20th May 2018
Windsor Castle – book now for 2019….
If every board member of every company listed on the FTSE 100 was a woman, it would not be a step forward for the equality of the sexes. If every board member were black or gay it would not represent a step of any significance for tackling racial equality or homophobia. Why? Because the issue is not gender, race or sexual inclination, it is about oppression. No matter what race or gender you are from, if you rise to the top in a system based upon exploitation you are simply being incorporated by the exploiters.
The fact that Margaret Thatcher was a woman did not prevent her from being an active enemy of the people. Theresa May’s gender is not lightening the load of those facing homelessness, universal credit or zero hours contracts.
The aristocracy in the UK, the monarchy in particular, is the ruling class soap opera which is designed to distract people from these considerations. The incorporation this weekend of a US citizen of mixed race into the British monarchy is, we are told, a sign that the monarchy is changing, becoming more modern, reflecting more closely the society of which it is a part. To suggest that this is arrant nonsense is regarded as treachery in some quarters but we should not expect anything different from the Neanderthals of Little England.
The same cry taken up by the liberal press in the UK however, cannot be excused. The gushing coverage of this weekend’s royal wedding, which kicks off the front page by Tim Adams in The Observer (20th May 2018), is a classic example. Covering the build up and the service in fawning detail Adams concludes that, because Meghan Markle addressed a conference in Atlanta last year about racism in Hollywood, “you couldn’t help feeling that she had changed perceptions of princesses just a little bit, but perhaps forever.”
Similar twaddle is repeated by Alfua Hirsch, as The Observer continues its seven pages of royal wedding coverage, who suggests that Markle was “allowing her wedding to be not just a pageant of tradition, but also a celebration of blackness”, due to the ethnic diversity of the guests from TV, film and sports ‘royalty’. Jess Cartner-Morley may have been the victim of some vicious sub editing but the piece on Markle’s wedding dress with her by-line was headlined, “cool and beautifully simple, a dress fit for a princess and a feminist icon.” Feminist icon, really?
Buried further on in the comment and analysis section of The Observer it fell to Kenan Malik to restore a semblance of sanity to coverage, stating,
“As for the belief that Meghan will break down barriers for black people and make minorities more accepted as truly British, that’s as anachronistic as the monarchy. Faced by an abusive skinhead or by a police officer about to stop and search me, my first thought has never been: “If only there was a black Windsor, then I might be accepted more.””
Meghan Markle may well be a perfectly decent, humanitarian and well intentioned person. Swapping a relatively successful acting career for the job of selling royalty as celebrity to the British people however, may be her biggest performance to date. As Kenan Malik concludes,
“Equality does not mean making inherited privilege more “diverse”. It requires us to get rid of the whole shebang. Adding a splash of colour to a feudal relic is not my idea of social progress.”
However it is dressed, the royal wedding was a knees up run by millionaires to celebrate their continued privilege, while the nation could only look on and count the cost. At the end of the day, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that, whatever the colour of those on the guest list, when it comes to the British ruling class the only colour that really matters is the colour of money.