By John Dyer, Guest Contributor
(John Dyer is an American dual citizen who relocated permanently to the UK in retirement from public life in the US. )
So, who cares? Prior to the Wedding BBC estimated that as many as 2 billion people would watch the Wedding on TV. 24 million watched in the UK alone, 18 million watching BBC. According to BBC 80% of the United Kingdom supports the monarchy. There have been block parties across the country as people celebrated. And they celebrated not just because it was a “Bank Holiday.”
The percentages are probably less supportive where I live in the North West of the UK.
Lots of comments whispered about to the effect of “irrelevant rich people.” But the speakers kept looking around for rotten eggs and tomatoes.
There are reasons for that. There is a “divide” between the North and the South, with the North generally feeling economically, socially, and politically the poor relations of the South, especially “The City” (London). The swinge-ing “austerity” measures of the current government are hitting the North West harder than the South East, for sure. (Photo left of The City by PHKushlis, 8-2010; photo right of Lytham Centre by John Dyer, St George Day Festival 2011)
This past year has seen riots, anarchists smashing windows of “High Street” retailers, kicking Prince Charles’ car. If the first obligation of a government is social stability the current Coalition is failing. 5 May will see an election where it is generally believed the voters will register their collective dismay. (Note juxtaposition of the regal pageantry on the street in photo to right and headline on BBC ticker below it which reads in part "Bristol between police and protestors. . . " Ed.)
But today and increasingly for the 10 days prior, all that began to recede into the warm fuzzy fog of a jubilant nation celebrating that unique character and national identity- Britishness- even if their names happened to be Singh or Murti. Today was the nation’s day as well as the Crown’s.
The Prime Minister may have breathed a sigh of relief, but no doubt any relief is temporary. The swinge-ing cuts are not going away and neither is reaction to them. But today the key question was, who designed Kate’s dress. Ecstatic crowds waved the UK “Union Jack.” I don’t think I have ever heard a crowd who more exhibited a “roar.” There were a million people on the streets watching in person.
One more cultural tour de force