The Unknown and the Jubilee
The Jubilee Celebrations are making the Queen more popular than she has ever been. Gone is the day that she misread the public mood around the death of Diana. Then the monarchy looked like it was chasing its tale to catch up with the 21st Century. Now with Diana’s modern outward looking children and wife, they have attained fashion and cool. Why has this changed? Is it just the up and down of public mood? Any excuse for a good party? To reclaim Britishness from a culture that is struggling with its identity and multi ethnicity?
Why is it that this distant, wealthy woman still manages in some parts of the UK to be revered? Apparently it is the groups in the lower social classes (C1, C2, DE) where the Queen remains most popular. The Queen does not have much power, and does not wield that power in a dictatorial manner. There is nothing overtly wrong with the queen. All her titles are ceremonial and constitutional. She makes a lot of money for the UK through tourism. The same with the class system in the UK. There are some who believe that is long gone: Lord Sugar from the East End did it: anyone can! This is the 21st Century!
So why does this matter?
It is only awareness of the unknown that brings a different perspective to the Queen. She is generally perceived to be at the top of something: which suggests a pecking order or hierarchy. This in turn suggests that there are some people at the top, some in the middle and some on the bottom. At this point the argument has lost the Royalists: they are intent on tradition, pomp, & spectacular pageants. The queen is not a part of a hierarchy: and her people (subjects!?) do not belong in one. Even if she was they would argue, she sets a tone of consistency, continuity and safety.
Like the abused child who grows up into an adult, knowing intellectually that abuse is wrong and avoids it: yet as they go through adult life they are unknowingly attracted, and find themselves in abusive situations? Perhaps the UK and the Queen are similar.
The UK knows that it does not want to be put down, judged or thought of as less because it is being judged by others who have more money, status or education. But the UK has a strong aversion to change, is deeply conservative, and prefers to live in a hierarchy. To not live in this way which the UK has done for over the last thousand years is deeply unsettling and unwanted. This hierarchy has served the UK well. It has placed the country at the forefront of western culture: a place set in history, having a past, with a population knowing who they are, and having an unprecedented, disproportionate influence in the world compared to its size and population.
But is it still a population who knows who they are? Some would say not. The concept of Britishness was once clear, but now is more muddled and confused. The most powerful forces are internal rather than external. Perhaps this identity crisis, which is forcing the UK to ask who it is, will bring about the exposure of hierarchy. Painful introspection and self- examination is a potent force. The scrutiny of the unknown makes it known. This might create a more informed debate, with more pragmatic solutions, resolved and detached from a hierarchical past.
Have a good bank holiday on the Queen!
The Unknown and the Jubilee
Copyright Adrian Scott North London Counsellor Blog 2012 All rights reserved Disclaimer: This weblog content are the views of the writer and for general information only.
This article is designed to provoke argument and critique.