Thinking of Grenfell, I scour the press today and what do I see? Saccharin, toadying piece of tosh in the Telegraph written by ‘journalist’ Hannah Furness:
Prince George and Princess Charlotte delight at Trooping the Colour parade to celebrate the Queen’s birthday
Insensitively worded, sycophantic phrases throughout such as:
The young royals charmed onlookers, seen first peeking through the windows of Buckingham Palace before stepping out into the blazing sunshine.
There, as ever, it was the children who stole the show.
The nation is still reeling from the tragedy unfolding in London, we’re still processing the Grenfell disaster; the horror, the bravery, the shamelessness, the politics, and the emotional magnitude, do people really need stories about the pampered royals thrown in their faces? Dozens of people died in that disaster, including very young children. Is it not right and proper to cancel the pageantry this year? And if it has to go ahead, couldn’t you people play it down a bit?
Enacting a grand public spectacle of power, wealth and privilege at a time like this is gross ineptitude to say the least, and makes Theresa May look like the epitome of the graceful diplomacy. How quickly the Queen has escaped the ‘sombre national mood’, a phrase trotted out to the media immediately after her Latimer Road visit.
To add insult to injury, the Queen’s birthday celebrations, (paid for by the taxpayer) follow hard on the heels of her much-lauded visit to the site of the carnage, (carnage that could have been avoided if only a pittance of taxpayer’s money had been invested in people’s safety).
Interestingly, today I rang London’s Biased Conversation (LBC) to pose a simple question. I felt inspired by Muhbeen Hussain’s brilliant campaign ‘one pound, one Londoner’, which has launched and is in full swing, and my suggestion was going to be that the Royals match the amount raised, so that if every Londoner contributed £1 that would mean 20 million quid from the royals, and if twenty of them pitched in, as Londoners do, that would be £1m each. Not much really and what a nice friendly gesture!
Presenter Matt Frei was busy yawning at a retired health and safety inspector, a traditional target for the anti-EU legislation brigade, who see this as a numpty occupation that gets in the way of making money. But the gentleman had raised the very pertinent issue, ‘why was an exposed gas pipe allowed to remain in place by the building’s fire inspectors?’ You could hear the chuckles in the background. Frei ignored the question and moved on.
Mine was going to be, ‘will the Royal Family be offering any financial support to the Grenfell Tower victims?’
How reassuring for the Grenfell community if the Queen’s response was seen to be pragmatic as well as symbolic. How fitting it would be if her public display of concern was genuine. Open crowdfunding has already raised £2m. Surely, her Majesty could perform more of her Christian PR duty by offering financial aid to the Grenfell residents who are now homeless.
The call handler said my question was ‘very interesting’ and promised a callback that never came. Matt Frei declined to give it airtime. I’m not surprised. There is a serious blind spot in this country about such matters. Few in the media dare to challenge the legitamacy of paying for the Royal Family, much less suggest they contribute now and again.
But wait, has the monarchy (and its media slaves) no morals? Even simple tact would be welcome! How about not showing off your towering entitlement in the face of sudden tragic loss. Perhaps the Queen has not read the mood of the nation correctly. Perhaps her famous PR skills are slipping. Never mind your minute of silence during the trooping of the colours your Majesty, what’s needed is cold hard cash. Thanks for the visit m’aam, but may I respectfully request that you put your money where your mouth is and offer a donation to Grenfell.