Realpolitik (see also Political realism; from German: real “realistic”, “practical” or “actual”; and Politik “politics”) refers to politics or diplomacy based primarily on practical considerations, rather than ideological notions or moralistic premises. In this respect, it shares aspects of its philosophical approach with those of realism and pragmatism.
"Manchmal werden Leute den Wald vor lauter Bäumen nicht sehen."

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

035: The Royal Jubilee - Corruption, Sycophancy and Hypocrisy

The last four days should serve as a reminder to us all, that we still have a long way to go before Britain can be remotely termed as a 'democracy'.

Once the bunting has been packed away, souvenirs put neatly on shelves and the headaches of Jubilee excess eased and faded, we should ask some serious questions about the state of our country. The actions of some over the last four days have been nothing short of despicable, displaying to the world no joyous union of people as claimed, rather a tyrannical and sycophantic homage to 60 years of a non-democratic Britain.

At Realpolitik we have pondered corruption and the republican question before, especially given our supposed policy on unelected world leaders. The purpose of this article however is not to promote, instead to offer another perspective on our blind celebration of an unelected head of state and houses of parliament. I will gladly confess to being a republican supporter, but after all, if Elizabeth was elected by the people, she would have a mandate for her role, thus the republican question would be partly answered. Were she or her successors democratically elected I would have no qualms about her mandate to reign. I include the equally undemocratic 'House of Lords' in this as well.

Key points still remain however. For instance the UK economy returned to recession in April. Unemployment despite recently lowering still stands at 2.65 million with youth unemployment at 21.9% in March, gradually catching up on the rates of our European neighbours. Serving members of front line services on the Jubilee weekend will also receive medals for their cooperation and support. Between 400,000 and 450,000 of these medals will be produced, costing the UK taxpayer between £7m and £8m.

This amongst the £3 billion cost of the Jubilee weekend amidst £1 billion cuts to benefits then is an appalling reflection on our priorities as a society, another indication of our Tory led coalition's intent to widen the gap between rich and poor, and further drive our country to mass subservience. For instance, the cost of the four day Jubilee celebrations could have paid for 9,500 extra members of nursing staff.

Of all the various issues of the weekend however, some behaviours stand out as outright injustices to our own people, for the sake of celebrating 60 years of our sham democracy. A quick peek behind the facade reveals the extent to which we continue to malign sections of our society for the benefit of others.

One particularly shocking article from The Guardian revealed that groups of up to 30 long-term unemployed and 50 apprentices were shipped to London to work as unpaid stewards for the celebrations, forced to sleep under London Bridge to work on the river pageant, as part of the government's Work Programme. Two such individuals are quoted in this article as claiming they had no option but to dress in public, had no access to toilet facilities for 24 hours and were taken to a "swampy campsite outside London after working a 14-hour shift in the pouring rain on the banks of the Thames on Sunday."

Providing an opportunity for positive contribution is perfectly acceptable, worthy of applaud even, but to subject these people to humiliating an derogatory subservience without pay or accommodation - or even basic facilities - is a disgrace. That so many blindly lined the banks of the Thames to wave flags and watch the Royal privileged sail by on a £12m 1,000 boat flotilla spectacle while this happened all around them, makes me further consider the true meaning of David Cameron's speech after the English riots last year.
"There are pockets of our society that are not just broken but frankly sick." 
Unfortunately, 'pockets' seems to have been a rather underwhelming choice of word. The charity in charge of organising these placements, 'Tomorrow's People', have responded by saying they will conduct a review of the situation as a matter of urgency.

However, it may be too fleeting to judge those lining the Thames for their apparent complicity. What's more, is the manner with which any anti-Monarchist or protest was dealt with had more than an air of state control about it. A 'news blackout' was created to block any negative royal sentiment from gaining dominance. This, more than a passing reminder of the fabled arrest of the Sex Pistols for their indignant attempts to 'serenade' the Queen on her Silver Jubilee with a less than celebratory release in 1977.

One of our RP team was in London and observed first hand the demonstrations which had been organised to challenge our monarchist tradition. The BBC reported a group of '100 demonstrators' had gathered, however the true figure, as photos of the event demonstrate, was much larger. On Twitter, James Albury (@alburyj) tweeted:
"No megaphones, no leaflets. #jubilee flotilla was a "free speech free" zone: http://yfrog.com/o0jx9rlj #jubileeprotest @KevinJRawlinson"
"Free Speech Free Zone" preventing anti-Monarchist sentiment
Source: via @alburyj on Twitter

The Republic group also claimed that protesters had been prevented from joining the main body of the protest without any clear indication as to why this had happened, other than to preserve the sycophantic celebration of her majesty. After the kettling of students at tuition fees protests, arrests during 'Occupy' protests in London and the heavy handed evictions of peaceful occupiers of a Glasgow University building, one could be forgiven for questioning just how much 'freedom of speech' one actually has in Britain.

More than the reported 100 took to the streets to protest.
Source: Republic Facebook Group

Speaking of towing the party line, the BBC's 'impartiality' was also distinctly missing throughout the Jubilee weekend, as program after program ignorantly flirted with inherited privilege and a skewed history of our imperial overlords. Indeed the only time allocated to republican sentiments or monarchy-alternatives was a brief news clip of the aforementioned '100 protesters' lining the Thames. The coverage has since been heavily criticised for its inane and persistent crooning. The narrow-mindedness and tactlessly patronising and childlike tone with which any negative comments of their coverage were dealt with by an official spokesman - who interestingly chose to remain nameless - was a further indication of the BBC's true values, and state TV undertone.

We ourselves at Realpolitik have had issues with the BBC's commendation and pompous hauteur, having received several messages, been blocked or 'moderated' showing the BBC's disdain over our articles and comments. Indeed, expect the inbox to be rather overflowing with such warnings, should one be perceived to not to side with 'Auntie'. This is an insult given the BBC is a publicly funded organisation, thus with a responsibility to have no affiliation to one set of values or political leanings. When approached by TheOpinionSite.org, the BBC "declined to comment on how much their coverage of the royal weekend was costing the public in addition to money generated by the license fee."

The official statistics quoted by the BBC, suggesting an 80% majority in favour of retaining the monarchy, are also worthy of debate given both the regional variations and variations when political affiliations are considered. Also since any quick peek into the realms of open forums suggests apathy is the dominant response. We have attempted to question the BBC's research methodologies before with, unsurprisingly, a childlike and indignantly condescending retort.

The last four days have provided a sickening reminder that the Britain that millions turned out to celebrate still has a long way to go before it can consider itself a truly free nation. Those that lined the banks of the Thames to sycophantically wave by an economically ill-afforded appraisal of the monarchy were, by extrapolation, complicit in a small piece of their own oppression. The protesters that didn't make it to the banks, will attest to that.

- Realpolitik -

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