Union Jack Summer: Photos of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics

Flags in BrockleyRoad ClosedVictory Fish BarThe Jubilee flotilla in the rainGiving in to the rainThe Jubilee house
There is no future in England's dreamingThe waving QueenA street of flagsAn alley of flagsThe Queen's houseNot governed by European rules
Flowers for the QueenThe patriotic basementRemembering the Royal FamilyJubilee supermarketThe patriotic trashThe Olympic crowd by City Hall
The Olympic screen and the skyTower Bridge and the Olympic screenPotter's PlacePink patriotismThe Lord John RussellJessica Ennis in New Cross

Union Jack Summer: The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics, a set on Flickr.

I have no great love for either the Royal Family or the Olympics, and, on this latter point, my articles should make clear where I stand — Our Olympic Hell: A Militarised, Corporate, Jingoistic Disgrace, Olympics Disaster: The G4S Security Scandal and Corporate Sponsors’ £600 Million Tax Avoidance and The Dark Side of the Olympics: Kettling Cyclists and Telling Fairytales About Our Heritage. You can also find some more photos here.

As for the Queen, I have long adored “God Save the Queen” by the Sex Pistols — one of the greatest rock songs of all time, along with “Anarchy in the UK” — and I did dream of mounting a black sound system to a black bike with a black flag, pumping out the Pistols’ “God Save the Queen,” and cycling around every street party I could find in London on the Diamond Jubilee weekend.

That never came to pass, and in truth, although I find the existence of the Royal Family objectionable, some of the individuals involved work hard (the Queen and Princess Anne come to mind) and I also don’t trust any politicians to preside over the dissolution of the Royal Family and the disposal of their assets in a way that would benefit the majority of the people. More sensible, then, would be for their role to be scaled down enormously, as in other European countries, but there appears to be no hint of that on the horizon, and so we are stuck with something that looks like the divine right of kings (or queens), but is in fact a very expensive charade. Read the rest of this entry »

Slave Labour During the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee

Congratulations to the Guardian for exposing the workfare scandal that took place during the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Celebrations — and, specifically, the £12m river pageant that took place on Sunday, when, in torrential rain, a flotilla of boats, including one carrying the Queen and other members of the Royal Family, travelled along the River Thames from Hammersmith to Tower Bridge. For my previous take on workfare, see The Tories’ Vile Workfare Project, and How It Has Now Infiltrated the NHS.

I was alerted to the Guardian‘s article yesterday evening, by a friend on Facebook, and, before I report on it and analyse it, I’m posting below the first three paragraphs of the article, as they perfectly capture the spirit of self-righteous exploitation that typifies the current government, and that stands in such stark contrast to the supposed celebration of the Jubilee, in which — as with the artificial age of austerity implemented by the Tories for ideological reasons, to destroy the state and privatise the whole of the UK — we are all supposed to be in it together:

A group of long-term unemployed jobseekers were bussed into London to work as unpaid stewards during the diamond jubilee celebrations and told to sleep under London Bridge before working on the river pageant.

Up to 30 jobseekers and another 50 people on apprentice wages were taken to London by coach from Bristol, Bath and Plymouth as part of the government’s Work Programme.

Two jobseekers, who did not want to be identified in case they lost their benefits, said they had to camp under London Bridge the night before the pageant. They told the Guardian they had to change into security gear in public, had no access to toilets for 24 hours, and were taken to a swampy campsite outside London after working a 14-hour shift in the pouring rain on the banks of the Thames on Sunday. Read the rest of this entry »

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo, co-director, We Stand With Shaker. Also, singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers) and photographer.
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