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Ukania: the Land Where the Queen’s Son Has His Shoelaces Ironed by His Valet

Photo Source ale | CC BY 2.0

I’ve just left Ukania, where I attended the Historical Materialism conference in London. After some much needed psychological decompression, I’m now back in the Land of Caged Toddlers.

In the UK at the same time was the UN Special Rapporteur on poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, travelling to some of the UK’s poorest areas to investigate the impact Tory austerity has had on the UK’s indigents.

Ukania has been misruled for decades, indeed for centuries (if the truth be told). The sole possible exception to this was the immediate postwar Labour government, which created the welfare state.

The all-party consensus around the NHS lasted for three decades, but every government after that, Tory and Labour alike, acquiesced in the slow whittling-down or outright gutting of the welfare state. Only Corbyn’s “old” Labour seems to be an exception to this trend.

So what will Professor Alston find?

The UK’s highest paid executive got the boot while I was there, but will keep his £75million/US$99 million bonus. Such is the state of corruption in Ukania that he might well have received a knighthood if he lasted another year or two, and would probably have been able to keep that as well.

Indeed, Ukania’s super-rich are doing immensely well. The Sunday Times Rich List for 2017 found that the total wealth of Britain’s richest 1,000 individuals and families surged 14% in that year alone, to £658 billion/$854 billion.

As for the rest, it’s a different story.

To mark Alston’s visit The Times (of London) conducted a surprising investigation into poverty in the UK–  surprising because The Times is owned by Rupert Murdoch, who has thrown his support behind the Conservatives, whose austerity agenda is overwhelmingly responsible for the UK’s poverty crisis.`

This is what The Times (2018-11-08) found:

“There are about 14 million people in relative poverty (defined as 60% of median income after housing costs) in Britain, representing 22% of the population. More than 4 million children are growing up poor, a rise of 500,000 in the past five years. An estimated 1.5 million people lived in destitution, meaning that they could not afford two or more essentials such as food, housing, heating or clothes, at some point in 2017, including 365,000 children.

Nearly half of the children in lone-parent families live in poverty. Last year the number of rough sleepers increase by 15% to 4,751, double the figure in 2012. According to the Trussell Trust, food bank use has risen by 13% in a year. Between April and September, the charity’s food banks gave out 658,048 three-day emergency food supplies, 232,761 of them to children”.

The Times goes on:

“Health service data reveals that malnutrition has tripled in a decade and Victorian diseases associated with hunger have risen. Last year 474 people had rickets diagnosed, including 335 under ten, and 167 had scurvy, according to the analysis by NHS data services”.

The Prime Minister, Theresa “the Maybot” May, has pledged to fight “burning injustices”, but since her track record when it comes lying and issuing misleading statements is a close second to that of the unhinged Orange Creepoid, this pledge needs to be taken with several wheelbarrow-loads of salt.

Her voting record in parliament shows that the Maybot is in truth fully signed-up to the Tory austerity agenda.

One person Professor Alston won’t be interviewing will be the heir to the throne (though he really should), the egregious Prince Charles. According to Amazon Prime’s new documentary “Serving the Royals: Inside the Firm”:

“His [Charles’s] pajamas are pressed every morning, his shoelaces are pressed flat with an iron, the bath plug has to be in a certain position and the water temperature has to be just tepid,” Princess Diana’s former butler, Paul Burrell, revealed in the documentary.

The Page Six article which reported thus on the multi-millionaire Pampered Prince went on to say that “Apparently Princess Diana’s ex brings his own toilet seat with him when he travels, changes outfits five times a day, only recently discovered what Saran wrap is and never shows up to a dinner party without his own food”.

Mediaeval monarchs travelled with their own cooks and food to safeguard themselves from being poisoned by a rival—so, is this what our bonnie Prince Charlie fears?

That, say, Diana’s son William may have it in for his adulterer-father by employing a potential food poisoner to avenge his late mother so he in turn can become king as soon as the aged Queen kicks the bucket?

Stranger things have happened where royalty is concerned, and not just in fiction.

I’ve not seen the Amazon Prime documentary, but I hope it also features Charlie’s requiring a flunkey, when His Highness was in hospital after a polo injury, to hold a specimen bottle up to his schlong while he produced the requisite urine sample.

My fantasy is that the flunkey, understandably not thrilled with having to hold a pee-bottle up to the princely pecker, found a way to add a stiff shot of gin to the royal urine sample before handing it over to the hospital staff for analysis.

“Jeeves, for this visit to Lord Ponsonby-Struthers’ country estate and my dinner that evening, make certain the kitchen has packed what I ordered– the Scottish salmon ceviche, that smoked venison, that partridge rillette, the organic aubergine terrine, that farm-made Blue Stilton cheese, and the artisanal gin. Oh, and don’t forget my toilet seat. And, pray, what the fuck is Saran wrap?”.

Given the way Ukania is, the paupers visited by Philip Alston would have little or no inkling of their future king’s uber-deluxe tastes and somewhat peculiar habits.

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Kenneth Surin teaches at Duke University, North Carolina.  He lives in Blacksburg, Virginia.

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