Not Entirely Reverent Royalists


In years gone by, it was an annual tradition for some engineering students from the nearby University of Toronto to paint the balls of King Edward VII’s horse bright red every spring as part of a no-doubt dumb and dangerous ritual.  I have to say, amusing as that was when I was little, I like this traffic-cone hat-trick a whole lot better.

Perfectly destructive of pompous dignity, without resorting to the crass. Absurdist perfection.  Light touch!

But I got an even better laugh when I looked at the history of the statue.

First given to the people of Delhi in 1911 by their emperor (no less) King George V.

Then re-gifted by India, (no longer forced to act grateful) to us Canadians, in 1969 – and now sitting among very happy old and lovely trees at Queens Park, the seat of our provincial government.

And yes, there are some odd United Empire Loyalists here – we have our own Canuck version of funny revisionist throwbacks. But for the most part, I’d say the average Canadian’s attitude to the whole idea of royalty is nicely summed-up by the look on his horse’s face. “Can you believe this guy?”

Can’t helping thinking Britain has no idea what it’s in-for as Brexit unravels it’s cool branding, and it abandons it’s internationalist commonwealth authority. Xenophobic nationalism is not without consequences – the flag of St George is very bloody. There are a couple of centuries-worth of stories they’re really hoping stay buried and not associated with them – but I wouldn’t bet on that myself, especially as environmental stressors really start piling-up.

Fascinated as I am by the Battle of Britain – the way that one event has been used to rebrand the world-striding thug, exploiter and oppressor par-excellence into a plucky heroic underdog so effectively, is outright creepy. A propaganda masterpiece, if ever there was one.

Serious contemporary politics note – I must mention for my French and English friends – yes, I do get the Lexit idea, but I think it’s based on a very sweet sentimental misunderstanding about what’s coming for us and how fast (food shortage, rationing). Excesses in Brussels are crazy-making, and cooption by neolibs is outright horrifying – no question, but central institutions kept strong (and sane), are your very best tool against such cooption and bulling into market-submission. On the environment, they are simply required.

Which, to be clear, makes what’s being done to Greece not just a betrayal of the European project, but a cursed war-crime which must not stand. A few thousand bankers and shareholders versus a whole country? Guess who all sane people vote to make-suffer? (Don’t even get me started on the known-fraud, under which Greece was allowed entry into the Euro in the first place). Much to redress, though I fear we’re all going to back-burner justice for awhile, when the rollercoaster really gets going!

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