Saturday, 2 June 2012

Happy to reign over us ?

The royal jubilee is getting into gear, and whilst the tabloids are giving us advice on how to make our street parties swing, the broadsheets are ruminating  about the legacy of the 'New Elizabethan Age'.  Inevitably it is a time for comparing 'then and now'. 

Of course there are undeniably significant contrasts with the monochrome Britain of 1952 and today. Most of all we are now a multicultural society and women's role in the workforce has been changed. And no doubt those are probably the things that still  most piss off the red-white-and-blue brigade who are hanging up their bunting this weekend.

But it seems to me that essentially the jubilee is a celebration of sixty years of the same bastards being in charge: 

Back in 1952 we had a Conservative government dominated by public schoolboys who didn't know the price of a pint of milk. Looking back it looks like society was rigidly bound by class, but in fact the gap between the richest and the poorest then was then considerably smaller than now - and the prospects of social mobility actually much greater.

At home  the government of toffs was desperately trying to undo the  previous reforms of the 1945 Labour Government. And on the world's stage they were  trying to justify a place at the table of top nations by crushing independence in Malaya and Kenya, developing their own Atomic bomb and playing second fiddle to the USA in Korea.

Plus ca change. For most of us it's been sixty years of putting up with the same old shit - perhaps with a brief respite in the1960's. And the only real reason to celebrate is to show  solidarity with another old pensioner forced to work well past her retirement date.


No comments: