Coffee Shop Sermon (Coronation Edition)
Come ye hither and gather round as I lean forward in the virtual pulpit on this most auspicious Sunday... apparently. I've had my one regulation vanilla latte for the week and have some caffeine boosted ramblings to write.
Unless you have been living under a rock, you will be aware that the replacement Head of State for the (dis)United Kingdom has finished marinating and, after 70 years, is finally ready to be dished up on top of a very British Culture Salad. It's a Coronation, baby! Woohoo! History! You may still be wrapped in bunting as you read this through a fug of cucumber sandwiches, strawberries and a cider headache; with sore eyes from ferocious dabbing of happy tears and voice so croaky after full-throated singing and the bellowing of your allegiance at the television. If that describes how you are feeling right now, please read no further. I do not want to 'harsh your vibe'.
If you are like me, you have a slight weariness of soul from watching television people fawning with dewy eyes as if they were about to witness proof that the mythical space jeebers was real. You might also have a slight crick in the neck and dry cough from repetitive head shaking and exhausted sighing. There could be the start of an ulcer in your mouth from biting your cheek, or perhaps you own bruised upper arms from your other half's lack of appreciation of your witty observations during the ceremony. You may also agree that the huge amount of money spent throwing a party based on a thousand-year-old tradition (cue Gyles Brandreth quivering with reverence at the MAGNITUDE of the HISTORY) is more than a little tone-deaf in the current climate, multiple gold carriages and all.
Then there's the cost of the huge police operation, deploying 29,000 police onto the streets of London to make sure nobody disagrees too vociferously and, push come to shove, make sure there are plenty of photo ops for smiling appreciation of the new monarch. More chillingly, it provides a glimpse into exactly how Charles views his relationship with his subjects. The inclusion of the opportunity for plebs to swear allegiance to Charles and his family (regardless of their ability to sweat or amazing generosity, paying millions to women they have never met for reasons that didn't happen) and the use of police to arrest those who disagree with the privileged position of his family. It has come to pass that wearing a t-shirt saying "Not My King" or being near a transit van containing placards bearing the same slogan is now considered a breach of the peace in fair old England, and the head of Our Republic and others were duly arrested for this heinous crime. Just so the world media didn’t notice, they also erected large barricades around them, so pesky cameras couldn't film them, apparently forgetting the internet and twitter existed. Thankfully, this law doesn't apply in Scotland, and Republicans (no, not red MAGA baseball caps worn by Golf Course owners!) could gather in peace to actually enjoy free speech. There's also the puzzling use of facial recognition cameras on those gathered to enjoy the procession - paranoid much?
Less free speech and poorer seems to be the signature theme to the start of Charlie's reign, and he can be partly forgiven for not giving a shit. Let's not forget that the afore-mentioned 1000-year-old ceremony and the reason Gyles was getting misty eyed is all linked to the monarchy's existence being based on the medieval obsession with wresting control of people from the Pope. Medieval Europe saw an awakening of kings realising they could bypass the bloke (or blokes when France were typically French and tried to host their own Pope 2.0 rather than give the seat back) in the far-out hat to control the money of their people themselves. Charlie's family have a family tree that traces their ancestry back to Jesus himself (i know what you're thinking... I don't get it either) and the part of the ceremony where Charles is covered by a screen like a fallen horse at the Grand National is the most sacred part of the ceremony and is in effect being anointed by God to lead us all. In practice, he is being oiled up by the Archbishop of the Church of England with very expensive olive oil. Oiled up by a priest in private... let that image dance through your head. And with that brush with Tesco Finest (Jerusalem branch) God gives Charlie the UK Christianity franchise over his multi-faith and no faith subjects. Shout out your appreciation, everyone! Like they did in Liverpool.
We recently had a Bank of England Economist tell us we all just had to accept we are poorer and stop asking for more wages, so don't feel bad about cancelling those street parties and huddling over budget sausage rolls instead. At least you would not have missed the two different gold carriages used in the procession - the one going there was a modern version with air con, electric windows and modern suspension. The traditional one could only be used for the shorter trip back because it's just sooooo uncomfortable. Being weighed down with gold doesn't lead to top performance- tradition and history is only to be admired so far. That said, the BBC invoked historical TV viewing after the ceremony by appealing to their core audience with films such as 'The Dam Busters' and 'The Italian Job', hoping to snare their viewership as they awoke from a sherry induced snooze. Thank goodness for Minime2 wanting to watch Ted Lasso.
In conclusion the (dis)United Kingdom have just spent a lot of our money showing the world how unequal, smilingly authoritarian and deeply puzzling we are becoming as a society. Our constitutional monarchy is now led by a hard-boiled King who has been bursting to lead his plebs for such a long time that he has a lot of God-given direction to cram in. He just can't expect us all to spend a lot of our dwindling money on appreciating it. Buckle up, it's going to be interesting. Give me your predictions!