The Monarchy in Britain
Britain's Crime Family
| || "It is needless to spend much time in exposing the folly of hereditary right. If there are any so weak as to believe in it, let them promiscuously worship the ass and lion, and welcome. I shall neither copy their humility, nor disturb their devotion."
Thomas Paine. Common Sense. Published 1776
Organised crime in Britain has never been on the scale of America's. But this country does have one clan that makes the families of the Mafia look like amateurs. And their real smartness is that they have made sure that it is totally legal!
They have their hands in the pockets of every British citizen. There is no way of avoiding the pay-off. Each year they take £110 million (US$165 million) from the pockets of British people.
Outside of Britain protection rackets are viable in only small segments of society. Here however there are few ways of making or spending money that are safe from the grasp of the Royal Family.
The value added tax (VAT) is levied on most purchases. So almost every time we spend the Family takes a slice. Al Capone made the mistake of not paying taxes. In Britain until recently the Family were exempt from income tax. Now it has agreed to pay. But while it pays with one hand, it takes the money back with the other.
Liz Windsor is also exempt from inheritance tax. In 2002, as she celebrated 50 years as hereditary head of state, she was left as much as £50M by her Mum (the actual amount is secret for the will has been sealed). Unlike her subjects, she received this top-up of her immense wealth tax free.
The takings finance the lavish lifestyles of the chiefs of the family. And what a family they are!
"The royal family, the Queen herself excepted, has entertained but hardly inspired its loyal subjects with antics fit for soap operas and C-grade movies. Most of the family members are intellectually vacuous and profoundly snobbish. The ditzy Prince Charles, the future king if you can believe it, looks bemusedly lost in whatever circumstances he finds himself. His estranged wife, Diana, died in the car of her umpteenth lover during a tryst in Paris, her death the occasion for secular canonisation by populations weaned on television sitcoms and People magazine."
Jeffrey Simpson, Toronto Globe & Mail
Knowing what to call individual royals is a bit of a problem, since they do not like to use surnames. When they do, they prefer Liz's "Windsor" to the foreign-sounding "Mountbatten" of Phil's family or "Saxe-Coburg-Gotha", the name of Liz's German ancestors.
As Charlie is described as "the Prince of Wales," he has the habit of signing himself "Wales," a particularly arrogant moniker. Strange to say, his Dad, "the Duke of Edinburgh," has only a town, not a country, to his name.
The matriarch of the clan until her death in March 2002 was Elizabeth Windsor senior. She was depicted by apologists for the monarchy as a model member of the troubled family, delightful in old age and deserving of the highest esteem. The British Broadcasting Corp. regularly rehearsed for her death. Normal programmes were to be suspended for days in an effort to pitch the British into mourning a death of no special importance.
The diaries of one-time member of Parliament Woodrow Wyatt revealed, however, that this Windsor was a firm supporter of apartheid in South Africa. According to Mr Wyatt, Ms Windsor was also an enthusiastic backer of the former Conservative Party Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, who never won the support of a majority of Britons.
A £643,000 annual hand-out from the taxpayers helped her to accumulate as much as £50M to leave to her daughter. While she lived it helped her pay for 10 race horses, 50 staff, four homes and elaborate parties.
Speak to a British person about a queen and they will still think first about the woman whose profile appears on most British postage stamps, rather than a gay man.
The absurdities surrounding the British "Queen" are numerous. Popularly know as the "Queen of England," she is really the "Queen of the United Kingdom."
Liz's other a.k.a. is "Her Majesty," a title with a comic opera quality and ill-suited to Ms. Windsor. Officially British citizens are no longer her "subjects". Nonetheless when males meet her they are expected to bow their heads. Respectful females should "curtsey."
This is a piece of theatre that requires a bowed head, a bending of the knees and the holding of the skirt outwards! So while a female may be a monarch, rather more in the way of abasement is required of her female "subjects" than of the guys. Since curtsying involves the movement of the skirt, the wearing of trousers seems to be out of the question (but then few women wore trousers in the fifteenth century).
No one, not even the Prime Minister, is supposed to turn their back on the majestic highness of Elizabeth Windsor.
Scion Charlie, would normally inherit the family assets when his mum retires or dies. However, his private life has put a question mark over that.
The world knows much more than it could want about this man born to be the next King of the United Kingdom. The personal life of Mr "Prince" Charles Windsor-Mountbatten has been a hot item for the international news media. What few outside of Britain know what an unhealthy influence this shambling, not very smart, 1930s character has on life in Britain.
Charles has strong opinions about architecture. He does not like modernism at all. Paul Finch, who chairs the the 2012 Olympics design panel, has described him as having "lurched creaking from his cultural graveyard" to attack the "old enemy modern architecture".That is not surprising from a man whose position depends upon reverence for old ways and fear of change. But when he expresses an opinion about an architectural project or trend, a majority of the British people stand to attention and listen.
Many do not weigh up the merits of what he has to say. Instead the suspend their own judgement and aesthetic senses. They pay attention because he is a "prince" and future "king." One architectural practice suffered a major decline in its business after Mr Windsor found fault with its design for an extension to the National Gallery. Where its work had been judged good when judged on its merits, it was now bad because a "prince" had said it was so. Another firm was awarded the contract.
National Gallery extension
Public education is another concern of the "prince." He has no experience of it, did poorly in the expensive private education the tax payers bought for him, and got into an elite university that others with his intellectual record could not dream of entering.
However, this expensive education taught him neither modesty, nor rigour in his thought. He has claimed that heavily subsidised British farmers (he is one himself) are treated less well than "blacks and gays". He complains about the low standard of English spoken, he believes, by those educated in the public (state) school system. What he seems to want is that British people speak like Shakespearean characters or perhaps in the very stilted style of his own speech, which is something akin to the sound of a 1930s BBC public service announcement. Although he never served in the army he enjoys dressing in public in army uniforms.
When Hong Kong was returned to China, it was "Prince" Charles who represented British democracy at the hand-over! The rulers of China could not have hoped for a better propaganda victory as they prepared to bring to an end the recent democratic advances there. Sailing in on the family's yacht, bought with the tax-pounds of his "subjects" he announced that he was speaking for everyone in Britain, though elected by no one and despised by democrats.
This may seem to be a joke. But if you are British, it certainly is not.
A brief guide to the British monarchy
A death in the family
BBC prepares for Windsor death
Why it's no joke