​Bizarre spectacle of Queen's speech reflects broken system & out of touch government

Richard Sudan
Richard Sudan is a London-based writer, political activist, and performance poet. His writing has been published in many prominent publications, including the Independent, the Guardian, Huffington Post and Washington Spectator. He has been a guest speaker at events for different organizations ranging from the University of East London to the People's Assembly covering various topics. His opinion is that the mainstream media has a duty to challenge power, rather than to serve power. Richard has taught writing poetry for performance at Brunel University.
Britain's Queen Elizabeth delivers her speech to the House of Lords in the Palace of Westminster, during the State Opening of Parliament, in London, Britain, May 27, 2015. (Reuters/Alastair Grant)
So, last week the Conservative government's plans were officially rolled out, rubber stamped, by way of the Queen's customary speech, following the formation of David Cameron's government.

Thousands of people are expected to attend numerous protests in the capital on Saturday to demonstrate against further planned cuts to welfare and the scrapping of the Human Rights Act.

The sobering reality of David Cameron's plan only feels compounded, like a slap in the face, by the surreal and insane spectacle, of watching the actual head of state (the Queen), articulate the other so-called head of state's (the prime minister) pre-election promises, which are to be continued for another five years. Five more years of cuts and slashes to public services that is, with ever increasing powers of surveillance for the state and its agencies. Great news!

A relatively low number of the UK electorate turned out at the general election a few weeks back, still securing the Conservatives a majority. Low voter turnout, producing the first Conservative led majority for some 20 odd years - no wonder the Conservatives do not want electoral reform - and this is the backdrop the Queen's latest address.

The Queen's speech, the policies evoked in it, and all the hype surrounding the lead up to it, absolutely reflect the distance between the ruling elite and ordinary people.

The Queen sitting amid jewels and relics, stolen and pillaged from civilisations and lands far from our shores, outlining the government’s plan to further marginalize the poor and clamp down on freedom, is a bitter pill to swallow. It’s a bizarre and cruel twist, however, to see the symbolic head of an empire, historically and to the present day, carrying out the same function as ever, manufacturing consent for the sake of control. It’s almost as if after all these years, the silly ceremonies and pomp are still all that's needed to keep the masses in their place before an advancing police state with more and more powers. The ones subjected to the function of the monarchy (fittingly called subjects) often seem the least aware of its function, believing they are being patriotic and loyal to their country by worshipping the royal family when in reality they are simply consenting to be ruled, consenting to be governed.

People submit to the already existing order, whipped up and fuelled by a toxic brand of nationalism, convinced of an ever present existential enemy, the source of all the problems in society-the 'others' syndrome. Blame foreigners, blame Muslims, benefit fraudsters, the 'urban' underclass, for society's ills- anyone in fact, except those doing the looting at the top, a narrative to which the MSM at least, wilfully complies.

Rather than observing royal ceremonies as part of the problem, an archaic hangover to a nonetheless very real empire, people swear allegiance to a power structure that is indifferent to their own lives in Britain, and which continues to leave a trail of destruction around the world.

When we think about the legacy of the British Empire and the role of the monarchy, perhaps Thomas Jefferson was right: "Dissent is the greatest form of patriotism."

Anyone who really cares about Britain and the people that live here, should be trying to break away from a power base which oppresses its people. Many think the success of the SNP at the general election, is an indication of changing weathers, suggesting that perhaps the union itself will not last another decade. Many Scots have expressed a clear desire to break with the empire. How long before the feeling spreads among English natives?

Kings and Queens sound like something from fairy-tales, medieval times, and its amusing to think of Britain modelling itself as a democratic model to aspire to, when an unelected head of state with a diamond encrusted hat sitting on a gold thrown still wields ultimate power. “The Queen's role nowadays, is just symbolic,” people say. But let’s make no mistake about it, the royal family play a very precise and pivotal role in maintaining order: order for them means power and wealth remain in the hands of a privileged few. This role while symbolic is also practical too.

Sure, we're used to seeing news packages bleating on about royal babies, or BBC packages following James Hewitt's son, Prince Harry, during his 2nd 'tour' of Afghanistan, depicting him as a hero, irrespective of the fact that you can almost guarantee Harry saw no danger. Of course, these media stunts play a part in maintaining the hierarchy, with the help of the Royal's official mouthpiece the BBC. But they also peddle an insipid form of nationalism, which is always needed to ensure and persuade poor young people sign up for illegal wars abroad.

But the Queen's power is by no means simply theoretical, and has been exercised in the past when governments have been in danger of stepping out of line. The role of the MSM at least, exists to bolster the image of the establishment- the royal family and political oligarch-both at home and abroad.

And what of the Queen's speech? What of the so-called tradition? Does it really matter? These people are no different from us. If anything they are relics of a past age whose power and significance is diminishing. In some ways the ceremonial theatrics, the grand posturing, our dear old jewel-laden Queen addressing the poor from on high, tells us more than David Cameron's predictable policies ever could. The ruling class continue to rule over the poor and disenfranchised, tricking them by stuffing the tired old 'glory to the empire' mantra down their throats - no great shocker there you might think.

Queen Elizabeth II has confirmed our freedoms will be eroded, and that the welfare state will be shrunk. She'll rattle off more of the same at her always warmly received Christmas speech. But the reaction by the majority of the people tells us more than any comment piece could. Demonstrations took place in the immediate aftermath of the Queen's address in central London. Thousands were involved. UKIP MP Douglas Carswell was set upon and needed police to protect him from a public lynching.

People are tired, desperate, and many literally hungry. In 2015, it’s a disgrace that Britain or any other so-called developed nation have such things as food banks, and it’s a scourge on our country that we even have homelessness, many or most of them ex-military, who once fought for the idea of 'Queen and country' but who have been hung out to dry by the same system they thought they were fighting for.

Cameron wasn't kidding with his one nation theme. It is one nation, just not for us. The rotten political establishment is at one with the unelected power structure that presides over us. The minute people begin to let go of this charade we can begin a process of really critiquing power in an honest way. Until then the outcome of elections and speeches by the Queen make little difference to the lives of ordinary people: the government always wins.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.