The Kingdom of the Spectacle 

Simon Pearson reflects on the farce of monarchy.

Were it to occur elsewhere in the world, we can all imagine the snobbish response to the widespread hysteria witnessed as Queen Elizabeth II lies in state. The abundance of idolatry on display would be the subject of articles in the right-wing press, mocking the grief, embarrassed by the lack of decorum.

Images of the spectacle are constantly being shown to us; they flash on every TV, permeate every radio, and appear in print on every newspaper. Apart from the spectacle, all news has ceased, and what was known has been eradicated from people’s minds. News of a war, a new prime minister, and a crisis in the cost of living is omitted to preserve an image. But what image? It is as if we are living under monarchical absolutism, and the people must worship at the altar of spectacle. This is power. This is their power, controlling the narrative, telling you what to feel and what to think.

Images of the spectacle are constantly being shown to us; they flash on every TV, permeate every radio, and appear in print on every newspaper. Apart from the spectacle, all news has ceased, and what was known has been eradicated from people’s minds.

Am I wrong? Cast your mind back to before D Day. Did you care about the Queen and the royal family? Be honest. If you didn’t and now surprisingly find yourself partial to the idea of Charles III and then William V, their job is done. Elizabeth the II, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Her other Realms and Territories, Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith, has gone, but this will not be Elizabeth the Last. The apparatus of the state is currently indoctrinating the populous to continue the charade of hereditary monarchy. It is the twenty-first century, yet this kingdom, united only in name, remains unwilling to accept an elected head of state and puts all faith in one dysfunctional family.

Republicanism is a dirty word. Those who celebrate the passing of the Elizabethan age, will be stoned and, if the monarchists have their way, made to repent, for this is the new age of Charles III. The state loves a good war or death to hide behind, the strings are pulled, and the public made to dance. Dissent now nullified in this supposed home of free speech.

Republicanism is a dirty word. Those who celebrate the passing of the Elizabethan age, will be stoned and, if the monarchists have their way, made to repent, for this is the new age of Charles III.

All dictatorships that are currently in power nod their heads in agreement as opposing voices are muffled by a wall of state-approved propaganda and moved along by ever-willing police. There will be no protest here. In what must be the first use of the Tories’ anti-demonstrating law, protesters have been scattered and dragged away, from Oxford to London, leaving only the spectacle. Someone shouting “dirty old man” in Scotland was detained for obstructing the peace. The truth hurts. Putin would be pleased that a London lawyer who couldn’t even write “Not My King” on a blank piece of paper was moved on.

Is this really the new beginning they want and need?

No, of course not. But now the people have become mute, unable to revolt, conditioned to be subservient to the idea. The spectacle continues, even after death.


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Simon Pearson is on the Editorial Board of the Anti*Capitalist Resistance and is a Midlands-based political activist.

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