The Null Device

The People's Prince

Forth Bridge is down. Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II, has died, aged 99.

All of Britain is officially in mourning for eight days; all non-funereal programming has been suspended on the BBC (with the exception of the childrens' channel CBeebies). In normal times, theatres, music halls and other such establishments would have been shut by law, though given that it's the Ronatimes, they're shut anyway. Presumably the authorities will order Netflix and Animal Crossing to be blocked at ISP level and repurpose the BBC detector vans to find people seditiously watching comedy shows on Zoom.

At any time, this would have been disruptive, though at this moment, it is particularly so. Britain now stands several months after the completion of Brexit, the total triumph of small-minded xenophobic reactionaries against the liberal, cosmopolitan tendency within, and is engaged in a sort of scourging of the shires; this is partly to distract attention from the monumental cock-up the whole project has been on any level other than the quick amphetamine high of chest-thumping nationalism. (Though, to those cheering it on, this is what counts; the Brexit agreement itself, for example, has been negotiated by the UK to be deliberately harsher than necessary, particularly to punish those of the defeated party; consequently, Britain has pulled out of the Erasmus student exchange programme, and pointedly refused to allow visas for touring artists. After all, the reasoning seems to go, we don't want our young people fraternising with the garlic-eaters, do we? The only way a young Briton post-Brexit should meet a European is in the trenches, with bayonet fixed.) In any case, the few months of Britain's post-EU existence have been met with businesses that do any sort of trade with the EU going to the wall, and the government engaging in a spiral of performative nationalism; mandating the flying of the flag on all government buildings, defending the statues of noble slaveholders from Antifa/BLM extremists, introducing laws criminalising protest, and blaming the lack of promised post-Brexit sunlit uplands on stabs in the back from treacherous metropolitan liberal remainer elites.

In a sense, Prince Philip is the Princess Di of Brexitland, the People's Prince 2021 Britain deserves. As Lady Diana—youthful, glamorous, relatably insecure, and caring about people in the way those around her didn't—embodied, in retrospect, the mood of the lifting of the dead hand of Thatcherism in the Cool Britannia New Labour Spring (how little we knew!), Philip—a geriatric racist who, even while alive, looked uncannily out of place among the living, known for his callous “gaffes” and celebrated by taxi drivers and pub bores across the country for his “robust views”—embodies the identity of post-Brexit Britain, indeed, the definition of True Brit in 2021.

Meanwhile in Australia, life goes on mostly as normal, with events going ahead as planned, with one exception: apparently the ABC not only replaced its main channel programming with wall-to-wall royal hagiography but simulcast that to its music channel, preempting a planned Rage tribute to a popular recently deceased musician in Melbourne. It is not clear whether they were required to do so by some imperial-era laws held over from the Menzies era (or possibly reintroduced in the contemporary conservative era), or whether some executive made the call to preemptively fold to the conservative culture warriors before their budget gets cut any further. Meanwhile, in Melbourne, a standup comedian started a routine mocking the Royal Family, not knowing that Philip's death had just been announced, and executed a perfect 360⁰ pivot.

There are 1 comments on "The People's Prince":

Posted by: Leviathan Sat Apr 24 10:46:36 2021

Are you living the UK again?

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