– By James Martin “The monarchy is a labour intensive industry.” – Harold Wilson Well fellow readers, I like many British citizens have partaken this evening in what is probably the most British of institutions, yes I have gone out for a pint. If you t …

Walton Pantland

royal parasite

– By James Martin

“The monarchy is a labour intensive industry.” – Harold Wilson

Well fellow readers, I like many British citizens have partaken this evening in what is probably the most British of institutions, yes I have gone out for a pint. If you thought for a minute I was going to say ‘celebrated the birth of the future King of the United Kingdom’, you are gravely mistaken. You see, I’m not sure that when it comes to democracy, the act of giving birth, is the best way of deciding our next head of state.

Waking up this morning, the UK was faced, not with the labour of another citizen, but with the top headline news that pornography in the UK will become an opt-in system, one in which internet users must request access to pornographic websites from the ISP (Internet Service Provider). This act was in response to several cases of indecent images accessed by the lowest in our society. So, let’s stop and breathe, yes I’m going there – A Brit is writing about porn.

Our sexuality is the most intimate part of being a human being, the one thing that gives us the closest knowledge about ourselves, the thing that makes us closest to our partners, yet the thing that can trouble us the most. Stephen Fry, when discussing Oscar Wilde puts it like this: “It was extremely important to show that Wilde’s sexuality was not just some intellectual idea. It was real, and it was about the human body. To just have mentioned it and not shown it would have been, I think, peculiar and wrong.”

But let’s understand what is happening here. A blanket block on ISPs allowing access to pornographic imagery online. Let’s just address the elephant in the room; a majority of internet users in the UK have accessed pornography at some stage, 61% of users asked in the UK said that they have watched porn in the last 12 months (Sep 2012, YouGov). I’m sure that nobody reading this should disagree with the stopping of the production and distribution of content featuring the exploitation of vulnerable adults and children for the profit of some sick bastard/pervert. Again nobody should disagree with the banning of certain search phrases and all indecent materials.

Yet in the months in which we understand our freedoms are being inhibited, you can understand my problem as being this: Edward Snowden has firmly established that a plethora of Government agencies in the western world have been, or have the ability to, access our emails and other interactions through social media. I don’t want to live in a society where I have a government reviewing my online communications and then making me call up, in what will be an awkward chat with my ISP, to request access to porn.

Please understand, I think that the porn industry’s degradation of women and the so-called, ‘perfect person’, has poisoned society. It has led to the increase in suicides of vulnerable teenagers, led to the ‘size zero’ culture and has also given horrific expectations of what sex should be like. These are very important issues, I say important, they were for me, who snapped my Trapezius muscle lifting weights in a vain attempt to impress others, to emulate expectations at age 21. If you have read my articles, I hide nothing from our readers; it’s the sorry fact of societal pressure in which that happened – Limited movement in my left arm. I know, not all to do with porn. But there are pros and cons to anything and so long as people watch legal and responsible imagery, whose business is it of mine, or an ISPs? In fact what business is it of a snooping government provided adequate controls are in place to stop the horrid exploitation of people, I don’t remember asking them to read my hotmail account. I love this argument though, those detractors that say, ‘if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to be afraid of’, well yes I guess so, but if that is the case, why doesn’t the government disclose all of its secrets then?

I had to address this erosion of the few bastions of freedom we do have left – the free internet. I may have sounded like some kind of a porn maverick, I’m not by the way, but coming back to me being in the pub, it was odd how every table was talking about this (before you ask, there was more than just my table occupied!). That was, before the breaking news reports were plastered on every TV screen in sight. That’s right, another Royal f*****g baby had been born. Urgh. And I was sat with ardent royalists. I felt like the Roundhead invited to Charles II coronation.

I’m 26, and if I’m honest, the only argument I have ever thought was worthy of the royalist cause was that I don’t think I could trust a politician with the armed forces. Then again, I suppose as a pacifist, I don’t believe in armed forces and my royalist argument is now rendered inert. I just found the whole cheering and nationalism just somewhat odd. Didn’t these people realise that child poverty would be 28.4% in Scotland by 2020? That the spending review in England and Wales meant that another 200,000 children would now be living below the breadline? Somehow that message was silenced with the euphoria of another century of Brits condemned to monarchic rule. The media loved it, I don’t think that any news channel was running with any other headline than ‘The Royal Birth’. There was even a joke, if the birth was delayed by more than one day, David Cameron would ‘blame Labour’.

For those of you that have read my previous articles on USi, you will note that I tend to relate things to history, yet with this ‘moment of history’ I have found myself looking at it with a completely futuristic view. If you like Star Trek, you will know that by the 24th century, mankind had replaced materialism with the self-betterment of the species. With that view in mind, I just couldn’t get passed the fact that workers are facing neo-Victorian conditions: In Europe, now bathing in austerity, is killing thousands. In Greece, women in Athens are facing compulsory HIV testing and that in Bangladesh, ship breakers are dying every hour dismantling the spoils of western decadence. With these mainly unreported human disgraces, in the UK at least, all can be forgotten because some future aristocrat was born, I suppose it isn’t the childs fault. Meanwhile, in Greece, thanks to austerity, the rate of dead births has increased 21.5% since 2008 (Prensa Latina News Agency). Perspective.

The purpose of my article is to hope that, if you have read this far, we can gain a little perspective. For our international readers, not all of the UK are monarchists. Then again, nowhere near a majority are republicans. I haven’t penned this to sway people either way, I just want to highlight that life is becoming disparately unfair for people in the UK. As MP’s accept a £7,500 pay rise and their public sector counterparts endure a 5th year of pay freezes, as unions face alienation and attacks from all political parties, as the cost of living kills the most vulnerable in society. I’m not exactly sure we should be setting off the fireworks for the birth of another future monarch. What would Guy Fawkes think? In fact, let’s just be British about it, in our seeming world-famous capacity for understatement, let’s just ditch the fireworks and send a simple congratulations card to the Citizens Windsor.

“Listen. Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.” – Dennis the Peasant, Monty Python’s Holy Grail.

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Walton Pantland

South African trade unionist living in Glasgow. Loves whisky, wine, running and the great outdoors. Walton did an MA in Industrial Relations at Ruskin, Oxford, and is interested in how trade unions use new technology to organise.

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