inequalityFeel the rain like an English summer 
Hear the notes from a distant song 

Two weeks ago, in ‘’Tis the Year 2024‘, my time machine transported me forward, on Saturday I was transported back to 1820, the coronation of George IV. 

All Saturday’s coronation of Charles III proved was that nothing changes in this country, and it won’t because a privileged few has a vested interest in seeing that it doesn’t. 

Commentators have said how Ruritanian it all was, a snapshot from ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’. Preposterous costumes that would have looked more at home in the Blitz niteclub, a ceremony oozing a religion that many don’t believe in, and those that do don’t follow it. There was Penny Mordaunt brandishing a sword like someone from ‘Game of Thrones’, and enough jewels to satisfy any number of Indian potentate.     

‘on Saturday I was transported back to 1820’

The day showed that Charles’s talk of modernising the monarchy is just talk. Other monarchies have learnt; Queen Margrethe II of Denmark was proclaimed queen from the balcony of her palace by the prime minister, King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden chose not to be crowned but simply took office during a meeting of the cabinet.

Our modernising was a service that wouldn’t have looked out of place in 1820, complete with the rightly mocked homage pledging allegiance from us, not to us, despite all that we give him.  

Worse still, this allegiance was sworn ‘to his heirs and successors according to law‘, meaning that there is no getting away from the motley crew. Who, not content with inheriting that ever-swelling £2bn royal wealth derived from colossal tax-free hereditary property firms and share portfolios with dividends multiplying yearly, clearly have no intention of going anywhere. 

The entire charade, like the monarchy itself, symbolise a country growing everyday more unequal. Heritage is one thing but that’s not the same as inheritance, which does the damage in a country where birth is becoming destiny more, not less than before. 

‘The entire charade, like the monarchy itself, symbolise a country growing everyday more unequal’

These ‘state’ occasions are supposed to make us feel a part of them, and we need to be otherwise the institution of monarchy ceases to have any meaning at all. But, never think we are equals, our presence legitimises them, we fund them, but, in-turn they give us nothing. 

A good example of this, has been the article which have highlighed how food banks that have been supported by grants from the national lottery have seen that funding diverted to fund events celebrating the coronation. 

At best the majority now tolerate the monarchy, however we now appear to have no choice but to acquiesce, as any protests will be swiftly beaten down by ‘plod’, who can now legally behave like thugs from a police state, thanks to draconian new public order laws and arrest protesters before they had raised a single placard.  

‘however we now appear to have no choice but to acquiesce, as any protests will be swiftly beaten down by ‘plod”

Graham Smith, the chief executive of Republic, had been collecting drinks and placards for demonstrators at the main site of the protest on Trafalgar Square 2-hours before ceremony began, when he was stopped along with five others by police on nearby St Martin’s Lane. Smith was released by the Met police around 11pm on Saturday, at which time the majority of his Republic colleagues were reportedly still in custody. Posting to Twitter, Smith said there was ‘no longer a right to peaceful protest in the UK’. 

I have been told many times the monarch is there to defend our freedoms. Now our freedoms are under attack in his name.’ 

There was a further incident when volunteers who work on Westminster council’s women’s safety campaign, Night Stars, were arrested. 

The three people – a 37-year-old woman, a 59-year-old woman and a 47-year-old man – were taken to a south London police station, where they were questioned, the police said. Among items seized during the arrest were a number of rape alarms. The 47-year-old man was also further arrested on suspicion of handling stolen goods. 

All three have since been released on bail pending further inquiries. 

The home secretary, Suella Braverman, described those laws as targeting ‘those who seek to attack our ways of life‘. To paraphrase Braverman, ‘hers is not my way of life‘, but then I’m not a bigoted, fascist.  

We seem to wallow in pomp and ceremony because it’s a distraction from our mundane life has become. ‘Our economy is barely dodging recession, our government is at the end of a traumatic extended season of malpractice, dishonesty and corruption, and what we are most proficient at globally is our ability to launder and park the assets of the global rich‘.  

hers is not my way of life‘, but then I’m not a bigoted, fascist’

Despite Labour offering to improve our lot with stronger law enforcement, a focus on individual aspirations of home ownership and prosperity they manage our aspiration saying, be ‘realistic about what is possible’. 

The right, devoid of anything else, tell us to focus on the threat of small boats and minorities. 

The Tory’s deputy chair, Lee Anderson, has said that anti-monarchist campaigners should emigrate rather than use their right to free speech to protest against the coronation of Charles III. 

He tweeted: ‘Not My King? If you do not wish to live in a country that has a monarchy the solution is not to turn up with your silly boards. The solution is to emigrate.’ 

Perhaps hate is all they have left? A fact confirmed by the local election results which saw them lose close to 1,000 seats, whilst Labour gained 635, the LibDems 416 and the Greens 200. 

In true Tory fashion there are different opinions as to what needs to be done. 

There is the realistic, such as Johnny Mercer, the MP for Plymouth Moor View, who said his party would need to ‘learn from this‘ and ‘make a material difference to the quality of people’s lives‘. 

Then there are those that will never learn who wish to oust Sunak or pushing his politics towards their own ideological leanings that they think will be more successful with the electorate. 

Within this are calls for the return of Boris Johnson centred around the newly formed Conservative Democratic Organisation (CDO), presided over by the donor Peter Cruddas and backed by the former home secretary Priti Patel. 

‘not a case of ‘bring back Boris’ but that the party should not ‘rule that out as an option longer-term‘ as so many members and the public still liked him’

David Campbell Bannerman, a former Tory MEP and chair of the CDO, told BBC Radio 4 that it was not a case of ‘bring back Boris’ but that the party should not ‘rule that out as an option longer-term‘ as so many members and the public still liked him. 

There is the downright stupid Trussite right pushing for low-tax policies. John Redwood said that Sunak should ‘cut taxes, get better value for state spending and go for growth’.  

Finally, we have the nasty bunch, urging Sunak to go ‘anti-woke‘ and fight Labour by pushing culture war buttons on immigration, trans rights and other issues. These, I fear, will be the ones that predominate and we will see the nastiest election campaign in our history.  

Sunak’s problem is that losses are coming from all-sides; the party has lost ground to Labour in traditional ‘red wall’ and bellwether seats, and to the Lib Dems in the ‘blue wall’ south. Messages such as ‘getting Brexit done’ are no longer there to bind the electorate, and the opposition, led by   Labour and the Lib Dems, are increasingly cementing a narrative about a broken Britain where nothing works and public services have been decimated. 

Within the ‘red wall’ Labour is targeting the recapture of seats such as Stoke. The success in the last weeks local elections in taking back overall control of the city council with 29 seats, bodes well. 

‘Sunak’s problem is that losses are coming from all-sides’

This local election success was well received by voters on Friday morning: 

We need a change; everything has been rubbish around here lately so hopefully Labour can bring things up again. I work in retail so I speak to a lot of people and a lot are saying the same thing – they’re sick of it, people are making promises and not fulfilling them.’ 

Another said; ‘We need more investment in the town centre, the Conservative party are just running it down, it’s terrible. Stoke-on-Trent was Labour for years and years. They’ve got a good chance, taking over again, let’s see what happens.’ 

However, there is the need for a reality check, as polling experts say Thursday’s results were more consistent with Labour being the largest party in a hung parliament. 

Robert Ford, a professor of political science at Manchester University, wrote in the Observer: ‘Labour’s 35% share this year is no better than the party achieved last year, a disappointment for the opposition given its big advance in the opinion polls over the past 12 months. Anxious Labour strategists might have hoped for more.’ 

‘experts say Thursday’s results were more consistent with Labour being the largest party in a hung parliament’

The results have refocused attention on what smaller parties would do if neither Labour nor the Conservatives win a majority next year. Ed Davey, the Liberal Democrat leader, on Sunday ruled out a coalition with the Conservatives but refused to do the same for Labour. 

As mentioned earlier, plod, not unusually, made a fool of itself arresting protestors under the new enacted Public Order Act. The enforcement is one thing, but the act is something else altogether.  It was originally introduced by Priti Patel, and gave ministers wide powers to define the conditions under which the police can impede protest. Suella Braverman has gone further still: her freshly enacted says the police have the right to impose conditions if anyone is hindered ‘to more than a minor degree’, to stop and search anyone without suspicion, and imposes what the UN has called ‘disproportionate‘ criminal sanctions on peaceful protesters. 

This really is the thin end of the wedge, and the beginning of the authoritarian regime which I constantly warned of. A right-wing authoritarian government stamping down on eco-protesters, republicans and anti-racist campaigners. Braverman has made no secret of having the ‘tofu-eating wokerati‘ in her sights. But it also gives the police much wider discretion to decide what is and isn’t lawful protest. ‘We will deal robustly with anyone intent on undermining this celebration,’ the Met tweeted last week. Unless I have missed something ‘undermining’ royal festivities is not (yet) unlawful? 

‘the beginning of the authoritarian regime which I constantly warned of’

As in 1820 we had a ceremony that was beyond credibility when so many are struggling financially. Anyone what dared protest against this was locked-up.  

This shows how stuck in a time warp we are as a country. Many of those who applaud this charade are the one who are still the have nots. Will we never learn? 

‘I say, Charles, don’t you ever crave 
To appear on the front of the Daily Mail 
Dressed in your Mother’s bridal veil?’ 

A most welcome bonus column from Philip this week; if inequality has been a long-running theme, it would be almost impossible to skirt over the coronation without so much as a mention in the context of ot being the ultimate manifestation of ‘them and us’.

So, did Philip get all misty-eyed at the spectacle and pageantry, and dissolve into a contented patriotic stupour? What do you think!

‘I couldn’t let the coronation pass without comment.

One the one hand it was a triumph of organisation, pageantry, and much that is British.

One the other hand we wallow in its success because it’s one of the few things we are good at.

The fact that it summarises so much that is British, highlights just how far we have regressed as a society. A celebration by the haves paid for by the have nots.

Politically, events were overshadowed by plod locking-up any dissenters. The real story is how they are able to do this.

The Tory’s Public Order Act is a direct challenge to freedom of speech and anyone not with them. It is the first step to the right-wing fascist government I constantly rail against.

This will likely be the back-stop of their next general election campaign. All the Tory’s have left is anti-woke racism and the campaign will descend into the mire as they pick-on minorities and will be lapped-up by their fawning media.

What looks like disaster for the government in the local elections is being overstated. Labour took 35% of the vote, not enough for a working majority. I think this bears out my pessimistic predictions that they will retain power.

Lyrically, we start with Visage, and “Fade to Grey”, for the simple reason that all the preposterous costumes reminded me of night at the Blitz. To finish we have the Smiths and “The Queen is Dead”. She is but the monarchy lives on and prospers. Enjoy!




Philip Gilbert 2Philip Gilbert is a city-based corporate financier, and former investment banker.

Philip is a great believer in meritocracy, and in the belief that if you want something enough you can make it happen. These beliefs were formed in his formative years, of the late 1970s and 80s

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