Amol Rajan: Diamond Jubilee is celebration of mediocrity

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I don't know about you but I've always thought the 60th anniversary of the ascension to Head of State of an unelected aristocrat from a half-German family unusually well-endowed with dimwits and philanderers was just the moment to ignore building schools for the poor, hospitals for the sick, and homes for the needy, in favour of a giant boat to sit moored for most of the year and be occasionally chartered by the aforementioned family on their trips through the Commonwealth.

Then again, I've never been Education Secretary. Michael Gove has – indeed, is.

A letter of his to the Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, was leaked to yesterday's papers (presumably by the Liberal Democrats, a party united with Labour in having a leader who declares his republicanism in private, but is too cowardly and calculating to turn down an invitation to a royal wedding). In it, Gove wonders how else we might mark the Diamond Jubilee. "My suggestion would be a gift from the nation to her majesty; thinking about David Willetts' excellent suggestion of a royal yacht", which costs around £60m.

Various government lackeys were wheeled out yesterday to say that of course Mr Gove and the Prime Minister wouldn't, in a time of austerity, expect this to come out of the public purse. Fine, and good; but 2012 is the year in which, as jobs and services are slashed, endless stupid proposals will be made for state funding to mark this allegedly memorable moment in the life of the nation.

Naturally, being a patriot, I am a republican; but I must say that of all the eccentricities of the English, the one I can least fathom or sympathise with is the deification of the dynasty formerly known as the Saxe-Coburg-Gothas. Aside from the Queen – whose public image is crafted by an ever-expanding team of propagandists – this clan is unusually full of fools.

Survey the generations. Prince Philip is a racist buffoon. Prince Charles is a scientifically illiterate champion of policies that would lead to the murder by starvation of millions. He is idiot enough to want homeopathy on the NHS and call GM food the "biggest environmental disaster" ever – greater, presumably, than the Permian mass extinction.

As for charming Wills and Harry, aren't they obviously just the sort of posh nice-but-dims our democracy has struggled for centuries to remove from authority? Several of my friends from university were at Eton with them. They all say the same thing: both were exceptionally unexceptional in every aspect of school life.

The Diamond Jubilee will be presented as a moment of national unity and celebration. It is actually little more than the industrialisation of mediocrity.

 

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