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What’s in a song

September 17, 2015

To believe in a monarchy is to believe that some, by birth, deserve more. More power. More wealth. More adulation. More respect. Not for their actions, but for their genetics.

To believe that about one family, it is a small step to believe that about a whole class of people. To believe that there are people who, by virtue of their birth, not their deeds, deserve more from society, and are better suited to shape it.

To believe that about a class of people, and about one family based on their genetics, it is almost inevitable to believe that about people who look and sound the same.

If you believe that some inherent characteristics entitle one to more, you may not realise it, but you must also believe that some people, by virtue of characteristics decided before their birth, deserve less. Less power. Less wealth. Less respect. Not for what they do, but for who they are.

To believe in a monarchy is to believe that some people are just not worth as much. That they don’t matter. That the comfort of this group of people is worth more than the suffering and deprivation of those people.

To pay lip service to a monarch is to glorify and perpetuate this system. This societal agreement that if your parents had the wrong job, if your written and spoken language don’t match, if you love the wrong people, if your skin and your faith don’t match the colour and practice of the realm, then not only do you probably get less than the right people, but the fact you get less is a consequence of society working properly, not a sign that it is broken.

I love my country. I love its people, ancient and new. I love its voices, in their glorious melodic variety. Its kaleidescope of faces.

But my country has a cancer at its heart. The monarchy is a modern hangover. Colonialism is not dead.

In the age of empire, the class that ruled Britain ruled the world. Those people committed horrors upon horrors on those below them, both in these isles and across the world.

We have not exorcised these ghosts. Their structures remain. The same blood sits on the same seats.

With those seats, the message is given, over and over, that we are not the same. That some people are just worth more than others. That some deserve gold headwear. Others, a photo of their child, cold on a Turkish beach.

So no. I will not sing your anthem.

I am not more than you because of my parents education. I am not less than you because of who I love. And I will not say that I am, not in any way, and certainly not with a song.

With eternal thanks to all those who have helped me see the consequences of my attitudes, and helped me be a kinder human being.

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