Kiss me Corbyn… This would not play well at Borgen

In a week when vast crowds of desperate families opted for risking a watery grave on the high seas instead of being blown to pieces at home, UK media boiled over with sucking indignation. About Kings and Queens and men in tights. Yes, really.

Newly minted darling-of-the-people, republican Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn side-stepped the opportunity to kneel before the British Queen and kiss her hand while being initiated into something called the Privy Council.

Apparently, in order to gain access to the nuclear button and other such intriguing instruments of state, Corbyn needs to become a member of the Privy Council, or PC as it is commonly called, which is ironic, considering that it must rank among the least PC bodies on the planet.

In the process, Corbyn needs to swear an oath to the Queen, and to validate the oath he must kneel before her and kiss her hand. No no, you’re not mistaken, this is the year 2015. But this is also Great Britain, although the ‘Great’ evaporated some time ago and what is left of Britain still seems to prefer the year 1915.

So what is this Privy Council? Well, if you judge the 800+ strong, unelected House of Lords to be the pinnacle of undemocratic government institutions, you clearly have yet to encounter Her Majesty’s Most Honourable Privy Council, currently comprising some 600 equally unelected members. Such lack of democratic legitimacy, however, does not prevent this body of… whoevers – from advising the monarch on all things governmental. Exactly why Her Maj needs such advice is unclear, as she has no influence over, well, anything. In theory, at least.

Now, Corbyn is a republican (a view for which he incidentally can still be incarcerated for life in Blighty). Be that as it may, he is hardly likely to subject himself to such public humiliation, and he would, in any event, be a hypocrite to do so. Such shenanigans have absolutely no place in a modern society. What is shocking is not Corbyn’s attitude but that no one has sought to question this risible ritual until now.

British blood pressure had already been pumped up royally by Jeremy not lending his vocal chords to the national anthem during a recent Remembrance Day ceremony. It seems that no one, except for Corbyn, has cottoned on to the fact that “God Save the Queen” is not a ‘national anthem’ at all. It is a ‘royal anthem’. Why one should wish to sing about saving one particular person, however royal, while honouring the war sacrifices of millions of citizens, dead or alive, is a mystery. In fact, it is quite offensive.

Denmark is a monarchy, so what does Borgen do?

As luck would have it, the week in question also saw Danish Parliamentary activity aflutter as Borgen returned from the summer recess. The opening of the Danish Folketing took place on Tuesday 6 October 2015 amid much jolly backslapping and an overflow of flowers and flags. Borgen’s answer to Dennis Skinner and veteran member of the House Bertel Haarder had even composed a rap to mark the occasion.

There was, however, not a glimmer of fancy dress. Or men in tights, for that matter. Queen Margrethe arrived, sporting a red hat, what else? Mode of transport: a vintage Rolls adorned with a couple of fluttering flags. A few half hearted bows and genuflections welcomed her and, together with the rest of her family, she took her seat upstairs, next to the public gallery, settling down to listen to Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen deliver his programme for the forthcoming year.

Now, despite general acceptance of the Danish royals, the country does have its fair share of vocal dissenters – it’s a free country. There are 12 parties in the Folketing, two of which, Enhedslisten and Socialistisk Folkeparti are confirmed republicans. As custom requires Members of Parliament to stand up when the Queen enters, the republicans simply enter after the Queen. Job sorted. Not everyone appreciates this approach, but all accept the right to do as each sees fit.

As for a national anthem, all Scandinavian monarchies have two anthems: a national anthem and a royal anthem. The national anthems all vax lyrical about the country and its people: “Der Er Et Yndigt Land” (“There Is A Lovely Land” – Denmark), “Ja Vi Elsker Dette Landet” (“Yes We Do Love This Country” – Norway) and “Du Gamla Du Fria” (“You Are Old You Are Free” – Sweden). In fact, so patriotic are the Danes that the first verse of “Der Er Et Yndigt Land” was sewn in to every item of athletes’ clothing for the London 2012 Olympics.

The royal anthems, on the other hand, either recount heroic acts by a dead king “Kong Christian Stod Ved Højen Mast I Røg Og Damp” “King Christian Stood by a Tall Mast in Smoke and Steam” (Denmark), or run along the usual lines of ‘long life’ ‘honour’ that sort of thing. Swedes sing “Kungssången” (“The King’s Song”) and Norway’s “Kongesangen” (“The King’s Song”) is a variation of God Save The Queen. Clearly no Eurovision winners there. They are all reserved mainly for royal births, marriages and deaths or visits by other royals.

So, as a republican, Corbyn is perfectly correct to decline to save the Queen, whom he is presumably hell bent on putting out to grass anyway. Besides, it is complete nonsense for a people to sing about a Queen, when they’re really celebrating themselves and the country they have all crafted with their own bare hands and fought for in their own blood, sweat and tears.

If the order of the day is to save someone, instead of singing about saving the Queen, our full attention should be on saving the desperate boat people in the Mediterranean. The Queen is more than capable of looking after herself.

Of course, the reason for all the flush-faced fury is that Jeremy Corbyn’s sucker punch has well and truly winded the entire British establishment, politicians to the left and right alike, the serried ranks of the armed forces and the jabbering journos of the media, who thought they could carry on blithely phoning it in.

Brits in their hundreds of thousands are, however, now massing behind change. They expect Corbyn to stick firmly to his guns and refuse to play the pointless, demeaning games that are helping to keep the elite in power and the people ‘in their place’.

The people just jumped the fence. They are in the building.


Corbyn, Sturgeon and a guy called Nigel… Borgen would love them all

Q: What do Jeremy Corbyn, Nicola Sturgeon, Caroline Lucas, Nigel Farage and Leanne Wood all have in common?


Agree with them or not, no one could doubt that they all speak their own words or that they all passionately believe in what they say. And they do say what they believe in. Very loudly.

For every other politician it’s business as usual: ‘We can’t think of anything original to say, so let’s instead demolish what everyone else says.’ Continue reading

Warning: Strap hanging still shaves a quarter off your wage. What would Borgen do?

I’m feeling so lethargic after all those seasonal festivities that I can’t quite find my mojo to write a new post just yet. So how lucky is this? I don’t have to write a new post at all! Here’s one I prepared earlier. Exactly one year ago, in fact. I promise you won’t even spot the join!

To be fair, the Powers that be cunningly judged that, being ever closer to those pesky elections, they’d best lower fare increases to just match inflation but, as real wages have practically ossified, it doesn’t make a blind bit of difference.

Call-me-Dave’s spin-drier could just have told the Romanians and Bulgarians about the price of a commute and our migration figures would be sure to end up in the negative. Continue reading

Yeo, Borgen! Fix our – allegedly – corrupt politicians!

Groundhog Day doesn’t half seem to come around with monotonous regularity these days. The smoke has barely cleared from the Patrick Mercer MP Cash for Questions questions, before we are treated to Cash for Answers allegations, courtesy of Tory Grandee Tim Yeo, MP allegedly.

Meanwhile, back at the Beeb, The Sunday Politics wheeled in fragrant fruitcake Nadine Dorries to speak up for her hard pressed, austerity hit MP colleagues.

Nadine, by pure coincidence, is herself to be investigated in connection with an apparent fee for her valiant public service in an Aussi television jungle.  But let that not stand in the way of the fact that Nadine actually does seem to have hit on a highly credible solution to the rampant corruption sweeping through our Houses of Parliament. Continue reading

Warning: Strap hanging can shave a quarter off your wages. What Would Borgen Do?

Happy New Year Britain! Stand by for more cuts! cuts! cuts! Except in rail fares. There it’s a case of Let the Train Drain you Dry. As part of the festive fireworks, rail fares exploded by 4.3% so, if you are privileged enough to have a job at all, you can kiss good-bye to up to a quarter of your pay packet just to get you there.

A Season ticket will cost as much as 23% of gross salary or, put another way, you’ll effectively have to work till April Fools’ Day for nowt. Supreme irony or something else? You decide.

Even train spotters’ favourite, Michael Portillo, appears to have been priced off UK Rail. In the teeth of recent BBC budget travails, Michael’s much loved Great British Railway Journeys have transmogrified into a collection of rail journeys “across the heart of Europe“, no doubt slashing his programme budget by half at a stroke. Nice one Michael. Continue reading