One of the main stories to emerge after the tuition fees demonstrations earlier this month was the attack on Prince Charles and Camilla’s car as it drove down Regent Street. Predictably, the commissioner of the Metropolitan police condemned what he referred to as the “thugs” who carried out the attack. The double-standards should be highlighted; why doesn’t Mr Stephenson condemn the thugs in his own police force who rode into crowds of children on horseback and put several students in hospital. However, it was the second part of his comment that I found particularly worrying; Mr Stephenson praised the “enormous restraint” shown by the royal protection officers.
Bearing in mind that these officers are armed with weapons that kill people, one dreads to contemplate the implications of such a comment. The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, went one step further, suggesting that the country could have a “different system” which, in his own words, would have resulted in “more broken heads [the next] morning”.
The message is loud and clear; obey the government, or have your heads “broken”. Mr Johnson, we also have a “different system” in mind; one where we are all entitled to a free, equal education.
And let us look, historically, at what the British royal family represent. Is it not true that for centuries, the monarchy have been the symbol of the imperialist pursuits of the British Empire? The same imperialism which continues today through our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, our soldiers stationed across the world, and the superiority complex that stipulates “we” must show “them” how to live their lives.
Is it only me that finds it strange that countries from Botswana to Belize, and from Sierra Leone to Swaziland have English as an official language? Could we ever imagine this being acceptable the other way round? Setswana being declared the official language of the United Kingdom? Of course not.
Is it only me that finds it strange to learn that when children were killed by plastic bullets in Northern Ireland in the 1980s, after demonstrations were fired upon by British soldiers occupying their country, the British media were prohibited from reporting their deaths, but when British soldiers were killed in retaliation, their deaths were reported. Why are the deaths of British soldiers considered more valuable, and more media-worthy, than the deaths of Irish children?
Is it only me to find it strange that here in England, we still have a family born into the privelige of a life of royalty whilst thousands of children are born into poverty?
Let’s make a real New Year’s resolution for 2011; to demand equality for all human beings, irrespective of nationality, wealth or family background. It is the least we can do.