After being sworn in to the privy council, the good old Murdoch rumour mill started churning and speculating as to whether or not Jeremy Corbyn, a lifelong republican, would be kneeling before the Queen and kissing her hand. Despite frequently invading on the Royals’ privacy and thereby defying the monarchs with their flashing cameras, The Sun and it’s entourage were quick to denounce our Jez as the traitor and untrue Englishman lurking in our midst when he refused to kneel.
Yet their fixation on tarnishing Jeremy Corbyn as some anarchist commie, ready to nationalise your grandma and pretty much ensure the colossal destruction of our entire country is simply muddying the waters of what quite clearly is a debate that needs to be had. In 2015, in a supposedly equal society, just how valid is the monarchy?
Its all well and good saying the monarchy is part of our British values and tradition and therefore something we should be proud of, but let us remember exactly what this symbolises. The Queen might look cute and Prince Harry might like someone you’d love to play beer pong with and maybe even baby George in his cords can get the toughest of hearts to utter an ‘aw’, but that baby is also the owner of an £18,000 wendy house and that cute little lady with the sassy pant suits’ utility bill came to an eye watering £3.3 million. This is all in a time where over 1 million people are using food banks and facing drastic welfare cuts under Tory rule – does this still sound like a tradition we want to keep?
It seems bizarre that a first world country claiming to be at the forefront of democracy has such a vast and widening inequality gap. Perhaps there could not be a greater irony than an unelected head of state, announcing the newly elected parliament’s planned welfare cuts, encouraging us all to stick together and tough it out from her state-funded palace in London. Well, after you, Queenie…
So whilst the government boasts of progression in equality for all, it seems that we are supposed to ignore the elephant in the room that is Her Royal Highness and those 2,868 diamonds sitting on her crown, the ever growing queues outside food banks and the increasing homeless on the streets.
Corbyn’s recognition of this inequality by refusing to kneel down and kiss the hand of another on the pure basis that she was born superior to him should be seen as an acknowledgement of this nonsense as opposed to a snub on ‘British values’. Besides, when all the important work is now done by an elected body, what good is a ‘British value’ that serves no purpose other than symbolising inequality? Keeping a tradition on the argument that it is a tradition is absolutely ludicrous, because guess what? Sometimes our traditions are rubbish! With this logic, slavery, public executions, illegality of homosexuality and the oppression of women should all be unpheld as British traditions.
The idea that such a notorious feature of our country is ultimately a system based on the principle that some people are born superior to others undermines all our claims of a more ‘equal and fairer Britain’ at a time when we really do need it most. Kneel or no kneel, we are a democratic nation striving towards equality, so can we please follow Mr Corbyn’s lead and start acting like one?