Sunday, 8 May 2011

Royal Hopscotch


Every now and again a wave of hysterical patriotism sweeps over a country, leaving those who do not wholeheartedly embrace the flood, stranded on their own rooftops, surveying a watery wilderness.

In Britain patriotism has been confused with monarchism for centuries, as is evidenced by our national anthem: God Save Our Queen. Other countries' national anthems are about the country or state but our national anthem is about the monarch. Consequently being patriotic in the UK invariably involves a contest to see who can be the most sycophantic about the queen.

The recent royal wedding was the spur for a positive tsunami of such sycophancy. Normally intelligent and rational journalists, who might ridicule the posters and statues of despots in autocratic regimes across the globe were nevertheless reduced to describing the floral arrangement for the wedding or interviewing loyal subjects who had got up at four a.m. to get a good place in the crowd outside the abbey. In Libya and in Syria people were being shot on the streets but on the BBC the main news was the details of who was on or off the guest list.

Even little children were affected. While I was pushing my grandchild around the park in an attempt to get him to go to sleep I came across an area where children had chalked out numbered squares for a hopscotch game. What caught my eye, however, was the union jack that had been drawn beside the hopscotch frame. Beneath the union jack the child artist had written the slightly ambiguous slogan: 'Go Queen!'

Punchier and less dreary than our national anthem but the message is still the same.

3 comments:

Paul said...

It would be inappropriate for me as a Yank to pass any kind of judgment on your national traditions and values, but I must confess I have a hard time understanding how a monarchy can sustain in the modern age. I suppose it serves some purpose beyond the purely rational. Certainly we have our "royalty" over here.

Derek said...

Maybe 'Go Queen' was a political statement by republicans!

Brian Keaney said...

Maybe Derek but I suspect not.