Institutions and administrative bodies including broadcasters (particularly BBC), sports, theatres and other entertainment venues chose to postpone or cancel events scheduled soon after the death of the queen, and more on the day of her funeral (19th September). Their decisions were accompanied by a shared phrase as faux justification: “As a mark of respect to the queen.” They imposed the act of mourning upon people.
Imposition of how people should react or respond (or not) to the death of a monarch is not compatible with functioning democracy or with basic liberty and freedom. There are no laws that demand people mourn but, via administration of facets of normal life, the obligation to do so is enforced.
Cancellations were imposed on the public after administrative bodies had “consultations” with the government via Department For Digital, Culture, Media And Sport. Political censorship executed remotely.
Denial of fun in public during a period of enforced mourning is authoritarian suppression. It is the other butt cheek to “celebration” of the queen’s seventy-year jubilee earlier this year. The suppression acts upon an individual – denying access to enjoyment – but its main objective is suppression of the visibility of fun. Cheering football fans on a live Premier League match on TV (all professional football suspended in UK on weekend after queen’s death and some matches the following weekend), or live audience laughter at a comedy show on radio (new comedy broadcasts postponed at BBC) lessens effectiveness of the inculcated mantra of “a nation in mourning” as do people having a fun day out at an concert (last night of the proms cancelled) or a festival (Hackney Council cancelled Hackney Carnival). People mustn’t be seen to be having fun or be seen to be indifferent to the queen’s death.
Alongside the invisibility of fun and of indifference there are blatant political cancellations (suspension of petitions on government website; a current petition relates to payments for people with disabilities) and bizarre cancellations (Meteorological Office limited its weather reports). The latter example is typical of cult-like deference that infests establishment public communications post monarch-death wherein normal adult cognizance is abandoned in favour of squashed childlike behaviour as if a disease of the brain caused erasure of intellect, logic and reason.
There were cancellations that stemmed from a lack of political nous or courage. Communication Workers Union and Railway And Maritime Union cancelled strikes due to take place in the week after the monarch’s death, and environmental activist organisation Extinction Rebellion cancelled a conference. These cancellations were poor decisions that revealed political naivety. Employers are not cancelling their plans that led to the strikes and alternative days for strikes cannot be set due to highly restrictive anti-worker laws set by Tories. Climate destroyers are not cancelling their activities.
Reality in UK is that most people are unaffected by the queen’s demise. The cancellation of visible normal enjoyment is suppression of that reality. “A nation in mourning” is a created perception as a tool to entrench the political philosophy of entitlement and unmerited betterment. It is also an extremely anti-intellect strategy.
It should be possible to avoid the continuous fantasy of imposed collective mourning for a death of a queen and celebration of a new king but cancellations extend beyond removal of visible fun. On the day of the funeral (19th September) food banks are closed, hospital appointments are postponed and even other funerals are delayed.
We are extras in a play for which we didn’t audition, written by a surrealist, and we are surrounded by proclamations from politicians, broadcasters and other platformed voices riddled with a brain disease, but we are not allowed any fun.
Right now, fun and enjoyment are revolutionary acts.