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"So what is there to be excited about?" I hear you murmur quietly to the friend next to you, nervous that if you get caught saying such things the Queen will have your head on a spike.
Last week, we had two days of blistering heat and sunshine after the prolonged "beast of the east" or an average winter as the Scandinavians call it. Of course, us Brits do what we do best and underprepared for the snow and then overrated when it came. Roads were shut, people were unable to work, and figures suggest it was costing the economy up to £1bn every day. So when the sun came, what did we do? Overreact, of course. The whole 22 degrees centigrade saw me don my shorts and sit out in the garden, topless, all day with a beer. Did I have work to do? Yes. Is it going to be sunny again? Yes. But I'm British and as we Brits all know a glimmer of sunshine is enough to down tools for the foreseeable. It'll come as no surprise to learn I didn't have any sun cream and burnt horribly.
The point of this is there are some things that as a country, or collection of countries, we just love and we love them unjustifiably. The royal family is another thing people are unnecessarily obsessed with. The monarchy originally ran the country with what was essentially a dictator at the helm. At least they had a purpose then, even with their pitfalls of which there were many. Their job was to govern our country as they saw fit and this included the subsequent egotistical empire they had established. Brits are never wrong though, so they choose to forget the slavery bit.
So when Kate Middleton has her third child, there is pandemonium on the streets of Britain. There really isn't but it makes a good line. The sort of people you'd expect to see making tea at the local book club are those who get the most excited. But seriously, there are hundreds if not thousands of people waiting outside the hospital to "congratulate" and "celebrate" the birth of another member of the elite whose whole life will be paid for by the taxpayer. What a wonderful system the monarchy is, right? I know there's the tourism revenue argument and that will get thrown at me but come on, they've not so long ago announced a £369m refurbishment of Buckingham Palace which no tourist will be able to get inside and see the full decoration. So there's one group of people, celebrating the birth of someone they'll likely never know, never bear importance to, and never govern (third born and what power does the monarchy really have?). It all seems a bit silly. At least they've got hope. Hope that Kate & Will's eyes will gaze upon their supportive placard and take them in as their own and nurture them in some sort of overage foster agreement. Yeah, I didn't mention it's not school kids waiting outside the hospital. As much as I'd still feel sorry for children celebrating a royal birth, there's every possibility they could've been indoctrinated to think this way. It's grown human beings with what I can only assume to be "fully developed" brains.
This all happened on St. Georges day, an annual event in England where we celebrate a story along the lines of "Here Ye! Here Ye! Noble Knight slays (innocent animal trying to maintain healthy diet) the Dragon" whose blood then produces a red rose which George presents to the princess, naturally. Facts only here.
St. George's Day is celebrated at large by the sort of men that would've been seen swaggering down their high street shirtless during last week's heatwave, making it look like some sort of Phil Mitchell tribute band was checking a potential venue out for an upcoming gig. The people who love St. George's day are the sort of people who love Britain for being "British" and also praise the likes of Tommy Robinson for "speaking up" because every Jamal, Mo, and Ahmed have got an opinion nowadays. I don't understand why St. George's Day is an annual event, other than an excuse to get sloshed, and I don't understand how Tommy Robinson hasn't been deported for the greater good yet.
I did a little digging and if we're taking this story as gospel—I can see no reason why not—then there's a little more to it. George was actually a Turk who went to Libya and killed the dragon there after the King had offered his daughter's hand in marriage as a reward. Turns out they'd been satisfying the dragon's hunger with "beautiful maidens" and they'd run out until only the king's daughter was left. Not sure if that speaks volumes about the king's desire to protect his daughter or her attractiveness. Either way, George successfully played the dragon and married the princess. Happy families? No. Why did they not first try and relocate the dragon to a similar habitat? Why was the king feeding beautiful women to the dragon (and how many had he fed that it was beginning to threaten his own daughter)? Any sort of rebel or vagabond could've slain the dragon so how fussed was the king about the credentials of his future son-in-law? Does that mean my patron saint is a thug? I'm not sure what's worse in this story, the animal cruelty or offering your daughter's hand to solve a rodent problem.
I knew Britain loved claiming things that weren't theirs, like land and oil, but I didn't think they'd try to persuade a whole nation a dragon slayer was one of their own. George isn't British and this is a disservice to all the bald football hooligans with a bulldog inked on their right bicep and a knight etched on their calf—their special brew will not sit well tonight. You know what, who cares? The Queen's German anyway.
We all have opinions. I respect your right to have an opinion but it doesn't mean I have to respect you. Same goes for me.
A white St. George is unrealistic. If you still support the story regardless of where St. George is from, then I respect your right to beliefs in terms of dragons and beautiful maidens. If St. George is no longer the same to you because he's not white then you are a dying breed and deserve to be in the same shipping container, on the way to a honky-hating kingdom, as Tommy Robinson. If you're offended by the word honky, grow up.