One of my photos

Royal visit

November 1st, 2006 · Posted by Skuds in Life · 13 Comments · Life

Only three days to go until the Queen pays a visit to Crawley, and the sense of apathy in the Skudder household is almost overwhelming. Chrystal might be looking forward to it a bit as Liz will be visiting her school but Jayne and I are not particularly big fans of the monarchy as an institution.

The Queen last visited the town 48 years ago. It was well before my time, but I have a feeling that the town was briefly Tory-controlled for a year or two about 48 years ago, since when the town has been obstinately Labour-controlled until six months ago, and suddenly the old girl decides to turn up again. Apparently all the various official engagements will be full of wall-to-wall fawning Tories with the remaining Labour councillors, many of whom have served the town for a very long time, mostly sidelined. That much is to be expected, but I am a bit concerned that our councillors are upset by this.

The Crawley Observer is running a 5-page preview this week and threatening a 12-page supplement next week – at least that can easily be discarded along with the property and motoring sections – and I am sure the News will be doing something similar. The best bit about this media frenzy is a passing comment in one of the papers recently that the Queen will “be able to see how much the town has changed since she last visited”.

I don’t know about anybody else, but if I had visited a place for a few hours and then spent the next 48 years visiting thousands of other places, I don’t think I would return to first place and be thinking ‘didn’t that estate agents used to be a hardware store?’.

I think it is safe to say that I shall not be taking the day off work to wave a flag on Friday.

EDIT: I was a few years out… apparently it was only 37 years since the last visit.

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13 Comments so far ↓

  • E Bungle

    Have to disagree with you on this one mate,
    I am a great fan of the Queen, I think she is the last great royal the world will ever see. She has reigned over a time where the place of the monarchy has changed forever, I doubt any monarch will ever truily be royal again. I doubt the queen has that much time left and I will definitly try and make it down on Friday just to see the last element of probably the greatest defining feature of our land.

  • BarnieBear

    I agree with E Bungle. I’m looking forward to her visit. It will be a sad day indeed for this country when she pops her clogs. We don’t appreciate our monarchy enough – look at the alternative. We used to be a great country, without the monarchy to pull in the tourists we are just a has-been nation hanging onto the USA’s coat tails. No thank you. It’s also very easy to bash the local rags – but what are they meant to do? Ignore her?

  • Danivon

    Even with the monarchy, we are a has-been nation. I don’t really see a need to replace them, but we really could do with a lot less reverence for what are, essentially, a bunch of freeloaders who had the good fortune to be descended from some German princes who weren’t Catholic.

  • Skuds

    I thought there might be a little bit of disagreement on this one.

    I would not know whether the queen is good or bad as a person and I don’t know whether she is good at her job or not. What I do know is that it is not right or democratic that the country did not have the opportunity to decide who would be most capable as head of state. The point is that even if she was terrible as head of state she would still be there after more than 50 years.

    I don’t think that the UK is only attractive as a tourist destination because of its royalty. The lack of a monarch does not seem to keep tourists away from Paris or Greece or the USA.

    Sad indeed if “the greatest defining feature of our land” is a foreigner!

    But maybe having a royal family does bring in tourists – there is always a temptation to visit and see primitive cultures clinging to out-of-date social structures.

    “Will any monarch truly be royal again”? Yes – if you go to some of the middle-east or far-east kingdoms. Depending on how you define being royal they could be more royal than our monarchs have been for centuries. In terms of having power over their subjects some of them are still absolute rulers, and the magnificent costumes and decoration are more impressie than we have had for a long time. Or maybe royal families only count if they are European.

    I just think that the heritary principle is as bad a way to choose a head of state as it is to choose members of a second chamber of parliament.

  • Richard

    The Queen isn’t the problem; it’s the Establishment system which she props up which is the problem – and that is a democratic obscenity.

  • Richard

    Anyway, it looks unlikely she’ll make it on Friday – the ol’ back problem.

    If she does make it, it seems it will be only for the morning, and ‘hubby’ will do the afternoon.

  • Skuds

    I forgot to mention, in reply to BarnieBear, that of course I would expect the local papers to cover a visit from the queen.

    Sometimes they even manage to create a story out of a photo of a c-list celeb passing through Gatwick and say they are visiting Crawley, so an official visit by the head of state deserves a page perhaps – maybe two like the head of government got when he visited – but 17 pages over 2 weeks is a bit OTT. And I’m not sure if the full page union flag counted as one of those.

  • E Bungle

    Once the queen goes I would probably not care if the monarchy goes.

    As for it being a shame for the most defining element of our country to be a foreigner! I wasn’t aware you were that far to the Right!! 🙂 even foreigners have the right to try to make their lifes a little better.

    If we did scrap the monarchy we would have to keep their homes upto scratch and keep the changing of the guards to keep the dollars and yen coming in.

  • Skuds

    Ok, I was asking for that wasn’t I? It didn’t come across the way I meant it to. I was trying to be ironic about the fact that the symbol of our Britishness is not even very British.

  • Chris W

    sorry to butt in here….
    You only have to look at George Dubya or even
    Little Johnnie Howard here in Australia to see that a ‘democratically’ elected leader or head of state (yes, I do know the Queen is still Australia’s head of state) is not necessarily any less absolute than a hereditary one.
    At least the Queen can’t do any real harm!

  • Richard

    Any real harm ? She can (and does) when Royal Prerogatives are implemented on her behalf…like Blair going to war with Bush, clutching his Royal Prerogative, and shoving it up the posterior of Bush – along with himself.

  • Skuds

    ChrisW – bad example there – didn’t GWB get the job on the hereditary principle? 😉 But seriously, under our system you could get someone that bad and then be stuck with them for 50 years. In America you do get the illusion of choice after 4 years.

  • Chris W

    I was only trying to make the point that the Queen’s position is largely symbolic and not effective. I don’t really see a lot of difference between Blair ‘clutching a Royal Prerogative’ and John Howard claiming he has a mandate from the Australian public to go to war on Bush’s coat tails. We elected Howard some ten years ago and he has been systematically trying to push us back to the days of Charles Dickens ever since. (Thank goodness I left Crawley before Thatcher got in, I would have hated to live through that!)