What do these two kinds of patriotism tell us? #royalwedding #OBL


10:22 am - May 3rd 2011

by Robert Sharp    


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I found it impossible not to make the mental link between the celebrations in America, and the recent flag-waving down on The Mall. Both events have been obvious moments of unity for the respective countries.

Both events also mark symbolic endings to a particular period of national history.

In the British case, the confusion of Princess Diana’s marriage, the sorrow of her death, and perhaps the end of a particular type of monarchy.

In the American case, it is the ending of something much more significant (what Emily Maitliss on the BBC just called a “psychological watershed”), a decade of fear, insularity and a sense of revenge not yet wrought.

Micah in Kansas City is uneasy about the celebrations surrounding the killing of Osama Bin Laden:

The backlash of ignorant commentary and opinion about the death of Bin Laden on Twitter tonight was disheartening, and I’m so very glad I deleted my Facebook so I didn’t have to gaze upon the even more ignorant statuses of “patriots” glad about the death of another human being.

Moreover, the Royal Wedding and Osama’s death both signal much more optimistic new chapters. A pared down, modern and middle-class Monarchy for us. And for the Americans, a reassertion of their primacy in matters military.

I wonder whether these events can sustain this symbolism. Wills and Kate are but two individuals getting hitched in a country that has massive economic problems and not a few social and cultural challenges ahead of it.

And in the American case, the death of a figurehead will not in itself stop the Al Q’aeda threat, nor reverse its economic decline relative to the Asian super-powers. Time will tell whether these outpourings of national confidence, on both sides of ‘the pond’, mark a new period of success or a patriotic dead-cat bounce.

Regardless of the final significance, Micah’s post highlights an crucial difference between the two groups of cheering crowds: On The Mall in London, the flag-wavers were celebrating life; On The Mall in Washington, they were cheering a death.

I wonder how this essential difference between these two moments of patriotic punctuation will affect the two nations in years to come?

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About the author
Robert Sharp designed the Liberal Conspiracy site. He is Head of Campaigns at English PEN, a blogger, and a founder of digital design company Fifty Nine Productions. For more of this sort of thing, visit Rob's eponymous blog or follow him on Twitter @robertsharp59. All posts here are written in a personal capacity, obviously.
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Story Filed Under: Blog ,Events ,Foreign affairs ,Middle East ,United States

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Reader comments


Another interesting contrast is that in the case of the royal wedding, even those of us with the least ironic take on the proceedings were aware that enjoyment of the spectacle was a shared celebration of a kind of fiction — a romanticised version both of the marriage itself and of all the political, military, historic, etc connotations played out in costume-drama form. The UK achieves a kind of national solidarity by playing out an affectionate pantomine version of patriotism — one which is so parodic as to invite critical distance from and reflection on our national culture.

In the US by contrast the patriotism in the face of Osama bin Laden’s killing seems an unnervingly literal and unreflective assertion of the supremacy of its values and behaviour.

“I found it impossible not to make the mental link between the celebrations in America, and the recent flag-waving down on The Mall. Both events have been obvious moments of unity for the respective countries. ”

What utter bovine fecal matter.

1. In the UK less than a third of the country watched or took part in the Royal Wedding PR stunt. Angry anti-monarchy people like me were in a sizeable minority compared to the overwhelming apathy of the nation overall.

2. In America a sizeable part of the population (including friends of mine who are very patriotic Republican types) objected to the triumphalism. Most Americans are happy at Bin Laden’s demise; but they aren’t stupid (despite the prevalent bigoted stereotypes) and don’t believe it is an end to a chapter in history; merely a moment of success.

What you found “impossible” was a desperate reaching to connect to larger stories together in the same feeble way that Daily Mail hacks do regularly. Truly awful work as a writer (and let’s not credit you as a thinker on this one).

As for:

“Both events also mark symbolic endings to a particular period of national history.”

Really? Exactly how does that work? You don’t get to write history on the day. You can record it but you don’t get to tell us how it plays out.

Finally let’s look at this:
“On The Mall in London, the flag-wavers were celebrating life; On The Mall in Washington, they were cheering a death. ”

Firstly that is a nice trite little attempt to somehow make “us” better than “them”. As if the British are somehow more upbeat and positive than the Americans. Which culturally is utter nonsense since Britain is by far the more negative cynical culture compared to the rampant optimism that pervades American life at every level. Secondly you’re trying to cast the Americans as blood-thirsty and vengeful; the typical bigotted racist stereotypes used by every demagogue in history. You’re an over-simplifying bigot no more no less. The majority of Americans; especially in New York and DC were not celebrating the death of one man; they were sharing in a moment where they felt less afraid. Americans were far more shaken by the terrorist attacks than Britain has been by our own; because of that optimism I mentioned before. The majority genuinely don’t understand how their government acts abroad and why anyone would hate them. The backlash from American culture was the act of a fearful nation that doesn’t understand what has happened to it. So for them the death of Bin Laden wasn’t the celebration of one mans death but the removal of a bogeyman. Your trite summary is insulting to those who felt closure on their grief; and it makes a mockery of any claim you might have to understand American (and for that matter British politics).

This is the most awful bit of poor journalistic/copywriting filler I’ve had to suffer for a long time. Please PLEASE don’t repeat it again.

I suspect your ego may be bruised by these remarks. However they will hurt because they are true and on target. You can of course delete this but ultimately that will just show you as a coward who can’t handle the criticism you deserve for this awful hack writing.

Be ashamed of yourself.

I have to b e honest, here. When I heard that ‘Justice has been done’, I cringe because whatever happened in that compound was not ‘justice’, what happened was ‘revenge’. Now, you could argue that ‘revenge’ was the best response to Bin Laden, perhaps it was and perhaps it was not.

It could even be argued that leaving Muslim fanatics with a dead martyr is preferable to having Bin Laden dragged through America in full display in chains, live on Al-Jerza. Perhaps it, could be argued that humiliating him would further inflame militant Muslims even more than his mere death would.

Who knows perhaps killing him was a pragmatic decision? Or, given American Special Forces track record, they intended to take him alive, but bungled it and called it as a victory?

However, what ever you think off Bin Laden, do not call his death ‘justice’, not in any meaningful sense. Closure? Perhaps, but not justice.

(please excuse the typo’s in my prior post I was so annoyed by the sheer awfulness of the article over all that my own editorial skills were lacking “connecting 2 stories together” being the main one).

However overall this article is just a pile of bigoted hack drivel.

@ Martin
“The majority genuinely don’t understand how their government acts abroad and why anyone would hate them. The backlash from American culture was the act of a fearful nation that doesn’t understand what has happened to it. So for them the death of Bin Laden wasn’t the celebration of one mans death but the removal of a bogeyman.”

–But to the extent that this is true it is a severe criticism of Americans, surely? It is a willingness to persist with a naive perception of their country’s behaviour abroad, and to bolster that naive perception by casting their enemies as bogeymen rather than as crystalisations of a justafiable anger. It’s an uncritical patriotism, ready to make self-justifying myths out of real politics. I’m sure that imperialist Victorian UK political culture was the same. Now the UK has moved on to the point where we re-inact that patriotic complacency in costume drama form (royal wedding) — and laugh at ourselves for doing so. We still do nasty imperialist things, like murdering Gaddafi’s grandchildren, but we have more of a cultural basis than the Americans for cynicism in the face of our govt’s foreign policy.

Whilst I may not be quite as “anti” as Martin above, I’m not sure that the reaction to the two events tell us anything much about either group of people.

The majority of British people were indifferent to the wedding; the flag wavers are probably no larger as a group than those who find the whole thing pretty sickening. Anyone who thinks that had Al-Qaeeda killed 3,000 people in London 10 years ago instead of the USA, and that we wouldn’t have seen some celebrations here on Bin-Laden’s death, probably doesn’t know the British people as well as they think.

Most people in both the USA and elsewhere will agree with Obama that justice WAS done, and will not shed any tears over what happened to Bin Laden. It is unlikely he would have allowed himself to be taken alive, but in the circumstances the outcome (and his subsequent burial at sea) is probably the best that could be hoped for.

Nobody thinks killing Bin-Laden is an end in itself; combatting and ultimately defeating radical islam was always going to be a work of decades not years. The Arab spring shows that in the end, the best way to ensure that the likes of Bin Laden, the Taliban, the Sudanese regime, and all those other reactionary Arab regimes in the middle east and N. Africa fail, is to foster secular democratic regimes, whether in places like Afghanistan and Pakistan or in Libya, Syria, Bahrain and the Yemen.

Perhaps I have an unrepresentative circle of friends / colleagues but I would say that the majority of Brits were interested to some extent in the wedding, even if only the dress, etc. (and of course the nuns).

Not “flag waving” but mildly, moderately interested and took some genuine pleasure in whatever they saw of it on TV. It’s difficult not to take pleasure in a wedding after all, isn’t it?

I will be in New York tomorrow and Des Moines (!) on Thursday so I will get some idea of a certain range of views on OBL.

” A pared down, modern and middle-class Monarchy for us.”

Sorry, what? First off, Charles is still next in line to the throne, in case you hadn’t noticed. Second, they’re both far from middle class. Her parents are part owners of a company worth £30m, and he’s the heir to the Windsor fortune. Thirdly, how the hell was that ceremony “pared down”? It was full on pomp and circumstance, as far as I could tell.

@Claire:

I do accept that it can be taken as a criticism of the US. However unquestioning patriotism is not something that Britain has “moved on” from. We are no better in this country with our own tribal arrogance. The Americans are just more noticeable because of their numbers. Also if you don’t think Americans can laugh at themselves then I suggest you start watching the most popular political show in America; The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

@cjcjc
I’m not for or against your own interest enjoyment of the ceremony itself (although I would prefer if the Royals had paid for the entire thing themselves including security); however you have answer in your comment. You do have an unrepresentative circle of friends (although I’m sure they are lovely 😉 since the viewing figures for the royal wedding were about 24 million. Which is barely over a third of the population. Bear in mind that of that 24 million many of them like you were just watching it “because it was on ” (& unavoidable) you start to get a measure of the general disinterest and apathy towards the royals. Should they try to exert themselves and claim privilege in the future that apathy would easily turn to antagonism. The only thing that brought the nation together on the Royal Wedding day was for many it was a nice sunny day off work.

@James

I hadn’t noticed that but yes that is another excellent example of how much utter BS this article is. There is nothing Middle Class about the 2 over-privileged individuals getting married.

Another excellent example of how appalling this entire article is.

I’m disappointed at Liberal Conspiracy turning to Daily Mail style hack journalism.

The Monarchy will never be middle-class.

@8

Actually, from a British perspective I think that perhaps the more relevant comparison is between the attitudes towards the Royal Wedding and the AV referendum; people aren’t really that bothered about either. Even those that feel instinctively that monarchy represents things they don’t like about our society aren’t going to jump up and down and demonstrate about it, because wel…it’s a bit of a show isn’t it? And we do pomp and circumstance so well, and it brings in tourists etc., etc.

Similarly most people think FPTP is a pretty crappy system, but they aren’t convinced AV is much of an improvement, and they’d really quite like to give Clegg and the LD’s a bloody nose. So we’ll probably end up with what we’ve always had, because most people are just too disengaged to be bothered to make a change. *sighs*

12. Richard W

I think Mark Twain had it right.

“I’ve never wished a man dead, but I have read some obituaries with great pleasure.”

Why are some people on the Left in denial about the popularity of the Royal Wedding? More than half the population either watched it, attended it or took part in a street party. That is a phenomenal figure for any event. And the idea that those people who didn’t take part are mostly hostile is as ridiculous as saying that most people who didn’t watch England in the World Cup wanted us to lose.

This surreally stupid misreading of the national psyche must not infect the Labour Party if it is to have any hope of returning to power.

14. redpesto

Coincidence fail: American’s don’t get to do Royal Weddings (unless there’s a Kennedy involved) and the SAS haven’t taken out Gerry Adams.

I got to go to a friend’s civil partnership ceremony recently: I think that says more about modern Britain (or America) than the royal wedding.

@12 Richard W.

I like it..altho’ I’ve seen some discussion whether the attribution to twain is correct; it may be a mis-quote of Clarence Darrow, who is reported to have said:

“Everybody is a potential murderer. I’ve never killed any one, but I frequently get satisfaction reading the obituary notices.”

Twain is reported to have said however:

“I didn’t attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.”

@Colin

“Why are some people on the Left in denial about the popularity of the Royal Wedding? More than half the population either watched it, attended it or took part in a street party.”

No they didn’t so either you’re lacking the facts or you’re lying. Which one is it?

Almost 2 thirds of the population did nothing of the sort. So if we’re going to talk about appealing to a larger base I’d go with those who didn’t care about the two rich brats getting hitched.

@13 Colin

Disapproval of the monarchy as an institution, or indeed the wedding as an event, isn’t solely a left wing prerogative, altho it may be more common amongst lefties.

Watching the event signifies little for many people, other than a vague interest in what the wedding dress looked like, or watching some pomp and circumstance which (as everyone keeps pointing out) we do rather well.

I don’t care about the royal family, any more than I care whether England win the world cup, or how many medals we win or don’t at the Olympics; all are little more than bread and circuses – they have their place, but please let’s not try to read too much into people watching a TV broadcast.

The more surreally stupid misreading of the British (or probably more correctly English) psyche, is your belief that Labour would lose the next election due to any perceived lack of enthusiasm for medieval spectacle.

@redpesto.

I love that remark. I think the apathy to monarchy AND the civil ceremony say a lot more about modern Britain than the silly pageantry of an outmoded institution trying to justify its existence.

@galen10

I must admit I’m intrigue as to whether @Colin made up his bogus statistic to justify his views; or if he genuinely was suckered into believing it.

That any one who is anti-monarchy is immediately “left wing” also suggests a rather foolish and blinkered world view which tends to lead me to believe it’s the latter. For example in the discussion of this appallingly bad article there is of course reference to a predominantly conservative nation founded on anti-monarchist principals.

Much of the anglophile monarchy loving side of things in the US comes from the Left of their political spectrum (what we would call the centre) so again it just seems something of a nonsense to immediately argue that a Republican is by definition left wing. I personally would hope that anyone truly Left wing would see how incompatible Monarchy is with left wing thinking but it’s not a requirement.

@19 Martin

Indeed: ’twas ever thus I suspect – people who believe in something they know in their heart of hearts is either wrong, or a minority belief, love that kind of tactic…. smacks of desperation often.

I did like the stat I heard on Radio 4 (so it must be true right? lol) that there were 30 street parties in the whole of Scotland…. priceless. I bet most of them were in St andrew’s too 😉

Though seriously discussing the merits of monarchy on this page does the article more credit than it deserves. It’s STILL an appalling bad bit of writing with spurious connections and awful assumptions at its core.

Surely the better comparison for the US flag waving and dancing in the streets upon hearing of the demise of Osama, is the cheering and dancing in the streets that erupted in some middle east nations when news and footage of the 9/11 attacks went global.

When you take into account all the people who watched parts of it after the event, watched it online or otherwise engaged with it (not counting the tiny, tiny number of people who demonstrated their opposition) I think we could easily be talking 35 million people.

A big majority of people in Britain support the Monarchy. After Friday’s events, even more people will have a positive view. I know that some on the left (and, at a political level, it is largely confined to the left) find this distressing because they think it cements in place a hierarchical society and acceptance of inequality. That doesn’t absolve them of the responsibility to live in the real world rather than pretending to each other (no one else is listening) that they have detected an encouraging trend.

If straw clutching was an Olympic sport, the anti-Monarchists could win gold for Britain (except they would have to stand to attention for the national anthem!)

24. Mr S. Pill

The only connection made between the marriage of William’n’Kate & the killing of Osama bin Laden is how little impact either will have on the world at large. Robert Fisk (someone more qualified about this kinda stuff than anyone commentating on here) made the important but obvious point that the uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Syria, Saudi, Libya (etc) will be far more important to global events than the death of a middle-aged crackpot in Pakistan. And the wedding “means” nothing, aside from a couple of people finally shacking up after being together for 8 years. As for patriotism ? Try the people currently defending public services to the hilt, not flag-waving party-goers or death-cheering Americans.

25. Mr S. Pill

@23

Source for your stats in the first paragraph, please.

26. Mr S. Pill

(As an aside re:viewing figures – I know lots of republicans who watched (or at least didn’t wholly ignore) the ceremony – basing royal support on viewing figures alone is misleading IMO).

22. At Cylux

“Surely the better comparison for the US flag waving and dancing in the streets upon hearing of the demise of Osama, is the cheering and dancing in the streets that erupted in some middle east nations when news and footage of the 9/11 attacks went global.”

If by that you mean that the majority of the people celebrating were victims of violence brought on by the force in that had been attacked?

It’s worth remembering many of those waving flags celebrating America’s suffering were not doing so just because they are “evil people” who who hate freedom & America. They were doing so because they had been bombed by American planes; because they had relatives killed by American weaponry sold to American allies.

So let’s not re-write history because America can’t cope with being the bad guy in much of this narrative. Let’s not forget that Bin Laden was supplied by the US regime supporting a proxy war against the Soviets; that the US is both an ally of Israel that inflames the region with its treatment of Palestinians; and also Saudi Arabia who sponsors the likes of Bin Laden playing a dirty double game.

People waving flags and celebrating in the US and the Middle East have a lot in common. They are celebrating the demise of someone they believe (rightly or wrongly) has caused them harm.

What America has done to the world is far from being a good thing; what was done to American civilians because of that was inexcusably wrong. I am tired of hearing trite ridiculous summaries such as yours that suggest that somehow our fellow human beings are lesser because they share the same emotional responses to us. The only thing lacking on both sides is informed insight. Something that you are also showing a clear lack of.

@23 Colin

Your rather desperate justifications are no more plausible than the beliefs of those you are attacking.

Staunch monarchists account for a small minority of the general population, just as staunch republicans like me account for a minority. In the middles is a large group of people who aren’t much bothered who probably span the spectrum; it’s not rocket science.

Being a staunch monarchist and a progressive, is like being a scientist who believes in “intelligent” design.

The only thing you got right is that it DOES “cements in place a hierarchical society and acceptance of inequality”. In the long term, attitudes will change, just as societal attitudes in other areas will change. Even in deepest, darkest blue Sussex where I now live, I saw zero signs of street parties, bunting or signs of enthusiasm for the wedding. As the royals found after Diana’s death, the people can easily re-asses their often maudlin attachment to the institution of the monarchy; how long that will remain is anyone’s guess.

@Colin

“When you take into account all the people who watched parts of it after the event, watched it online or otherwise engaged with it (not counting the tiny, tiny number of people who demonstrated their opposition) I think we could easily be talking 35 million people.

A big majority of people in Britain support the Monarchy. ”

Firstly if you had read the figure that has been given is 24 million. So what you THINK is again provably wrong. As @phil 23 points out many of those in the viewing figures would include those who oppose the monarchy (I have friends who were sitting their fingers crossed waiting for an explosion – not nice but then sometimes friends have appalling views).

So as @phil requested please source your statistic. I got my figures from the Telegraph and the Mail (both of which are far from anti-monarchy).

Even with your clearly bogus 35 million you’ve got less than half the population of this country. Perhaps if you knew your stats you’d have more of a clue?

So you don’t have your “big majority”.

The reality is that you’re correct about the anti-monarchists being a minority. However you’re talking utter nonsense taking that to imply a huge support for the monarchy either. The truth is that the majority don’t give a damn about them. They are irrelevant to British life.

The true reality is that if the Royal family were to cease to exist tonight the majority of this country wouldn’t give a damn.

What you can learn from this is that firstly when you quote bogus stats someone will catch you (the internet is a wonderful thing I suggest you learn more about it); and secondly that just because you believe something is so doesn’t make it so.

I’m willing to make an evidence based argument; although I am myself a republican I make no claim for massive support for my view (quite the contrary I think the majority don’t care like I do) ; however I can provably show that you’re talking nonsense. Which is one of the reasons I despise apologists for this ridiculous monarchy; it’s either lies or gullible idiocy that keeps it going.

@26 Mr S. Pill

Exactly; the female members of my staunchly left of centre family, who have no time for the monarchy at all watched some of the coverage because they wanted to see the dress, and what other female guests were wearing.

That hardly makes them flag waving monarchists, or even tepid suppoters of the divine right of kings… still less does it demonstrate approval of paying tens of millions for the security of the event. None of the male members of my family watched any of it, and none of the men I’ve spoken to at work or socially watched it either.

It may only be my “personal” experience, but I’d lay odds it’s a lot closer to the reality for the majority than Martin’s forelock tugging atavistic cringeing.

31. Watchman

Martin,

The true reality is that if the Royal family were to cease to exist tonight the majority of this country wouldn’t give a damn.

I think you fail to appreciate the celebrity nature of the royal family – people would give a damn. They might not be politically bothered, but they would give a damn.

And I suspect that you’ll find that support for a royal family is far better than support for an elected President (considering how politicians are generally perceived).

None of which makes Colin’s figures accurate of course (or the original post sensible and well-argued).

Galen10
“It may only be my “personal” experience, but I’d lay odds it’s a lot closer to the reality for the majority than Martin’s forelock tugging atavistic cringeing.”

I actually was agreeing with your anecdotal evidence being the majority. Not sure how to take that last part?

I don’t think the majority are forelock tugging. I think most of them had a lie in.

I do however find something rather sniveling about people trying to justify the whole circus because “the nation wants it” when as I think you’re implying (and I know I am) the majority could just as easily have had a nice long nap 🙂

33. Richard W

22. Cylux

” Surely the better comparison for the US flag waving and dancing in the streets upon hearing of the demise of Osama, is the cheering and dancing in the streets that erupted in some middle east nations when news and footage of the 9/11 attacks went global. ”

You could make that comparison if you believe that the killing of bin Laden is morally equivalent to the deliberate slaying of innocent people at their place of work. Most reasonable people would think it an absurd comparison and equivalence.

31 Watchman

You may be right that people would in some sense miss the Celebrity of the Royal family but other countries do very well to replace that very quickly. The US of course being a prime example with Hollywood. Perhaps if Britain stopped wasting money on the Royals and spent that money on making movies? Who knows how much wealth that would generate?

I think you’re partially right about the President vs Monarch argument. It depends entirely on how the question is phrased. If someone is asked if they want an unelected person who inherited the job to be put in charge of them then I suspect they would oppose the idea (as a majority) but if you ask the same person do they want to have a President like America or France then they would equally dislike that as well.

I think you hit the nail on the head by suggesting they wouldn’t be politically bothered. However I would suggest that they also don’t care what brand of entertainment they have so long as it is engaging and keeps them amused. The Royal family is easily replaced by other shows. We may even get better value for money and hopefully more appealing individuals. All that inbreeding has tended to make them a rather ugly bunch. I suspect Middleton was approved for entry to the breeding stock because even they are aware of what they look like (and yes I’m quite sure they are that calculating and cold).

In fact I hadn’t thought of all this before you made your comment but now I’m thinking we should sell of the Royals and buy in some Hollywood stars instead. I’m sure they’d love the titles.

@Richard W 33 re Cylux

THAT is what I was trying to say. Thanks for putting it more succinctly.

OH LOOK! The Left are truly showing their true face.

The bemoaning of the celebrations for the death of Bin Ladin. The man who ran the 9/11 atrocity that killed over 3000 people in the heart of a city and removed a country’s iconic landmark.
And who since has been responsible for barbaric butchery across the globe.

I bet you lot wish you were there in 1945 to wag your fingers at the celebrations then too.

God…I HATE you people as much as any terrorist.

24 million is the number who were watching on terrestrial TV at its peak. That figure doesn’t include those who watched other parts of it, those who watched it on satellite and, of course, all those who watched online.

As for this gem: “The true reality is that if the Royal family were to cease to exist tonight the majority of this country wouldn’t give a damn”, I think the wish is father to the thought. Most people would be sad, to varying degrees, and many would be appalled. Fortunately, it ain’t going to happen.

Given that you admit that your group of friends includes those who were watching the wedding because they were hoping for a terrorist attack, what does that say about you? It shows you keep scummy company. It shows you move in deeply unrepresentative circles. It shows you as a sour malcontent whose opposition to the Monarchy is almost certainly a symptom of some personal malaise, the nature of which I wouldn’t care to speculate upon.

Your rage and discomfort at the Royal Wedding and the manifest popularity of the Monarchy is not healthy. Any doctor will tell you that. Let it go, or I fear that, contrary to your friends’ fervent wishes, it will be you rather that Wills and Kate who finds an early grave.

@27 That was the angle I was coming from yes. They were celebrating a symbolic victory against a foe that had, in the decades previous, caused them much death and suffering. In much the same way that those in the US are celebrating the downfall of a mass murderer who had caused death and misery on their shores.

39. Mr S. Pill

@36

Funny you should mention 1945, I’ve been doing that lately as well. The Nazis were put on trial.

36 Davey.

Although you are clearly the most pathetic of trolls this was so funny it needs taking apart.

“OH LOOK! The Left are truly showing their true face.”

Start with a CAPS remark because you TROLLS LOVE YOUR CAPS. A nice little throwaway and to be honest pathetically feeble snide opening.

“The bemoaning of the celebrations for the death of Bin Ladin. The man who ran the 9/11 atrocity that killed over 3000 people in the heart of a city and removed a country’s iconic landmark.”

So which do you care about more the people or the architecture. You seem equally passionate about both? Also I’ve not actually seen anyone say they aren’t glad that Bin Laden isn’t dead. Bin Laden was a religious conservative and I’m always glad when there are less of them in the world. I tend not to party too hard over that as there are more enjoyable things to do.

“And who since has been responsible for barbaric butchery across the globe.”

As opposed to the US invasion of Iraq for what was it again? WMD (no that was a lie) connection to Bin Laden (no that was a lie too); oh yeah for Haliburton to make loads of money that was it.

“I bet you lot wish you were there in 1945 to wag your fingers at the celebrations then too.”

Well you’d lose that bet. I always love a good party for a good cause. Especially one for a noble victory over the forces of Right Wing extremism.

“God…I HATE you people as much as any terrorist.”

I suspect you hate most people and don’t have many friends; which is why you need to talk to that imaginary friend ‘God’ all the time.

Well anyway nice of you to drop in and try to get some attention for your pathetic life. I’m sure you’ll come back to rant some more desperately looking for some kind of validation and perhaps to make that amazing comment that will make you feel like you’ve defeated those evil left wingers. Of course that would only be a delusion on your part; but as you’ve so ably demonstrated you are rather delusional.

Do have a lovely time on your own talking to that imaginary friend of yours.

38 Cylux

Sorry I didn’t see your point in that but since you’ve clarified; apologies if my criticism seemed overly harsh.

Fair enough and all that 🙂

@32 Martin

Apologies..I should have checked..I was referring to Colin not you in my cheap shot above 😉

43. Watchman

Martin,

You may be right that people would in some sense miss the Celebrity of the Royal family but other countries do very well to replace that very quickly. The US of course being a prime example with Hollywood. Perhaps if Britain stopped wasting money on the Royals and spent that money on making movies? Who knows how much wealth that would generate?

Probably less than the royals (and they don’t generate much). Perhaps we could make films about the royals, as that seems to be quite successful…

I think you’re partially right about the President vs Monarch argument. It depends entirely on how the question is phrased. If someone is asked if they want an unelected person who inherited the job to be put in charge of them then I suspect they would oppose the idea (as a majority) but if you ask the same person do they want to have a President like America or France then they would equally dislike that as well.

Maybe we don’t want to be ruled by anyone – always a decent option to put to people. The entire debate otherwise is characterised by a need for subservience.

I think you hit the nail on the head by suggesting they wouldn’t be politically bothered. However I would suggest that they also don’t care what brand of entertainment they have so long as it is engaging and keeps them amused. The Royal family is easily replaced by other shows. We may even get better value for money and hopefully more appealing individuals. All that inbreeding has tended to make them a rather ugly bunch. I suspect Middleton was approved for entry to the breeding stock because even they are aware of what they look like (and yes I’m quite sure they are that calculating and cold).

I suspect the now Duchess of Cambridge (I never got anything so grand out of my time at Uni…) was selected partially for her looks, yes, in the same way as (unfortunately perhaps, but truthfully) my wife was. It is a key factor in most relationships you know. I seriously doubt the relationship had to be approved from above – after the disasters of the last generation of royal marriages, I think the royal family may have learnt that they have to let royals be people.

Anyway, the talk of shows suggests we are keeping the mob quiet. I am not sure the royal family really does this – how many of the required circuses does it really give us compared to say the BBC?

In fact I hadn’t thought of all this before you made your comment but now I’m thinking we should sell of the Royals and buy in some Hollywood stars instead. I’m sure they’d love the titles.

Surely better to teach people to do without celebrity? Perhaps having no head of state would be the best model.

44. Mr S. Pill

I imagine if the royals disappeared overnight it would be similar to if Corrie was cancelled all of a sudden. There would be much wailing and gnashing of teeth but only for the soap opera that the monarchy as become – not for any defence of the hereditary principle.

Let the next King or Queen stand for election.

45. Watchman

Davey,

God…I HATE you people as much as any terrorist.

I am neither leftish nor Republican, but they seem much more preferable to me than someone who thinks they are comparable to terrorists.

Either get a grip on reality or stop posting comments that make you sound like an unbalanced idiot…

46. Watchman

Mr S.Pill,

Let the next King or Queen stand for election.

And we’d find the heir to the throne would win, I’d predict.

Mind you, returning to the Early Medieval system has no flaws. It’s not as if an elected monarchy led to murder, civil war and outright factionalism or anything…

@Colin 37

“Given that you admit that your group of friends includes those who were watching the wedding because they were hoping for a terrorist attack, what does that say about you? It shows you keep scummy company. It shows you move in deeply unrepresentative circles. It shows you as a sour malcontent whose opposition to the Monarchy is almost certainly a symptom of some personal malaise, the nature of which I wouldn’t care to speculate upon.”

So not only are you prone to bogus numbers but you do seem to rather like to make lots of very nasty assumptions about people. Are you upset because people are cracking the exterior of your fantasy world?

You STILL haven’t provided the source of your statistics; they are increasingly looking like outright lies on your party rather than just you either being wishful or misinformed.

As for your judgement on my friends. I didn’t say I approved of their views; but you seem keen to make assumptions about people based on the company they have or those they admire and support?

Does this mean that your support for royalty is due to your being a victim of chronic inbreeding? I’m not assuming; but just asking since clearly there has to be some explanation for your fervent loyalty to them?

I do hope it isn’t the case though as I wouldn’t wish the kind of dysfunctional mental issues the Royals suffer from on anyone.

43 @phil

what a great analogy. I shall use that in the future.

considering how many Soap Opera’s do get cancelled eventually and how there is always “end of an era” angst. I think the closure of the Royal Show will eventually be quite likely.

@46 Martin

No doubt the drama would continue, even after the “show” itself had been de-commissioned; Europe is full of ex-royals of varying levels of vanity and sanity. Most are of course sideshows looked on by their former subjects with a mixture of curiousity and disdain.

We can but hope!

@47 Galen.

So the spin off shows would be:

“A Right Charlie”
“Will Kate Do It”
“Harry Up & Down”
“Uncivil Lists”

See has endless potential and we can ditch the nonsense bits for good entertainment.

Always makes me laugh when people say that if we had the nation voting for head of state we’d have Katie Price as President. Which just doesn’t work for me as surely that would be an improvement on the equally stupid bunch of tits we’ve got right now? More comedy value.

46. Watchman

“Mind you, returning to the Early Medieval system has no flaws. It’s not as if an elected monarchy led to murder, civil war and outright factionalism or anything…”

One of the wonderful things about an elected head of state however is there is often a right of recall. Should a leader NOT live up to standards they can be removed bloodlessly. Surely THAT is the height of civilization. Non-violent progress.

52. Watchman

One of the wonderful things about an elected head of state however is there is often a right of recall. Should a leader NOT live up to standards they can be removed bloodlessly. Surely THAT is the height of civilization. Non-violent progress.

A right of recall under our system. I can live in hope.

But the problem I see with all of that is that it makes a ceremonial/safeguard position intensely political, which unfortunately rather defeats both elements of the job.

@50 Martin

I can see the pitch to Channel 5 commissioning editirs now;

“The Merry Wives of Windsor” hilarious spin-off from previously acclaimed hit “The Fall of the House of Windsor” in which Elizabeth, Camilla, Fergie, Kate and the the one married to Edward (whose name nobody can remember) all live together in a modest keepers cottage on the Windsor estate, and try to make a go of their new lives as commoners in reduced circumstances since the fall of the monarchy and the untimely demise of their respective spouses in a series of tragic but hilariously funny misadventures involving (variously) being gored by a rogue red deer stag, being crushed by whilst tree hugging, blowing himself up during an armaments fair, driving his Aston Martin into a group of papparazzi and falling from a great height during a whimsical “Royal It’s a Knock Out” show recording.

Now we just have to figure out the cast list…..

@ 51 & 52

We don’t NEED a directly elected head of state; it’s much more likely in our system that the ceremonial head of state would be appointed indirectly by a convention somehow as in Germany….. this would potentially allow for notable non-politicians to be elected, or at least hopefully avoid the “coronation” of a candidate favoured by the dominant party.

I think ultimately we need to remind the Royals that their claim to the throne must be obtained through direct combat with another Royal.

Basically put all the royals in an arena and make them battle to the death for their throne? I’m sure Sky Sports would love that (especially since Rupert Murdoch is an avowed Republican).

@Galen the German model seems pretty good.

How about the eligibility for President should be a cross party nomination process; with a final yes or no vote from the public on the proposed candidate. Make the position for life or until the person chooses to retire to give a nice sense of continuity and to generally make the symbolic ambassadorial role more meaningful.

Stephen Fry the first elected Queen of England? Bless him 😉

56. daveyravey

@davey….I bet you lot wish you were there in 1945 to wag your fingers at the celebrations then too….

I bet you would of probably been disappointed by the outcome of WWII, ‘dammit, and I wanted the small bloke with the ‘tache to win! Oh well, best hide my true feelings by projecting them on everybody else’

If anyone is disappointed with the death of Osama, its probably your good self, as fuckwitts like you have lost someone to put the fear of god into others. No longer will your masturbatory dreams of an OBL lead muslim super bloc come true, what a sad sad day it is for you.

Al-Tory – David Cameron, Gideon Osborne, Ian Demon Smith, Baroness Warsi, Theresa May and Chris Grayling are more dangerous to my well being than Al-Qaida.

So, why weren’t the British celebrating just as hard as some Americans the death of OBL, who was responsible for the gravest terrorist attack in history on British people? Are the British people so uncaring? That seems hard to believe in the light of the gross displays of emotional incontinence shown in the UK on the deaths of John Smith and Princess Diana. Perhaps there was a lot more sympathy for OBL in the UK than in the USA?

(Incidentally, the news has not provoked mass outburst of patriotic celebration in the USA. I guess some Brits have been misled by a few clips of half-drunk college students partying outside the White House. The rest of the country is completely normal and in fact, far from “celebrating death”, wondering right now how we can extricate ourselves from Af-Pak that much quicker now OBL is dead.)

@59: “The UK is the Islamic terrorism heartland of Europe. What else would you expect?!”

Quote:

Bin Laden’s death was also praised by UK-based Muslims.

Ajmal Masroor, from the Islamic Society of Britain said: “Bin Laden had nothing whatsoever to do with Islam. He was a terrorist and a fundamentalist.”

The Muslim Council of Britain added: “Few will mourn the death of bin Laden, least of all Muslims.”
http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/top-stories/2011/05/03/osama-bin-laden-world-braced-for-terror-revenge-attacks-following-death-115875-23103432/

@61: “Don’t bother to deny any of it.”

Quote:

Osama Bin Laden’s death could signal the end of an extreme and harmful distortion of Islam, says Taj Hargey
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/al-qaeda/8490801/British-Muslims-are-breathing-a-sigh-of-relief.html

Dr Taj Hargey is chairman of the Muslim Education Centre of Oxford and imam of the Oxford Islamic Congregation

Thanks for the comments folks (though they’re mainly from Martin).

Hackery? Well, a bit. I wanted to note that drawing similarities between the two events is inevitable, so I took a couple of paragraphs to make that point, rehearsing the narratives that have been laid out for us in the past few days. Re-reading the post now it looks like I endorse them/subscribe to them more than I actually do, but that’s price one pays when writing a quick blog (or a tabloid article, for that matter). I don’t think it signals the moral decline of Liberal Conspiracy. 🙂

And I finished the post by noting a fact – the Americans were cheering a death. I certainly did not suggest that America and Americans are somehow less than Britain and the Brits, and nor does the chap I quoted. If others draw that inference then it says more about them than it does about me, frankly. What I do ask is whether such moments of media frenzy affect the national culture (or ‘psyche’, perhaps), and if they do, then the whole ‘death vs life’ contrast would seem to me to be relevant.

You might argue that such events have no impact on culture, collective memory, “the national conversation” or whatever you want to call it. But the media writes and acts as if it does. I think its an interesting question and I don’t know the answer. Asking it does not make me a hack.

62. Sam's big nose

“the Americans were cheering a death”

Yeah…And bloody good luck to them!

You people.

63. Flowerpower

Martin @ 16

No they didn’t so either you’re lacking the facts or you’re lying. Which one is it?
Almost 2 thirds of the population did nothing of the sort.

Actually Colin may well be right. According to an Ipsos MORI poll before the wedding, a majority was probably planning to tune in:

22% – will definitely watch
14% – very likely to watch
20% – fairly likely to watch

http://static.reuters.com/resources/media/global/editorial/interactives/UKpoll_royal_wedding/UKpoll_royal_wedding.html

See also:

More than 24m viewers in the UK watched the royal wedding on the BBC and ITV, industry body Barb estimates….. More than 34 million viewers watched at least part of the BBC’s TV royal wedding coverage….
The estimated figures for the BBC and ITV put the wedding in the all-time top 10 most-watched programmes, although more people watched the 1966 World Cup Final (32.3m) and Princess Diana’s funeral in 1997 (32.1m).


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    What do these two kinds of patriotism tell us? #royalwedding #OBL http://bit.ly/jBVGLm

  2. Jose Aguiar

    What do these two kinds of patriotism tell us? #royalwedding #OBL | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/Ztdgm9i via @libcon

  3. Sairah

    RT @libcon: What do these two kinds of patriotism tell us? #royalwedding #OBL http://bit.ly/jBVGLm

  4. Martin

    @libcon that has to be the most truly AWFUL pathetic bigoted hack journalism I've seen in a long time. Be ashamed. http://t.co/bLj0jYp

  5. Martin

    @libcon http://t.co/bLj0jYp
    Seriously? Royal Wedding Bin Laden Connection attempt? You've turned into the Daily Mail! Appalling. Stop it.

  6. Barbara Jorge

    RT @libcon: What do these two kinds of patriotism tell us? #royalwedding #OBL http://bit.ly/jBVGLm

  7. micah conkling

    not sure how my writing made it on this site. http://t.co/tCq228J

  8. A hammering for the Liberal Democrats, victory for the SNP in Scotland, likely defeat for the Yes to AV campaign and is Lansley on the way out? – round up of political blogs for 30 April – 6 May | British Politics and Policy at LSE

    […] might mean a hastened withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. Robert Sharp at Liberal Conspiracy contrasts the patriotism around the royal wedding in Britain and the celebrations in the USA over the death of Osama bin […]





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