View from the Bridge: 26
by John Morrison
26: A Hint of Heresy
The Stoic is a haven for beleaguered monarchists. It's the sort of pub where people say "What would we do without the Royal Family?", and expect to have their unswerving devotion reflected back. "Yes, aren't they marvellous" is the correct response. Don't bother suggesting that we might just as well replace the entire Royal Family by a troupe of over-sexed chimpanzees.
The regulars raise their glasses today to the royal couple who are celebrating their Golden Anniversary. Instead of spending the occasion lounging around at Balmoral, eating shortbread biscuits or sportingly blasting semi-domesticated game-birds out of the sky, the Queen and Prince Philip are out meeting their loyal subjects. "And what do you do, peasant?", inquires the Queen, trying in vain to suppress a yawn. "I work a backbreaking 10-hour shift, ma'am, for the sort of money that you probably shell out for a half-decent bottle of port", replies a man at the front of the crowd, before being felled by a barrage of police truncheons.
The royal family brings in millions of tourists, the loyal subjects in the Stoic are quick to point out. No problem: we'll lay on other diversions to keep the crowds amused. We could hold public floggings, to make examples of persistent offenders, like shoplifters, single parents and eaters of biscuits in bed.
If, as some suggest, the royal yacht Britannia has been such a big earner of foreign currency, then why the hell are we scrapping it? Why aren't we building a whole fleet of royal yachts and making some serious money? At least Windsor Palace has been been lovingly restored to the way it was before the fire. You have to sympathise: it's no fun when one of your holiday homes burns down.
We all need someone to look up to, insist the Stoic's regulars. And that may be true. It's just bizarre that we should direct our deference towards a bunch of unelected parasites who think that every street is red-carpeted and that everything smells of paint.
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