While Kate and Wills were getting ready for the happiest day of
their lives (estimated cost for the Middleton parents
£250,000), the police were making damn sure they'd make it suck for
those among us who wanted to make a different point about the rich
and the poor.
When a small group of queer activists collected in Soho Square
to protest against the government cuts being made to HIV care &
prevention services, domestic violence services, treatment
referrals for transgender people, hate crime prevention and victim
support, youth homelessness prevention, anti-homophobic bullying
work in schools, support to under-18s at risk of sexual
exploitation, rape crisis services, disability living allowance and
housing benefit, as well as Pride funding, little did they expect
to end up in police cells for the duration of the wedding ceremony.
The action, neither pro- nor anti-Royal, resulted in a further mass
eviction from the square of those not already arrested, later in
the day. I have seen the
video footage of police ordering the protestors out of the
square because they would "upset royalists" who were expected
to gather there.
This police action was just one of several incidents in and
around the capital that included raids, intimidation and the
arrests of squatters, a professor of anthropology and a bunch of
environmentalists who repair bikes and grow vegetables.
And while the government cynically used the wedding pomp to
distract our attention from a communiqué about their plans to cut
off further life-supporting funds to the NHS, and some of us gazed
like kids with their noses pressed up the window at one of the
richest young couples in the land getting hitched, I was sickened
to discover that dissent was being silenced at every opportunity.
Interesting, isn't it, that the BBC should feel comfortable
asking "Should homosexuals face execution" as part of their debate
on Ugandan policy last year, yet at no point during the coverage of
the royal nuptials did they invite us, the people, to comment on
the glaringly obvious disparity between the privileged minority and
the rest of us.
And so then, to Westminster Abbey and the wedding
I liked the look and sound of the Bishop of London;
he started off well, inviting us to "Be who God meant you to be and
you will set the world on fire". I was with him all the way until
about the second minute of his sermon when he told us: "Marriage is
intended to be a way in which man and woman help each other to
become what God meant each one to be, their deepest and truest
Oh right, so that's everyone except homosexuals and then? I'm
sure even Kate and Wills and their wedding guests Elton and David
would have something to say about that.
But it seems that I'm not the only queer with a Republican
stance. Mancunian pop legend, Morrissey blamed the "Windsor
dictatorship" and the death of punk singer Poly Styrene for the
"rude" radio interview he gave to Dermot O'Leary. In a press
statement after the controversial exchange he explained:
"During the week of the royal dreading, Poly Styrene died.
Having made an enormous contribution to British art and sound - at
a desperate time when so many of us needed her - Poly Styrene's
death was all but ignored by the British television news media, who
instead rained hours and hours of blubbering praise onto Kate
Middleton - a woman about whom nothing is known on a personal
level. The message is clear: What you achieve in life means nothing
compared to what you are born into. Is this Syria?"
Meanwhile, the twittersphere went rainbow when James Middleton,
(Kate's brother) delivered his speech to the happy couple with
Google auto-suggesting "James Middleton gay" following a surge in
searches on the younger brother of Catherine 'Kate', Duchess of
Cambridge. Word round the campfire is that he's not gay, but like
most well-groomed metrosexuals, he's not afraid of a bit of
cross-dressing, mooning and clearly loves the camera.
I'll end this collection of observations with a word from the
New Statesman's Laurie Penny, who notes:
"The marriage of the heir to an archaic and largely powerless
royal dynasty is celebrated with pomp and circumstance, whilst
dissent of any kind is suppressed on the smallest pretext, or none.
If you step outside the system, if you refuse to stand and shout
hurrah, if you question the narrative of easy privilege, if you
offer an alternative or try to live one, you are a dangerous freak
and you will be punished. The poor get poorer. The rich get richer.
And England Prevails."