The coronation of England’s Prince Charles was yet another waste of money, with ordinary people being scammed yet again.
Have you ever wondered why, when on tours greeting subjects, Charles III left-hand looks restless until he lodges it in the pocket of his coat?
Possibly, it is a gesture inherited through many ancestors with the same habit. It is analogous to generations of royals putting their hands in the pockets of the people of the British Isles and indeed the broader empire.
Recent estimates show Charles III personal wealth at £1.8 billion (AU$3.36 billion). Republicans wonder whether his investments date from the days of slavery, the opium wars and strangling taxation.
Anyone watching the BBC must realise that the people of England are in deep trouble. The majority fear for their futures as the public health, education and transport systems lurch along with insufficient funding. Unable to meet energy costs, many people ask charitable institutions for support.
The saying “eat or heat” describes the choice facing many there and, increasingly, in Australia. Britain cannot afford to pay nurses, ambulance drivers and teachers enough to have their salaries keep pace with inflation.
Meanwhile, the government smiles and assures people that everything will be fine. Halving inflation is the priority, followed by growing the economy, reducing debt, cutting National Health Service waiting times and stopping the boats.
The smile of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak exudes about as much sincerity and compassion as the computer that says “no” to anyone seeking finance to survive. He has no immediate answers and inspires no confidence.
In such circumstances, why do people tolerate the burdens imposed by royalty?
Some claim that when times are hard — wars, epidemics and this deepening depression the government smilingly administers — people need something to lift their spirits. The desperate accept this argument and wave their little Union Jacks and cheer as the gold coach passes.
Maybe the English maintain the monarchy so that they can wheel it out occasionally for pomp and circumstance. But this national delusion seems like an enormous Ponzi scheme.
Imagine someone coming to your door and suggesting you invest a few bucks in a plan to lift your spirits in case of depression. He will dress in fancy clothes and take holidays in sunny climes.
Ask how the schemer would know that things were going to get tough. He will say, quite openly, that he is creating a pool of money that will be extracted from the public purse and locked up in his personal kitty.
Of course, the health system will be impoverished, rents and heating bills will soar and unemployment will grow. In those circumstances, is it not consoling to know that there is someone out there enjoying themselves?
Why by becoming an A-list celebrity, he will provide a model for what is possible. How could you not contribute to this scheme?
While some people are glad they have the monarchy to lift their spirits, just how much are they willing to invest in this royal scam? Is there a tipping point at which people will begin to think that at one point £1.8 billion would be better in the health system than in Charles III pocket?
Then they might not need the monarchy to cheer them up.
Singer-songwriter Billy Bragg is a friend of Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. He wonders why we still have a Union Jack in the corner of our flag, and disagrees with Albanese’s claim that it is not the right time to speak of a republic when Queen Elizabeth was barely in her grave.
Bragg and I agree that this was the perfect time for Republican talk. Charles III coronation provides another opportunity to declare that we are fed up with the royal circus. Even the Barmy Army thought it a suitable insult to remind us that our next queen would be Camilla!
Unfortunately, the PM seems determined to go down in history as a heartbreaker. Some will remember that former Coalition MP Malcolm Turnbull accused John Howard of breaking the nation’s heart when he manipulated — and celebrated — a “no” vote in the 1999 republican plebiscite.
Fair weather republicans continually tell us that the time is not right for change. These royalist subalterns really do more harm than out-and-out monarchists.
In case we cannot understand how English people put up with a do-nothing government, watch while our own government suppresses the reasonable demands of the unemployed, the elderly and the disabled while spending big on submarines and tax cuts for the wealthy.
The monarchy alone might not have caused these crises, but it has certainly played its deplorable role in creating inequality and public acceptance of poverty.
It is time Australia abandoned the royal yacht.