There was a Christmas day tradition in our family which involved precision of timing and a lot of stress that only dissipated at 3pm. Everything, till then, revolved around the broadcast of the Queen’s Speech. You see, Rosa was an ardent royalist. Lunch had to be cooked, eaten and tidied away before 3pm so that the family could sit down in respectful silence to watch the speech.
I have watched the Queen’s Speech every Christmas for almost 10 years without fail and I can honestly say that it has not, in any way, increased the perceived value of my citizenry of British society. By this I mean that I still get called ‘bloody Paki’. I still face racism and still have to answer the same old question of, ‘Where do you come from?’, and South London never seems to be the right answer.
Given the way Jeremy Corbyn has been vilified for not getting the time of the Queen’s Speech correct, you would think that anyone who watches it must be accorded some special status in society wouldn’t you?
I mean, blow me down, today’s news has been primarily devoted to the leader of the Labour party daring to say that he watches the speech in the morning. The overt criticism being that he cannot be a royalist, therefore he must be anti-Britain and, in conclusion, is a huge danger to the country.
For all the years that I have lived in Britain I can honestly say that I struggle to find any born and bred Brit, unlike the immigrant that I am, who actually watches the Queen’s Speech. Most people tell me that they are either sitting down to eat their turkey at that time or are too drunk to care.
Our Christmases have, till last year, begun with getting Rosa ready for church service at 10.30am. Lunch from 1pm till 2.30pm followed by mince pies with cream while watching the speech. It was the highlight of Rosa’s afternoon and we respected that. It was a tradition of hers that we were happy to adopt and abide by but I never, personally, felt in any way special or sanctimonious for having watched it.
My closing thoughts on Christmas night were about more important things like my presents or how to deal with leftovers. It would have been rather odd if I had gone to sleep patting myself on the back for having watched the Queen’s Speech.
A part of me suspects that watching the Queen’s Speech is actually about the class system and not at all about the speech itself or what time it is on at.
That colonial image of British men standing up and toasting to ‘Queen and Country’ is what this fiasco against Jeremy Corbyn is all about. Let’s face it, the right wing press and the fluffy media (This Morning etc) have enormous problems accommodating a photofit of a political leader that does not include ‘Eton’ in a bio somewhere. Even if the Tories and Labour swapped manifestos today fault would still be found with Jeremy Corbyn.
As a form of protest against this moral grandstanding over the Queen’s Speech, I am not going to watch it this year. I will, instead, play Twister and tie myself into a knot over the irrationality of the British press.