Helen Martin: Royals show there's no place for racism in UK
I CONFESS that, with this column appearing on a Monday, I have to scribe it by the end of the previous week.
That makes it difficult to guess what changes might take place over the weekend, but it’s never quite as big a challenge as dealing with Saturday’s royal wedding. How can I fail to mention that?
One of my favourite subjects at school was history. Among my never-to-be-missed TV series more recently were The Tudors, Victoria, Wolf Hall and anything else involving kings and queens. I’m not a right-winger, and I’m a fence sitter as far as independence goes, but I am a Royal fan.
They work hard on behalf of the UK and offer us the ideal head of state solution which is far better than electing a passing politico. It’s not an easy life when anything from a minor illness, getting p****d on a night out, having a baby or even aiming for a wee family holiday involves worldwide coverage and no privacy until they’re locked up safely in a palace or castle.
Every garment is analysed, every food fad documented. And they are forced to live under rules and protocol most of us would never accept.
Until now, there have also been strict rules over who any of the core family were permitted to marry ... no Catholics, commoners, divorcees, or any modern woman who has led a normal, modern life.
The Windsors have evolved into the 21st century, so now we have Meghan – who isn’t a 100 per cent white, Anglo-Saxon, chaste aristocrat or distant royal relation and is actually (or was) an American actress. As with William and Kate, Harry and Meghan seem to be a genuine love match rather than an arranged royal blood marriage.
But even I have been fed up with pages and pages of coverage for months leading up to the wedding. Pull-out after pull-out, intricate exposure of her less-than-perfect, semi-estranged family, not to mention speculation about the wedding dress, the flowers, and her wedding guests.
I don’t resent all the magnifying-glass examination of the upcoming occasion for its effect on the couple or the royal family. Even as a royal fan, I find it tedious, boring, and depriving us all of more important and varied news or TV documentaries.
Yes, I’ll have watched the wedding. Yes, I will expect mass coverage in every form of media from the big day until today, with millions of photos and thousands of ads for royal wedding memorabilia from pricey to tatty, not to mention news and pictures of street parties up and down England (apparently there will have been few, if any, here).
But please God, it then stops, and life gets back to normal with something, anything, else to read or watch on TV than the drip-drip, Harry and Meghan mental “water torture”.
I imagine the next big, booming headline to follow will be the announcement of a Meghan pregnancy, with the genetic possibility that we could soon have a black, mixed race Royal baby.
Now that would be a historical royal development, and a gold star for the 21st century Windsors embracing diversity and proving racism has no place anywhere in the UK, including Buckingham Palace.
Branding row is more stupid than vicious
TESCO and M&S have both removed Scottish branding from goods, replacing it with “Great Britain” and Union flags. Scottish (especially SNP) folk, don’t like that. But it’s not as intentionally vicious as it sounds. Many south of the border still describe Scotland as a part of England, let alone the UK. They’re just not very bright.
Coping with empty threats is part of a politician’s job
A MAN who was entitled to compensation for being intentionally infected with HIV has been denied the money, simply because six years ago he was convicted for heckling an MP at a Tory party gathering. And an Edinburgh pensioner has been fined £260 for sending an angry email to Labour’s Lord Adonis.
Surely politicians understand they infuriate people – it’s part of their territory. Telling a Peer he’s a traitor who should be put up against a wall and shot, doesn’t sound like a genuine, personal death threat. It’s a phrase.
Politicians inspire rudeness – not violence – especially in extremely controversial times. If they can’t cope with it, they should change jobs.