Opinion

No need to worry about starving Brits, just pledge your allegiance to King Charles III and everyone’s morale will be fixed

Unfortunately for Brits who aren’t filled with patriotic fervour at the sight of an old man putting on an expensive hat, dissent is not currently welcome in this self-appointed time of “public celebration”, writes Rose Morelli.

After the passing of his mother Queen Elizabeth II, King Charles III arrives at Buckingham Palace from Balmoral and greets the waiting crowd. Image: Grant Rooney/Alamy Live News

“We really do need to start thinking about a slimmed down monarchy in these troubled times,” said King Charles in September last year, supportively patting Princess Anne on the back as she wept into a £50 note. “My coronation will need to be much less expensive than the last,” he mused, pressing send on a text to Elton John that asked him to rewrite Candle In The Wind for his ceremony.

Who ever said the Windsors are out of touch? Whether it’s campaigning for climate action while frequenting a private jet, or greeting citizens of the commonwealth through a chainlink fence, the British royals have a reputation for just implicitly knowing what their public needs from them. This coronation is no exception: at a time when Bank of England economists are telling depressed Brits they need to “accept they’re poorer”, our new monarch is cruising through the streets of Westminster in a gold-plated carriage, smashing through inequality at speeds topping almost 3mph. 

So here we are, just over seven months and an estimated £250m later (almost quintupling the £47m coronation of Elizabeth II), and the British monarchy seems even more plump than it was before. They even seem confident enough in their popularity to charge escalating ceremonial bills to the British taxpayer, (though, to be fair, they didn’t receive a penny of Prince Harry’s ‘oscillating todger’ money, so what are they supposed to do? Go out and earn a living like a non-anointed prole? God forbid). 

The messaging is patently clear: even though the average Brit is struggling to survive through dismal inflation and stagnated wages, they should put aside any ill feelings and pledge their allegiance to an multi-millionaire who not only can’t stick to a budget, but also probably thinks a spreadsheet is how the staff make his bed every morning. 

Unfortunately for Brits who aren’t filled with patriotic fervour at the sight of an old man putting on an expensive hat, dissent is not currently welcome in this self-appointed time of “public celebration”. In keeping with Normal Island’s current commitment to democracy and civil liberties, the Home Office has cashed in on the occasion by fast-tracking a commemorative new set of police powers (I’d have preferred one of those tacky coronation tea sets, but I don’t get the impression that Suella Braverman is the best gift-giver). 

As part of this sweeping new Public Order Act, purposely vague powers of arrest have been given to police officers to quash public protesting, and lucky for us, royal assent was granted to the law just days before the coronation. London’s Metropolitan Police (a well-known paragon of fairness and tolerance), has taken this opportunity to squash dissent in their stride, and have promised “robust” action against anyone who “undermines the celebration”. It’s not exactly Robert Peele’s vision of policing by consent, but then again, neither the Windsors nor the Met have a particularly good record when it comes to consent.

Personally, I’m getting quite tired of being told when I’m allowed to dissent and when I’m expected to celebrate. When the language of this law is so purposefully vague and interpretable, where does it stop? Could this op-ed be considered as disruptively “undermining the celebration”? Can I expect police officers to robustly batter my front door in as soon as it’s published? 

Try as I might, I just can’t see this significant drain on public freedom and resources as a cause for celebration, and certainly not something to pledge my allegiance to. I see this whole farce as a hegemonic and careless display of power, executed in the poorest of taste and dressed up in purposely unquantifiable statements about “tourism revenue” (because, as everyone knows, no tourist has ever bothered to visit France since they started letting people eat cake). 

So, I guess with just one day left before King Charles is democratically chosen by God as our new head of state, I need to work out how to channel my dissent against this whole charade without upsetting the powers that be. It’s safe to say I will not be shedding a patriotic tear for Charles as he trundles along the parade route in his carriage. I will, however, be sparing several thoughts for the average beleaguered Brit, currently being squashed by both the Home Office and the grim economic landscape we’ve been left with. 

I just hope by the time William and Kate are crowned, we’ll have progressed enough as a nation to at least let them fund their own coronation – maybe then they’ll be able to secure some decent acts for their coronation ceremony.

Do you have a story to tell or opinions to share about this? We want to hear from you. Get in touch and tell us more.

Support the Big Issue

For over 30 years, the Big Issue has been committed to ending poverty in the UK. In 2024, our work is needed more than ever. Find out how you can support the Big Issue today.
Vendor martin Hawes

Recommended for you

View all
We took the Home Office to task for lying on modern slavery. We still don’t have answers
car washes have been highlighted as modern slavery hotspots
MAYA ESSLEMONT

We took the Home Office to task for lying on modern slavery. We still don’t have answers

Westminsterism may think it knows best – but dismantling it can help us move forward
Affected families in Westminster after the damning report into the infected blood scandal was published
John Bird

Westminsterism may think it knows best – but dismantling it can help us move forward

We can make the four-day working week a reality – and make it work for everyone. Here's how
Andrew Fennell

We can make the four-day working week a reality – and make it work for everyone. Here's how

How the life-affirming power of the chicken helped me understand grief and loss
Catherine Swire

How the life-affirming power of the chicken helped me understand grief and loss

Most Popular

Read All
Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits
Renters: A mortgage lender's window advertising buy-to-let products
1.

Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal
Pound coins on a piece of paper with disability living allowancve
2.

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over
next dwp cost of living payment 2023
3.

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know
4.

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know