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Back to reality

Comments Off on Back to reality 18 May 2018

I’ll issue a few qualifications for the blog that follows. I very much like Prince Harry on the basis of everything I have heard and seen about him. His passion to bring about the Invictus games. His deep and, I believe, sincere commitment to improving mental health. I don’t think I have been taken in. I think he is a good man. I like Meghan Markle too. Two relatively young people living their surreal lives through a lens. I don’t actually believe in the monarchy but it isn’t worth fretting about.

The polls suggest that the vast majority of people are apathetic about the royals, whilst a significant minority adores them to the point of obsession (in my opinion). The vast majority of people feel that the the royals, who remain stinking rich, should pay for the whole shebang, including security and most of us will be doing something else. I do.

It is believed that the wedding will cost the taxpayer £32 million. In the grand scheme of things, that’s a relative drop in the ocean. However, in times of austerity, it becomes a lot of money. I read today that 60 people have been murdered in London so far this year, a city which has suffered huge cuts in police funding and numbers. 72 people died in the Grenfell Tower inferno because it was covered in cheap, inflammable material. Then I read that Harry and Meghan’s wedding cake will cost £50,000, the florist an eye-watering £110,000 and the catering £286,000. I was still taking this in when I heard a desperately upsetting story on the radio.

They interviewed a homeless man in Windsor who was living in a bus shelter. This was not the media stereotypical drug-addled, alcoholic waster, but a man who had lost his job and had nowhere to go. The police had told him he had to move on but as his entire worldly possessions were in a number of large bags, he couldn’t do so on his own. There was no whingeing. He didn’t think he could physically carry his possessions to where, he did not know. Perhaps the overstretched police officers could find him another bus shelter out of sight of the royals? We wouldn’t want to upset the visiting royal fans by showing them some actual reality, would we?

None of which is the fault of Harry and Meghan. On the basis of any sensible, objective argument, their existence is ludicrous. They have little say in their lives which are conducted almost entirely in the public eye. They will never have a proper job, other than to be rushed around from place to place shaking hands with people and, in Meghan’s case, having a shed load of children, the first of which will arrive, I predict, by this time next year. No. They are not to blame when the taxpayer can shell out vast sums of money for cakes and sausage rolls but also tolerate terrible inequality and a terrible fire that would take the lives of 72 innocent people and blight the lives of thousands more. It’s the contradiction I don’t understand or accept.

The truth is we can afford both. We can have the royal wedding and we can end the obscenity of homelessness and poverty. We can have a street party to celebrate Harry and Meghan’s big day and we can also fund the number of police officers we need to end the blight of murder in our capital city.

If only we had politicians of compassion and vision and we could have it all, pretty well. Instead, our country is run by politicians of all colours who don’t and probably can’t see beyond tomorrow and some can’t even see that far.

Good luck to Harry and Meghan. I wish them nothing but love and happiness. Seriously. Good luck also to the survivors from Grenfell, huge numbers of whom still live in temporary accommodation and the homeless man about to be moved from his bus shelter. Tomorrow, vast swathes of the country will switch off from reality and be consumed by what is almost a fairy tale. Reality can be ugly and cruel. I hope we don’t forget it for long.

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