Monthly Archives: January 2012

Yacht for the Queen? Is she worth it?

While being generally anti-monarchy, I’ve never really had a huge interest in discussing or debating the authority and legitimately of it. But something has prompted a change of heart. Conservative MP Michael Grove decided to announce his now Government-backed suggestion of buying the Queen a £60 million yacht to commemorate her Golden Jubilee, and this has of course started the debates again. In this blog I will address if it is right or not to have a hereditary head of state, and if it is right or not to expect people to cough up this money when they may not support her power. Right.

Lets look at the most common arguments AGAINST the monarchy:

  • It is an unfair cost to the British public.
  • It’s un-democratic to have a hereditary head of state.

Understandable arguments. To those who have not looked into it. And as per usual, the answer is in the history. King George III, the

Cheers George.

monarch known for losing the United States for the Empire, is lesser known for his role in the changing hands of the Crown lands. As KG III continued to grow his debt, the money he received from the rent of the Crown lands were not enough to make the payments. He therefore gave Parliament the lands in exchange for having the debt removed and to receive an annual salary. Since KG III, all the monarchs have voluntarily given Parliament the lands in exchange for getting the money they need to lead their lifestyle. Is this fair?

The answer is… Unfortauntly (for an anti-royalist like myself) yes. Although it is debated what the actual annual cost of the monarchy is, it is generally considered to be around £40-£60 million pounds. This seems like a huge amount of money for someone that has never received a single vote of legitimacy! In fact, it’s under a £1 per UK tax payer per year. And if we look at the income the Government makes on the Crown lands, it turns out to be about £120 million pound, making taxes roughly £2.50 cheaper per year. Ah, but we can kick the monarchy out and keep all the profits for ourselves, lowering taxes further! Nice try. While KG III did create a deal with Parliament, it was for the profit from the land, not the actual land. So technically, they still own it. So if we stopped paying them, they’d simply have to take it back from the lands they voluntarily give up. Sneaky royals. This is without going into the tourism argument  (And if you’ve ever paid to go round a royal property you’ll know what I’m talking about. It’s big business). So, that’s the money argument out the window.

Now for the slightly more convincing  lack-of-democracy argument. The Queen is the person who allows Government’s to take power, therefore she must be the most evil supreme rule of the United Kingdom, right? Wrong. She is a theatre act. A symbol. A sideshow approving what Parliament would do anyway. Actually, scratch that. I’m sure she is planning world domination, including a declaration of war on every country ending with the letter a. But then again, maybe not. So, there’s that argument gone.

(See further arguments at the bottom of this blog).

So.. considering the wealth the Queen brings in to the country, and the fact that she doesn’t destroy democracy, should the UK taxpayer be expected to buy her a yacht for her Jubilee? In short, no. 

She doesn't need two..

Just  because this country makes more off the Monarchy than it spends on it, should we be made to    pay even more? No. Of course not. What if you don’t even like her? Why would you want to get her a  present? Times are hard for people, so they shouldn’t be asked to pay more. So, what’s the solution? Private funding.

If Grove wants to buy the Queen a yacht, Grove can buy the Queen a yacht. As can his ol’ mate Lord Ashcroft, willing to give £5 million to the cause. Make the people who want it, pay for it. In fact, extend that idea to the whole of the monarchy. If you want it, you pay for it. Even if only 50% of people wanted it they would only have to pay about £1.20 a year. And then who gets the benefits from it? That’s right.. The WHOLE country.  After all, she chooses to be the Queen of the country, and we are ALL her citizens. Regardless of who gives her a few quid. The perfect solution.

So this is me high-fiving the Queen, and sticking two fingers up at Michael Grove. You out of touch silly little man… Stop distracting the country about the only thing they really care about when it comes to the monarchy.

'I knew the royal wedding was worth it'.

(Further arguments that somewhat detract from the point and strength of this blog: 

  1. The Crown Lands were never  really King George III’s to give. They were never any monarchs to give. They were stolen by William the Conqueror from the people, and since them these peasants have been allowed to live on them.
  2. The idea of a hereditary monarch detracts from my argument on the importance of class the other day. This divide is a huge problem, and one that this type of thing enforces.
  3. One of the only places you are likely to find the cost of £40 million quoted for the cost of the Royal Family is on the Royal website. If you search the internet you will find an array of costs from £20 million to £200 million, and unfortunately it’s likely to be at the cost of the scale. Still not disadvantageous, but not as lovely as I made it seem.
  4. People could, and probably would still enjoy a lot of the Tourism from Ex-Royal places of interest. Hey, if we executed them like the good ol’ days we’d probably rake in even more cash in tourism.
  5. People swear loyalty and even fight to death under an oath to the royal family. Come on..  ) 

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Why does it matter?

From some of the responses I’ve received regarding the last blog, I believe I may have cut myself short. But hey, give me a break – It was the first blog I’d ever written.

Quite a few people have asked me why what I wrote on class matters to society? And I realised I didn’t exactly expand this in the last blog. I said it did, but not why it did. Since the 19th Century better working hours have  been introduced and wages have increased, so people must be doing well. Right? Wrong. I’ll attempt to discuss what is so bad about people believing they are middle class, when they are not.

Government’s have told people they are middle class and those people have bought it. Why wouldn’t you? Being respectable and well-off is obviously an attractive prospect for anyone. Thus, one that is easily believed. Yet this con is a trick designed to make people think they are doing well. In Britain, we have the highest level of personal debt within Europe; and can you guess who owns most of this debt? The supposed ‘middle class’. (Note: Britain may be the highest within Europe, but this trend is being followed by everyone).

In reality, people aren’t doing much better than before. Pay is obviously higher, but so are energy costs, insurance, buying a house, the cost of running a car… even food is constantly increases in price. This was fine whilst pay was increasing, but that increase has stopped. The full force of pay cuts and redundancies is yet to be felt, but people are already being driven into poverty by the tip of the iceberg. One in four children in the UK are being born into poverty, and this definition is lower than you might think. As for employment; British workers have arguably the worst employment rights in Europe. Ever since Thatcher these rights have eroded. Days have become longer, there is less job security and managers often use more oppressive management styles than before. These are not signs of a middle class which is doing well, yet governments constantly mislead them into believing they are. Obviously, if they realised the truth,  the governments would be called to account for much more and the voting demographies would divide. The wealth in Britain has been redistributed upwards for years, and under Blair the gap reached it’s highest levels since World War I. 

We’re also being told we must work for much longer, and for less at the end of it. Pensions are being cut drastically and people on pensions are already struggling. The government has tricked people into thinking they are living the middle class dream, but soon they will realise it’s nothing more than a working class nightmare. People racked up debt due to the delusion of being middle class enforced by the availability of easy credit (.. not so easy now), and now the good times are over, people are going to find out what it really means to be middle class. All of this is happening while large companies, such as Tesco, avoid taxes by having their offices in the Cayman Islands. The supposed ‘middle class’ built lives based upon this leant credit, in exchange for sacrificing real increase in income and earned living quality. The rights that had been promoted to the lower classes after World War II have been taken back by the banks and the governments, but they forgot to tell people they were doing this.

So, the denial of class existence and the promotion of classlessness by Governments is important and devastating. The wannabe middle class, the self-deluded working people, and even the real middle class are finding themselves being pushed downwards. Realisation will come that this system has been rigged, and that promises are unobtainable. The only way to win is to realise, to resist and to resist hard. Perhaps all the Occupy programmes are examples of people doing this. But if people continue to accept the nightmare solutions which are being given, I fear the future will be bleaker than it is currently imaginable.  Stop falling for Governments who claim Britain is a classless society, it is not.

The Government offered fake dreams as bribery to let go of real ones. And the situation will worsen until people realise.

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Class…

Yes.

I’m also disgusted at myself for writing a blog, my first blog, on the same topic as my latest essay. But bear with me. This isn’t going to be about the historical analytical power of the concept, but more a discussion on an a view I’ve had for a while. Rather than reciting my essay, I’m going to discuss what class is, the problems with it, and why it is important. Enjoy.

Since Thatcher was in power the British population have had it drilled into them time and time again that there is no longer a class system, and specifically no longer a working class. The idea that we are all middle class now is an interesting one. But I believe it’s wrong. Thatcher, Major and Blair have all tried to install into the country that a class system doesn’t exist, only choosing to refer to ‘class’ when discussing something they want rid of, something negative. (Ironically, the only way Thatcher could defeat the classes was to be obsessed with it). Thatchers time in government ended with a massive decline in the manufacturing power of Britain, replaced by the service industries.  Twenty years on, the people that now belong to those industries believe they are middle class. You are not.

Marx  defined the working class or proletariats  as people that sold their labour for money, but do not have the means for production. Today, this would mean builders, factory workers, nurses etc. These people are working class. Occasionly people try to hide from it behind their education or ‘middle-class jobs’, but you’re fooling only yourselves. Why do people try so hard to claim this ‘middle-class’ status? Because the government say it’s what you are, and what it’s normal to be.

BUT PEOPLE NOW WORK IN OFFICES“.. I hear you shout. You’re right. And when Marx wrote his theory, those people would have been seen as middle-class; to be a clerk was very classy (best pun ever). But now consider the skills required to have the majority of office positions? They require a basic literacy to fill in a few forms and tick a few boxes. All degree’s have devalued somewhat, some becoming practically useless. These aren’t the middle class of Marx’s day, they are the working class of the 21st Century. Office work has become so de-skilled it’s almost on a par with manual labour, and with this comes the pay cuts. White-collar work is mechanised. Pay cuts and redundancies run rampant among this ‘middle-class’ while being told that the financial bonuses those at the top receive are worth every penny.  These pay cuts will continue to increase on par with the increase of the ‘de-skilled middle class’.

I’m not knocking these people, far from it. I’m telling them to embrace that they are working class. A class that isn’t dying, regardless of what the politicians want you to believe. It’s growing. Their re-branding should not fool anyone. In terms of income, the UK is the fourth most unequal country in the world. Yet we are supposed to believe everyone is moving towards the middle? No. Sure, the revolution that Marx predicted has not happened – but the polarisation he predicted? The numbers speak for themselves.

Only through realisation and unity can anyone hope to make a difference. To challenge the gross underpayment of people that are ‘unskilled’. The sooner this realisation happens, the better. Cheers.

.. Time to go write 4,000 words on ritual in Imperial India.

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