"The first priority is to reduce the deficit and restore economic growth. Action will be taken to accelerate the reduction of the structural budget deficit."
- Elizabeth II, Queen of England, The Queen's Speech, 2009.
This year, as every year, many people will halt their Christmas celebrations I order to listen to the Queen's Speech. I was raised in a republican household. Something I am happy to be open about. The Royal House of Windsor was given no more thought then any other family, except for the occasional dark comment to leave my father's mouth. Too complex a subject for a child to understand, to frequent an occurrence for it to be special enough to single out. Looking back with the eyes of a young woman, I can piece together what was said.
My mother is who I considered to have raised me, she was far more open to others in here views. Had she had a colder heart, she would have made a wonderful diplomat. She is the only person who I have ever watched the Queen's speech with, and she only ever asked me too once. I wish I had complied with more dignity, however as is often the case with temperamental preteens, an argument ensued. In the end she said, how can you ever hope to fight against what you don't understand.
I only tell you this because I want you to understand the emotions involved. Very often, emotion is considered detrimental to any logical argument. However if emotions are ignored, then we no longer acknowledge the 'human factor'. In times of crisis and great pressure we often forget what is truly at stake, we forget the 'human factor'.
This year has been difficult for many people, for many different reasons. Just like any other year, it has had it's ups and downs. The reason I chose the quote above to open this 'comment' is that this is just one more example of a promise made, and yet it was always incapable of being fulfilled. You hear government representatives and experts talk about how we are in recession we are coming out of recession but this is not something which so easily translates to our lives. The government talk of deficit and debt as if that is something that should be innately understood. In truth many ill be poorer this year then they have ever been. In truth we may no longer be able to afford to educate ourselves, clothe ourselves or even feed ourselves in the manner we have become accustomed to.
There have been many protests this year, those prone to dramatics on the left wing are calling it a return to the dark ages of Thatcher. Those on the right say people run riot in our city streets. Have we returned to the dark ages? Have we become animals, no longer capable of intelligent discussion? When did we become so lost? The media, who were once our allies in the search for truth, now all have private political and/or financial agendas. In order to survive they have become a twisted mockeries of truth mongers, that show us only the worst in life. For better or worst we must wade through information to find opinion untainted. The pickings are slim, I fear even this offering will fall flat.
In the protest regarding student fees and education cuts, many have been injured, no doubt on both sides. Property has been damaged and opinion tainted by overblown press reports. At a protest in Liverpool I witnessed no casualties, no arrests, no fear. Anger is an expected side affect of such things, but not a single person who fights the cause correctly would hope for that anger to evolve into violence. Those who have committed crimes during protest are not part of the peaceful collective. In Dublin peaceful protest met police brutality, in an exercise of force not seen this close to our country in regards to peaceful protest. The Irish Times questioned whether or not Ireland had become a police state. There is no doubt in my mind that this is something that Great Britain should be aware of. I fear that if tensions continue to rise between both sides, then a small minority will cause trouble, they are already doing that. The Student Union leaders are always quick to disagree with this minority, and the government and media will always flat out condemn them. Can we as a society be so quick to turn on the products that we have created? Why does no one see this violence for what it is? A cry of the heart, so volatile that when no one listens, people have no choice to act out. We are at a turning point, but I fear it is too late.
We have created a culture of escapism, made our beds out of reality TV and gossip magazines. We are shocked that people drink to escape, but we give them nothing to stay sober for. I wonder that we have lived for so long, seeing that humans seem determined to self-destruct.
This year I have a message for the Queen, last year Forbes magazine estimated that you have a net worth of around $450 million, this is most likely incorrect, a gross exaggeration by the media to excite, tantalise and anger. However I think unless the personal fortune (excluding property ect.) is less then £500 then it's safe to say that that is a lot of money collected from the country. We are reminded that we are all in this together. That is the 'Demolition's' favourite saying. We are all in this together, with our expenses claims, our bankers bonuses, our extraordinary private fortunes. We are all in this together, we will all enter the same hospitals, we will all pay the same student fees, we will all have the same student loan. For some £500 pounds is a lot of money, worth committing a crime for. We are all in this together. Your majesty, I want to know how much debt your grandson's owe to the student loans company. Your majesty, I want to know how long it has taken you to save for your families gifts. Your majesty I wish to know if you are unable to afford to fund your most basic of human desires? Will you ever be in the position of being unable to afford to learn. To reach your highest potential? Education should not be unaffordable. It is one of our most basic instincts, it governs how we absorb everything from the day we were born. Of all the unnecessary spending that occurs, all the millions on redundant non-functional weapons systems designed to destroy, because we can, all the millions of bankers bonuses, expenses and personal fortunes of the royal family. We are not in this together, we have never been more divided, and as we stand divided there are vultures who make money of suffering and escapism. Those who fight will loose before they ever sense the winds of change, and those who only hope to provoke thought, will fade into the ether of the information highway, lost in the ever massing flow of spam, pop-up adds and videos of pandas sneezing.
Your majesty, does it make you sad to see the people of your country struggle for basic happiness and fulfilment, knowing that it will most likely be in vain? Do you even care that people are lied to daily, by the people who should be working for them. Or do you feel comfortable in the knowledge that you can do nothing. Do you seek refuge behind that thought? If you were given the opportunity to change things tomorrow would you take it?
You are no more or less part of the human factor then anyone I have ever met. You have family, pets and surely you have hobbies. You must have had a favourite subject in school, mine is drama, I was hoping to continue to study at PhD level. I want to become a doctor and share knowledge, and I want to do that until the day I die. I want to learn, to write. Do you understand those desires?
I wrote this because I do not understand how someone who has everything they could ever want, can wake up each morning and ignore that people are angry and hurt, they feel betrayed by their country, and day by day they loose hope. I don't understand, I try, but if I woke up tomorrow with your resources, wealth, property, notoriety, I would set up a free university.
I know you will not do this. I want you to understand me too. Understand that I am just another person, asking for freedom, from her government, her media. Begging people to do something. I cannot apologise on behalf of criminals who have been representing students, they are not the cause. But they are our fault. They are everybody's problem. You think because we don't all suffer financially that we will not all come to a tragic end, but it is already here. We have begun our descent and I don't know if there is a way back. Every crime committed, every person hurt is our problem, it is our fault. We are not individuals, but one people, who must be held responsible for our actions.
This is not a faux spiritual message. This is not the end of the world, it will continue to spin long after we have gone. This is not a political message, I am not hoping that people will take this up as a battle cry for a new dawn and society. This is not even an outpouring of emotion and socio-political angst, although I'm sure many will read this and disagree. All this letter is, is an effort to understand something that seems so counter intuitive.
We need economical growth, yet we waste money, we need people to make money and spend it, yet we remove their ability to gain qualifications, we need hospitals and healthcare, but we constantly berate the services who do the best they can. Our country is not Great, it is not a United anything. This is a country I am no longer proud to call my home. I am ashamed of the people who make our decisions, and I am ashamed of the people who voted for them. I am ashamed that there is outrage against these people as if we weren't aware this was going to happen. I am ashamed at our arrogance and our hypocrisy. These are not feelings that will simply be ignored. They call for a change that will not come easily or soon.
I hope that this will provoke thought, nothing more.