Saturday, 30 April 2011

Proud to be British

I loved everything about yesterday.

I loved the sunshine, twinkling through spring leaves on the mall, while union jacks hung like sentries.

I loved the joy. The faith in love that made millions flock to London with flags, faces painted, hearts bursting, smiling and laughing and cheering.

I loved the pageantry. The fairytale carriages, the scarlet and gold uniforms of the guards, the marching bands and the mighty war machines that flew over the heads of the crowds.

I loved the angel-music of Westminster Abbey, making my heart soar, prickling the hairs on the back of my neck , filling my eyes with tears of beauty.

Yesterday was about faith. It was about forgetting probability and choosing hope. Forgetting history, forgetting our own troubles and fears. Just for a day, we chose to suspend our disbelief and cynicism. We chose hope and joy and love.

But proud to be British? Numbed into complicity? Soothed into inertia by the weight of my historic chains? Did I suddenly see the light? Realise that State and Government act always in my best interests? Did I abandon a free heart and searching mind for a quick patriotic high as some commentators hope? Far from it.

In fact the opposite is true. I saw our great goodwill, our history of compassion and progression. Our ability to come together in faith. I remembered the men and women who gave their lives by the million so that we could be free. I remembered a nation that rejected Fascism and slavery and exploitation simply because they were wrong.

The rosy cheeked, well fed guests were symbols. At best they were benevolent philanthropists, at worst they were the exploiters. The grey men from history who told us we were "All in it together" as they marched our sons off to pointless wars. The Lords and Ladies who lived in unimaginable wealth while their subjects died of starvation and cold, the barrel-fat clergy, tipsy on the fat of their flock.

These were the vested interests, these were the status quo. These were the cream of our public schools and the future of our Parliament.

And still I will suspend disbelief and wave a little flag, raise a glass to the happy couple and smile with benign good wishes.

The British people I recognise have "Fair Play" running through their bones. They rejected slavery, fought apartheid, toppled Nazism and introduced a welfare state that is the envy of the world. They hate cheats and will not stand by as their greatest triumph is abused, but neither will they allow that safety net to be pulled away. The good men and women lining the Mall in the spring breeze believe instinctively in protecting the vulnerable.

On the 11th May they will see thousands of sick and disabled people march or wheel or hobble past Parliament, protesting at the effective removal of support that gives their lives dignity. They will see the forgotten, the dispossessed and the truly vulnerable in all their glorious pageantry. They will hear these people tell them that they are being left behind, that they are frightened and feel under attack. They will hear the disabled child explain that her hospice is closing, the cancer patient tell her story of being found "fit for work". They will hear that far from being protected, these people are bearing the brunt of the cuts in order that an Abbey full of privilege can suggest they eat cake.

It's quite the contrast and that British fair play, so stirred and strengthened by yesterday's pomp has never knowingly turned it's back


  1. It was a glorious day sue and my verdict on it was the same as the queens amazing ;D

    Kate Middleton's brother James delivered the only reading at the royal wedding.

    He read Romans 12: 1-2, 9-18 after his big sister had exchanged vows and rings with Prince William.

    James Middleton's reading:

    I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God - what is good and acceptable and perfect. Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honour. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are. Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.

    So you can see from this wonderful reading that we here have to bless the likes of the government who persecute us and to not curse them ?
    All i know is that the wedding was magnificent and only spoilt by David Cameron and George Osborne turning up

    When William and Kate get back from their honeymoon i will write to them and show them the link and direct them to this particular blog and see what they make of it as I'm certain if there like there mother Diana who i had met a few times would find the way this government treats us as horrendous and shocking.

    Both William and Kate will be completely in the dark but none the less it will be a eye opener for them and a lesson learnt that in not only in overseas countries do you have repressive governments but also here in the UK in the persecution of the sick and disabled

  2. I couldn't even bare to watch the wedding for all the reasons you mention above, i think it was very bad decision for the establishment to throw a big lavish wedding at a time like this and it obviously hasn't worked as "opium for the masses" as they seem to have hoped it would.

  3. Nancyrowina
    we understand your pain as we are also suffering great pain but it has nothing to do with the royal family and am sad you couldn't enjoy it

  4. I'm afraid I don't share your faith in the British people. If the Sun, Daily Mail and Daily Express told them the moon was made of cheese you would start to hear people state all the time matter of factly that they would love to try some moon cheese on toast.

    The British people are like gullible children and will believe exactly what the right-wing hate papers tell them to believe.

    The British people are indifferent to other people's suffering as long the newspapers tell them that the victim deserved it and they think it wont affect them or theirs.

  5. @Nanobot

    While I'm somewhere between yourself and Sue in my levels of faith, it is certainly true that the levels of denial and delusion on the part of many are astounding. We are perversely lucky to have Nazism as a point of reference, to be able to say "look, we've seen this kind of demonisation before and we know where it ends up", but even so, I've seen people commenting (Guardian CiF, I'm looking at you) that comparisons to Nazi Germany are "offensive" and hysterical. How?? We like to believe that we are immune to fascist ideas in this country, but we are not. No more than anyone else.

    The Just World mindset has a hell of a lot to answer for. "If something bad has happened to someone, they must deserve it; I know I'm not a bad person, therefore something that bad will never happen to me" = Bollocks.

  6. The thing about yesterday that really angered me (well, apart from my republicanism) was the hypocrisy. We can afford to chuck away £3bn on a wedding when we're in a "national crisis" and need to cut benefits?

  7. @fourbanks - I really hope you do write to them. I was quite moved by the fact that they had written their own prayer and by the words...

    "In the busyness of each day keep our eyes fixed on what is real and important in life and help us to be generous with our time and love and energy.

    Strengthened by our union, help us to serve and comfort those who suffer"

    However I was brought back to reality when I read later that day that cleaners in Buckingham Palace, St James’s Palace and Clarence House are paid just £6.45 an hour and are campaigning for an increase to the ‘London living wage’ of £7.85 an hour.

    The Royal Household receives around £30 million a year from taxpayers – half of which is for upkeep of the occupied palaces.

  8. Also worth remembering the 80/20 theory: regardless of what occurs on a cultural level, 10% of people will always be bad [eg. Blackshirts], 10% of people will always be good [eg. early slavery abolitionists], 80% can be swayed either way. Which suggests that the vast majority of the population are incapable of independent thought. Whether it's true or not, it's an interesting idea.

    I'm torn on the wedding. I was moved by how happy the couple seemed, I like a bit of a show, but did it have to be a state occasion? Surely it's a personal thing? I mean, David Beckham? WTF?

  9. re. Blackshirts I meant the leaders thereof really, I see that reads a bit wrong. Also that guy in the BNP who said that raping a woman is fine because women like sex just like they like cake and they wouldn't be complaining if you gave them cake. I shit you not. He's another one.

  10. It might be best if i write to prince William highlighting this blog and you sue write to the queen herself as you are much better with words then i am ?

    At least we will get a reply if nothing else ?
    They will both be very shocked at least that i do know

  11. @Nanobot

    Who are you to speak on behalf of every single British citizen out there? There are only a small proportion who read the red tops compared to the overall population, and believe me, we are NOT all "gullible children... indifferent to the suffering of others."
    And if you only bothered to look you would find PLENTY of examples which prove you utterly and completely wrong. Here's one to get you started: the blog you just commented on.

  12. You can write to Her Majesty at the following address:
    Her Majesty The Queen
    Buckingham Palace
    London SW1A 1AA

    If you wish to write a formal letter, you can open with 'Madam' and close the letter with the form 'I have the honour to be, Madam, Your Majesty's humble and obedient servant'.

    This traditional approach is by no means obligatory. You should feel free to write in whatever style you feel comfortable.

    Clarence House is the official residence of Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall and Princes William and Harry

  13. Fourbanks - I have a sneaking suspicion that it;s the new generation of royals that might listen.

    Nonetheless, I'll do it in solidarity with your letter to William if you think it would help :)

  14. yes it might be best sue you write to William and so will i and see what sort of response we get back
    He is after all into charities in a big way with harry so that will help

    I myself will feel better for writing and if it helps others then all the better :)

  15. It was an utter sham and waste of taxpayers money.

    Spin it anyway you like we couldn't afford that wedding when the price is to see vital services and support be cut to pay for this and missiles in Libya and Cameron's PR.

    It's a shocking sham and nothing else, and to see a million people support this and not take to the streets when it really matters to their communities and lives makes me despair of the human race.

  16. [QUOTE]agreed verity
    It's a shocking sham and nothing else, and to see a million people support this and not take to the streets when it really matters to their communities and lives makes me despair of the human race.[/QUOTE]

    But as i have said above the postilion we the sick and disabled find ourselves in is not of the royal families making
    We need to lay the blame where it's due and that is on the government and not the royal family as in reality they wont even know this blog even exists
    If and when they do that then is a different matter and we cant pass judgement on the royal family until then to see what they have to say if anything

  17. Are you assuming that the Royals don't know that poor and disabled people exist? Seriously? They're figureheads, and rather convenient figureheads - great to rely upon to steer attention from other news, and that's all. Their power in minimal (if not entirely nonexistent). They exist because Brits love tradition and can't bear to give something up if it's been around for ages, and that's that.

    If it will make you feel happy to write to them, then by all means do, but other than a really cute-worded letter probably by a PR person, what will it actually achieve? What do you expect the Royals to do? Unless they're willing to give up a few of their swank houses to the homeless and cut down to living at a reasonable wage, I can't see the point.

  18. I agree with Oya, they know exactly what is happening within our country but i feel they would be told to mind their own business when it comes to politics. On the other hand you never know, and surely making as many people aware is good for us and the country


  19. oya
    They dont know about this blog hence we will have to write to them to tell them ?
    You cant blame them if they are unaware of this blog ?

    You may well indeed be right and they do know but i prefer to only speak or write of facts and when i receive my letter back as i always have had in the past then i will inform you as to it's contents and am sure sue will do the same

    Then once that is done we will all know about what they think about it so we can move on

    They will be shocked i have no doubt about that and if for any reason there not then as you have all said above the wedding will have been a farce but i would like to give prince William a say first as he and harry do charitable work and what good would that be if the government was to undermine it by making things worse

    They would surely have a thought on it good or bad you cant sit on the fence all your lives and have the sick and disabled abused action has to be taken at some point by whoever is reading this blog that is just common sense if nothing else

  20. Agreed Steve
    making the royal family aware of poverty they no all about that but this blog i can assure they dont big difference if ever their was one

    This blog is about creating protection and the human rights of vulnerable people from the abuse by this government you couldn't get a more nobel cause i can assure you this is the ultimate in caring led by someone like sue who is very ill and supported by the likes of myself who could drop dead at any minute with very low blood pressure anoung other problems like a very painful lung and heart of which i cant take pain killers as they all make me sick so i have to endure the very raw pain of heart and lung pain hence the low blood pressure

    I have other conditions as well that are painful in my neck bladder and bowel and 24/7 feeling nauseous/sick but that is another story

    There are many here that are in the same boat with very painful debilitating condition's who are also trying to get their message heard

    We must let the likes of William and harry know of our severe predicament first and then take it from there

  21. I believe in the "pebble theory"

    When you throw a pebble in a lake, the ripples get wider and wider until they reach every shore. After the first "splash" you have no idea where the ripples go - you can't see every shore.

    I imagine some under secretary will get our letters and send a nice, polite, clueless reply. William and Kate will never see my blog, never trouble to read it or do anything about it.

    BUT.... One day, someone, somewhere, with infinitely more power than us WILL read it, and they will be as shocked and outraged as we are. One day, somewhere it will make a difference. We might not even know! They might tell someone to tell someone to do something that helps.

    If Fourbanks wants to throw a pebble, then I'll throw one with him - it'll only take a few minutes and it certainly can't do any harm.

    I have a sneaky feeling that William has a heart. If I had to choose him or Cameron to be in charge, I'd choose Will like a shot. It just might be the day a private secretary with a profoundly disabled child opens the letters. He might have a think and leave the letter where Will or Kate can see.

    The day I stop believing in miracles or hoping that great things can happen is the day I think my hope would wither up and die completely.

    PS Lets face it, it can't be LESS soul destroying or pointless than writing to Maria Miller, lol

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  23. Personally, the wedding would have only been spoiled if the likes of sour face Tony Blair and Gordon Brown had been invited!

  24. sue, love your pebble theory! yes, we must try everything, so go ahead fourbanks write and write and write... as Sue said, you never know...

  25. Oh... for the first time I have to disagree with you.... well teh first part anyway. :)

    I managed to avoid it completely; even when the idiot man from downstairs came out blethering about how wonderful they were and how gracious...all of which he had gleaned from watching it on the telly, and from a sycophantic BBC reporter, I told him to shut up and tell someone who gave a damn.

    Here's a guy who got 3 titles yesterday for being him, when soldiers are coming back from the war minus a limb or two and having to beg for some money to keep them alive.

    And bless them; there's no side to their high nesses. They didn't use a carriage to make their getaway from all their odious murderous guests; they drove away in a £450,000 car... you know, just like ordinary people do from the majestic Hotel after their little do in the back room.

    If I see another union flag again in my life it will be one too many.

    Now, let's concentrate on the fact that today the NI contribution went up, and the tax credits came down, just in case mr Cameron's fiendish plot to make us all forget that sobering thought, actually worked. The party is over for all of us ordinary people.

    And perhaps if they hadn't spent all that money on security for this odious display of wealth, they wouldn't have had to take the money off the OAPs' winter fuel allowance and fewer of them would have if Mr Cameron on Charles Windsor give a fig about that nonsense.

    Cretins the lot of them.

  26. Jan, the Tao comments on the rule of thirds. One third will promote something. One third will oppose something. One third will go with whichever way the wind is blowing.

    Competition almost always seems to divide people 50:50.

    The bellcurve applies to society. About 5% at either end are top performers. 1% at either end are geniuses or irreparable nutters.

    90% of everything is shit.

    What's the truth? Heh.

    I don't believe the royals are any better than anyone else nor will they change anything. The sclerotic system has them just as trapped as we are so nothing will change.

    Anyone who wants an insight into this could look up 'Stafford Beer' or the 'learning organisation'. Read up on cults and terrorism, and read 'Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion' by Robert Cialdini.

    People will talk about us or talk across us but nobody will talk with us. They don't understand or don't want to know. We challenge their ego and make them feel uncomfortable. Power, status, and wealth are meaningless but people seem to find them important. So we seize these things for ourselves.

  27. @MRadclyffe

    You're right I shouldn't have said the "British people" as there are a few decent people here, my apologies, I was pissed off by all the bowing and scraping to Royalty while the media torments the sick and disabled when I posted.

    Unfortunately the influence of the red tops goes beyond the people who read them. The lies they spout become commonly accepted wisdom repeated as fact by many. Sometimes I see rubbish I've read in them repeated by people word for word, it is quite depressing.

    I think Jan is probably right about the majority being able to be swayed either way.

  28. For the record the royals find illness and disability a taboo subject which makes them feel very uneasy when meeting people and will do all they can to avoid us

    However he doesn't mean to say they don't care as they do they just find the topic difficult as they have no experience of it and in these days it's become very political so they would have to tread very careful if at all in listening to what we had to say after all we do not come under one of there specialities like charities for example

  29. Do they care Forebanks?

    How do we know they care?

    I shouldn't think for a moment that they give a stuff and I've never seen any evidence to the contrary.

  30. Diana certainly seemed to care.

    Will and Kate had a bridesmaid with a visisble disability too - Lady Windsor has a problem with her vision that is clear to see in the pictures.

    It is only very recently that the monarchy wouldn't have considered having her in a set of official pictures - sad but true.

    Good for them I say. Every tiny step in the right direction is always good.

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