It’s the Coronation this coming long weekend, and I will be doing my damnedest to stay the hell out of it. I think the weird consequences of our residual monarchy within our political apparatus are frankly undemocratic and should be stripped out immediately. I don’t really care, at that point, if the royal family are still titular heads of state, so long as they have no (zero, 0, nil, null, zilch, zip, absolutely sod all) influence over the levers of power. They can even keep the hats. As a practical matter it would probably be better just to have an elected head of state, with all the annoying fandango and the high risk of precipitating Tony Blair that entails, but I’m not picky. Give me a modern democracy and you can have all the kings and queens you like. In fact, let’s have dozens of the buggers. I can envisage a Britain where thousands of monarchs migrate annually from the north of Scotland to the wealds of Kent, gathering to form deep bonds before separating to sun themselves on the beaches of Rock or swimming the Channel and drifting down through Southern Europe to mingle with the potentates of other lands in Tangier, or making the perilous journey to Cape Town, besieged all along the way by fast-moving predatory journalists, finally resting at safari lodges before their slow, inevitable hike to Istanbul and the long Orient Express home.
I made that sound a lot cooler than I meant to. It’s because I’ve got Titanium Noir in my head. (Launching May 16th US, 18th May UK, in case I haven’t mentioned it.)
Having doubts about the monarchy isn’t particularly uncommon in post-Elizabeth II Britain. It is, however, a perspective that can get the crap kicked out of you and see you arrested. This government, of course, loves to arrest people for exercising the rights they claim to champion. Freedom is everything, except when it’s ours rather than theirs. But it does seem as if this particular issue is a hot one.
And I am unsafe at any speed. I should not be allowed out unaccompanied in general, but for some reason the monarchy makes me particularly incontinent in the wit glands, and that’s definitely not allowed. We may not have lèse-majesté, but we surely have the attitude. So starting on Friday evening I will be parking my social media presence and reading a book until at least Tuesday. (I say that: it’s quite possible I’ll forget the whole thing’s happening. We aren’t allowed a street party, thank the Maker, because we’re on an ambulance route.)
So - even on Bluesky, where I am now active (for a given value of “active” that includes essentially waving at people and then forgetting about it) - I’m offski. It’s just better that way, which is of course what they mean when they talk about a “chilling effect”. If I’m going to get interviewed by police it better be because I said we needed to treat the climate crisis as a crisis rather than a stroll down Capitalism Lane, or because I had the temerity to give money to a charity pulling refugees out of the Channel because the coastguard was definitely not instructed to ignore emergencies. Those are worthwhile causes. The Coronation is a sideshow.
Write to me when I’m in Monarchy Jail. (No, not really, this is a subscribe button.)
Well, so far German press has been (surprisingly, blessedly) quiet about the coronation. You know, if the release date for TN had been a bit earlier, we could‘ve had a read-along weekend. Missed marketing opportunity, really.
I heard things about Bluesky. Mastodon generally is not in favour, but they wouldn‘t be. I‘d take a look, but so far it‘s invite and celebrity only. I guess we‘ll see if it‘s still fun, when they let plebs like me in.
What always confuses/concerns me is when my fellow Americans get angry at criticism of the monarchy.