Sadly, my packed social diary means I will be unable to attend any jubilee street parties. I have a busy weekend planned, mostly consisting of hiding in a darkened room.
And I will not be alone – not that you’d know it from the wall-to-wall mediagasm that gives the impression we’re all rampant royalists eager to roll out the barrel and do perplexing things with bunting. Along with the millions of people throughout the UK who don’t hold with the hereditary principle I shall be avoiding the telly, radio or other mainstream media outlets.
I appreciate that there are many people who revere Queen Elizabeth I (as she should correctly be termed as she is the first Elizabeth to rule the United Kingdom). I get that they want to celebrate 60 years of being subjected to her. I wish them all the best through the Jubilee weekend. I hope they have a fine time eating red, white and blue cupcakes and waving Union flags (though Scottish royal standards are also available).
But I don’t share their enthusiasm and am not really sure where being “a fan of the Royal Family” ends and “slightly weird stalking behaviour” begins. And I will not be indulging in any rousing choruses of the music-hall ditty that encouraged its audience “rebellious Scots to crush”.
If I lived in Surrey I might trot along to St George’s Hill and raise a libation to the Diggers. Of course, 17th century agrarian commune is now a millionaires’ private estate so security would bundle me off quite quickly. Strangely appropriate, don’t you think?
I might saunter along to the Wallace monument and remind myself that there’s a darker side to all that pomp, circumstance and kowtowing. But I don’t want to get caught up in any crown-based celebrations.
Instead, I shall repair to the garden with Dick Gaughan on the iPod, pour myself a large Ardbeg and leaf through Tom Paine’s Common Sense. (And I might add a dose of Tolstoy to leaven the mix.)
I shall be paying particular attention to Paine’s Of Monarchy and Hereditary Succession section. Written, 176 years before Her Maj became Her Maj it suggests that this kings and queens stuff is not such a great idea. It surprises me that this, well, common sense idea has not gained more traction.
Perhaps, if you share my scepticism that some are born better than others, you might like to do something similar. No street parties are required, no flags, no obsequiousness, no unhealthy obsessing about the lives of people you’ve never met. Just a little bit of common sense.