Progress UK?

How are we to greet last week’s news, proudly delivered by our country’s chief PR representative abroad, on his tag-along jaunt to Australia for a meeting with fifteen others pointlessly tagging along to discuss something so banal and petty that the resulting agreement could easily have been sorted out by video conference and/or e-mail? After a difficult week in which he was roundly thumped by his own backbenchers in his party’s biggest ever revolt over Europe, whose leaders shunned him as they worked together to address a real and pressing problem, how chuffed was our puff-chested, brilliantined leader, seizing the opportunity for some positive publicity, doing what he does best – sucking up.

End of male primogeniture; end of the ban on the monarch marrying a catholic. We’re somehow meant to be impressed and/or grateful by the supposed grown-up advance this represents, rather than be at least puzzled as to why, rather than leading from the front, our anachronistic ‘constitution’ has to be dragged along into the modern world, out of fear of upsetting the established order and those who somehow think believe that deference to it is a necessary indicator of patriotism. (Just to make sure we all understand, the Blue Spectre made it clear for us: “Put simply, if the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were to have a little girl, that girl would one day be our queen.” Little girl? Why didn’t he say ‘daughter’?)

Meanwhile back home, the BS’s deputy cringingly tried to dowse the heated responses to the day’s really important announcement of top directors’ pay increases averaging at 49%, which the BS in effect subsequently defended, in the way of those profiting or seeking support and patronage always do, as okay if they reward success; all that greed-justifying baloney about Britain needing to attract the best talent, whilst ensuring we don’t reward failure (- But we are doing!). You would think this the sort of news to really get all the St. Paul’s staff hot under the collar, rather than a few tents hampering access to the gift-shop.

Still, while we persist with tradition in the form of a monarchical head of the Church of England, then we must, presumably, continue with the conditioning of our children in order to preserve the attitudinal status quo, so sayeth those unelected guardians of the establishment – the Lords (which houses, does it not, 26 ex officio ‘Lords Spiritual’?). Hence also last week, these wise old fuds rejected a proposed amendment to the Education Bill, moved to give schools the option, rather than compulsion, to provide collective worship. If we’re going to address outdated laws “… at odds with the modern countries that we have become”, then why not this one?

In a concluding flourish, the BS also announced that a trust is to be established (and chaired by John Major – shudder), and a multi-million pound donation ( Hang on a minute – I thought there was no money!?) to be made, for celebrating the diamond jubilee next year of one of the richest people in the country, whose male heir makes millions a year whilst subverting our democracy. In tandem with the London Olympics, this anniversary comes with fortuitous timing for an obscurantist government.

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