Hearing the Queen speak is akin to finding out supermodel Kate Moss has a voice. Neither of them speaks frequently in public. Her Majesty’s main television gig is on Christmas. As for Kate, having once overheard her talking to one of her mates on Regent Street many years ago (before realising it was that Kate Moss!), the less she opens her gob, the better. All I can say is that on that day and for less than a minute I learnt a whole new vocabulary of English swearwords.
|One is not amused, I tell you.|
My only observation regarding the Queen’s remarks is that she ought to look closer to home before calling other people “very rude”. Liz happens to be married to a man who once asked Australian aborigines: “Do you still throw spears at each other?” There are entire websites dedicated to Prince Philip’s bloopers, from his “British women can’t cook” to “If you stay here much longer you'll all be slitty–eyed" (said to a group of British exchange students who were living in China. Perhaps the Chinese officials were only avenging their compatriots’ wounded honour).
As for Cameron and his now thoroughly-scrutinised “leaders of some fantastically corrupt countries” comment (after which he singled out both Afghanistan and Nigeria as the chief culprits) it would be better if he spent more time analysing the causes of that corruption instead of indulging in a pointless finger-pointing exercise. Corruption does not happen in a vacuum.
Corruption is not the same as theft. The former is a slow-burning, deep, bottomless, ground-digging process in which participants do not just happen to belong to developing nations. Whereas we can trace corruption in poor countries to bad governance, puppet – usually military – dignitaries and cronyism, the dirty money that comes from this vice must be “cleaned”, or laundered (to give it its proper name) somewhere. Somewhere where property is easy to buy and tax laws are lax. Somewhere like a “tax haven”. Unfortunately, there are not that many tax havens in Afghanistan and Nigeria. But in Britain? Well, read again the recent headlines on the Panama Papers.
We are talking about a triangulation between the City of London, the Crown’s dependencies and overseas territories and assets such as property. Especially property in London and other major metropolitan centres around the country. Let’s talk about this and maybe Cameron’s comment could be placed in its rightful context. He is the leader of a fantastically corrupt nation. And in the same way it happens in poorer countries, it is not the average Joe or Joanna who is corrupt but the combo of politicians and newly-arrived oligarchs.
Out of the two gaffes, the Queen was always going to able to get away with hers because the monarchy has come back into fashion with a vengeance. Part of that it’s the “Will’n’Kate” effect. Part of that as well is that Liz very rarely opens her mouth and therefore we, the Palace-upkeep-funding, tax-paying public, have no idea what to make of her. Cameron would do well to learn that lesson. Always look out for microphones on the loose.
Next Post: “Food, Music, Food, Music, Food, Music… Ad infinitum”, to be published on Wednesday 18th May at 6pm (GMT)