical deterioration. Mourning the Queen Mum

thus became a time when we were asked to forget the aged of our own class who have endured lives of misery, only to end up forgotten in care homes or on the corridors of hospitals. Was her life worth more than any one of these?

As could have been anticipated, no mention was made to aspects of the Queen Mum’s life that royalists would wish we would forget. For instance that she supported white minority rule in Rhodesia, that she called coloured people ‘nig nogs’, that she opposed immigration or that she had physically challenged relatives put into mental institutions, later telling the public they had died. Her residence in Scotland was situated in 25,000 acres of luscious Scottish countryside and was valued at £20 million. It cost £500.000 a year to run and she stayed there only six weeks a year. No mention of this little extravagance in the press.

And where was the mention about her being the guardian of the captured German war documents that summarised the Royal visit to Nazi Germany in 1937, of her influence with successive British governments to prevent these documents coming to public light? Sending a copy of Mein Kampf to a friend, she commented: “Even a skip through gives a good idea of his obvious sincerity.”

Instead we were treated to tales of the royal family’s visit’s to London during the Blitz – negligent of the return trips to Windsor and the evening meal of swan – and let in on endearing little family secrets such as the Queen Mum doing Ali G impressions.

It is estimated the Queen Mum was ‘worth’ £60 million, yet still managed to sponge of her relatives and receive £650,000 from the civil list, while being £4 million overdrawn. The crown that lay on top of her coffin was encrusted with 2,500 diamonds, any one of which could have given the average pensioner years of relative luxury.

What socialists did find saddening was the number of our class who felt moved to tears by the event, who stood for up to ten hours to file past her coffin, who stood with solemn expressions as she was carried to her final resting place. We are saddened that so many allowed themselves to be duped by the confidence trick of letting royal spectacles stir us to a near hysterical and unashamed jingoistic emotionalism which runs counter to our true class interests.

While groups like Movement Against the Monarchy boasted about celebrating two royal deaths in two months by ‘getting pissed’, socialists took a more considered view. The morning after The Queen Mum departed, we all woke up to find we were still sadly members of the working class, and we would wake up tomorrow to find the same if the entire house of Windsor shuffled off its collective mortal coil overnight! Though we would certainly not boo the abolition of the monarchy, we would hardly find much to celebrate. For we would simply exist in a republic as wage slaves, every aspect of our life still subordinated to the worst excesses of the profit system.
The sole purpose of this parasitical and unscrupulous family is to serve as a repository for ‘history’ and ‘tradition’ which together with that other stronghold of anti-working class mythology – religion – provides the glaring iniquities of capitalism with some form of moral authority.

Honestly considered, the contribution made to society by the Queen Mother and her greedy and incestuous clan is zilch. Each one is happy to consume in a day as much resources and commodities than a 100 members of the working class, indeed 10000 times as much as a small African village. Yet we are encouraged to bow with suppliant’s before this bunch of indifferent, self-seeking leaches like imbeciles, crying and sobbing at their misfortune, negligent of the immense global suffering of our own class?

If the injustices that plague our world were given one tenth the media coverage the Queen Mum’s funeral did, then the case for world socialism would have been well publicised and our ranks greatly swollen

In this golden jubilee year – in which we have twice been brow beaten with royal sentimentality by the media (the death of princess Margaret also) – isn’t it time we snapped out of our hypnotic vulnerability to such garbage and threw the whole sorry spectacle back in our masters’ teeth?

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