After nine months of breathless anticipation, the breeding machine that it is Kate Middleton has served her purpose. A prince is born, and Lord Snooty and his generally down-in-the-mouth sidekick Clegg are smiling dreamily as they invite the nation to smile with them and celebrate the Creature’s arrival.
Journalists and royal correspondents also have the same faintly joyous smiles at the camera as they provide ‘live coverage’ of the Creature’s imminent arrival. Celebrities compete with each other in a stream of stupefyingly inane ‘it’s a boy’ Twitters.
Outside Paddington Hospital, vicarious baby groupies hold up their mobile phones to record their ‘small part in a most historic day’ as the Daily Mail puts it. Not to be outdone, The Guardian, that bastion of liberal critical thought, had ‘live coverage’ of the royal birth yesterday.
Yes, it’s Britain – a country that has yet to emerge from Middle Ages into the 21st century, and shows itself increasingly unwilling to make that leap, and prefers instead to bow down on all fours – metaphorically at least – to pay homage to monarchy and inherited wealth and indulge itself in collective displays of obeisance to the cult of Royalty even as its society is being ripped to shreds by the heartless and merciless politicians that are now inviting the nation to rejoice.
Never mind the food kitchens, the vicious, mean-spirited persecution of migrants and benefit ‘scroungers’, the bedroom tax and the housing cap, the workfare programs that force the sick and dying into work, the racked-up arms sales, the 10 percent reduction in council budgets, the cuts in wages, the rising food prices and energy bills, the manufactured poverty, bug-eyed economics and social cruelty that masquerades as ‘austerity’.
Never mind any of that, because the Creature has been born, and according to some economists, the ‘feelgood effect’ from its birth will even help economic growth, at least for a while – a development that demonstrates how completely Britain has undergone a transformation from being the workshop of the world into the fantasy island of speculative finance capital, driven by royal reproduction rather than industrial production.
If only Kate Middleton had had triplets, we might have outstripped China by the end of the year and paid off the national debt. But I mustn’t be cynical, and I must resist the strong urge to metaphorical puke, because a prince has been born and the nation is positively glowing with pleasure, or so it seems.
James Baldwin once observed that ‘ Sentimentality, the ostentatious parading of excessive and spurious emotion, is the mark of dishonesty…the wet eyes of the sentimentalist betray his aversion to experience, his fear of life, his arid heart; and it is always, therefore, the signal of secret and violent humanity, the mark of cruelty.’
You couldn’t get a better description of the British cult of the Royal Family. That’s how it was during the outpouring of hysteria following Princess Diana’s death, when Elton John’s dreary re-written dirge seemed to echo from every front room, and mountains of flowers gave off a sickly smell of fake emotion from every park.
And now that the Creature has arrived, it’s an opportunity for even the hardest and most unpleasant bastards in the land to show their feminine side. Even the ruthless and amoral The Sun is oohing and aahing and emanating the whiff of Mothercare instead of sleaze as it gushes bollocks about ‘The Royal Baby moment the world has waited for’ and invites readers to send a ‘congrats e-card to Wills and Kate.’
The Daily Mail – well what do you expect – has also paused from its daily task of whipping up bitterness, prejudice and hatred to hail the Creature’s arrival. It even has a piece from a ‘top psychic’ which tells readers ‘what the new baby’s birth date and time indicate about his personality’ (it will be ‘ highly intuitive and kind by nature’ in case you were asking).
All of which proves once again that politically speaking, Britain is really a pretty backward country, which prefers inherited wealth and embedded hierarchy to equality, celebrity and royal worship to solidarity, which doffs the cap to those at the top of society even as kicks those at the bottom, and which is all too willing to behave like faithful serfs on a feudal estate, rather than citizens of an advanced democracy.