The Plastic Hippo

July 24, 2013

Vivat! Vivat Regina!

Filed under: History,Society — theplastichippo @ 2:08 am
Image by Cecil Beaton via Victoria and Albert Museum

Image by Cecil Beaton via Victoria and Albert Museum

Only the most miserable, mean spirited and morally bankrupt curmudgeon would not celebrate the safe delivery of a new life into our world and only the most nihilistic would deny that it takes a village to raise a child. Unfortunately, the latest product of royal procreation will not be raised by a village but will instead be nurtured, moulded and engineered by lurid sensationalism and the perverse principle of the divine right of kings.

Every parent fully understands the fear, trepidation and pain of pregnancy and child birth. To counter any accusations of hypocritical patriarchy due to not being in procession of a womb, I should point out that I still bear the scars from nails dug deep into my forearm in the minutes immediately prior to our first born drawing her first breath. A strange foible of the human condition is that fear and pain is immediately replaced by relief and the sheer, unmitigated and absolute joy at holding your baby for the first time. On that occasion, our birth plan requested a discharge from the maternity unit at the earliest opportunity. Six hours later, with mother and baby both safe and well, the three of us were sitting on our sofa at home with the summer sun streaming through the window and bird song being the only sound. Everything had changed. Instead of me being at the centre of the universe with everything revolving around me, I was now captured in an orbit around a beautiful new star.

I imagine that the Duke of Cambridge is experiencing similar emotions today but that is where the common ground of fatherhood ends. It is unlikely that the second in line to succeed the throne will be allowed the crucial moments of intimacy to sit with his Duchess and future Queen gently cradling the third in line to succeed the throne. The media reaction to the birth of a baby has been nothing short of ludicrous. Mercifully occupied with the task of finding food to put on the table and attempting to earn enough to find shoes for the feet of children, I missed most of the ridiculous television coverage of the announcement of the royal birth. However, I did catch the edited highlights of the utter drivel on the 10 o`clock news. With a nod to the Trade Descriptions Act, it`s probably time for the BBC to drop the word “news” from the show`s title and thus avoid expensive litigation.

The days of warrior kings hoisting a son and heir aloft on a shield before crowds of fierce bellowing clansmen are long gone. Now it is the paparazzi on step ladders who shout at the baby and Hello magazine offers a seven figure tax-free sum for the official photo shoot. Sycophant royal “correspondents” like the simpering Nicholas Witchell have difficulty with bladder control every time our noble betters walk, talk or smile. “How serene; how gracious? They are just like us ordinary people”. With unscrupulous advertisers attempting to cash in on the royal birth, shares in companies that manufacture sick bags must be going through the roof. There is a delicious irony in fact that given the rubbish being spewed out by 24 hour rolling news and hysterical social media, the official announcement was made via a piece of foolscap paper affixed with Blue-Tack to an easel and a pantomime town crier. All that was missing was Rafiki, a blue-bummed baboon with a magic stick holding the new lion cub aloft in order for the common herd to bow down in deferential homage.

This skip full of media guano was topped by a bowel movement of a Prime Minister claiming to speak for a nation that didn`t vote for him. Unbridled joy, it seems, is now mandatory as is dancing in the streets to celebrate the birth and any failure to spontaneously sing of Land of Hope and Glory in the queue for the Food Bank will be considered as an act of treason. The tiny minority of individuals who think that giving the richest woman in the world a pay rise is questionable and those that suggest the first in line to succeed the throne should pay tax on his commercial interests are clearly terrorists and will be dealt with firmly. In these difficult times of austerity, one million quid to redecorate the nursery at Kensington Palace is public money well spent.

Constitutionally, there was a huge sigh of relief that the latest heir to the throne was born as a boy. God forbid that a girl should become the anointed monarch due to an accident of birth in this the 21st century. Thus the patriarchy is preserved and the blood line remains a unifying constant for the nation despite invasion, usurpers, civil war, revolution and abdication. As an added bonus, his arrival moves some of the more dubious princes in line to the throne down the pecking order. The young prince finds himself destined to continue the ancient and noble tradition of protecting the people of Albion and maintains a monarchy rich with huntsmen, polo players, adulterers and helicopter pilots. Surely the best advice that can be given to him is not to go on a helicopter ride with his uncle Ska to a canyon about to endure a stampede by wildebeests.

When the fabulously wealthy and privileged aristocracy and their fabulously wealthy commoner supporters are criticised, their response is that it is merely the politics of envy. This could not be further from the truth. Cameron, himself a descendant from a bastard child of William IV and therefore a fifth cousin to the Queen, drones on about superb public service and how we all love our munificent aristocracy. I do not envy this new prince. The nanny, the footman, the butler, the valet, the polo lessons, the helicopters and the indoctrination that shooting wildlife is a fun thing to do is not something I would force on a son of mine. This new little prince will never go to bed hungry or go to school hungry and be told by the Education Secretary that he is useless and thick. He will never have holes in his shoes, he will never feel threatened on the street; he will never suffer the humiliation of queuing up for free school meals. He will never meet the children born this week who one day he will rule over.

So, hey, media; leave the kid alone. Give him at least a childhood. And, hey, Cameron; leave my kids alone. God Save the Queen.

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