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Duke of Hazard: Crashing Ukania

As children, many Brits are taught this age-old song:

Oh, the grand old Duke of York,
He had ten thousand men;
He marched them up to the top of the hill,
And he marched them down again.

And when they were up, they were up,
And when they were down, they were down,
And when they were only half-way up,
They were neither up nor down

The song alludes clearly to the bouts of inanity which have plagued Ukania’s aristocracy since times lost in the mists of history.

Ukania, along with Trumplandia, is one of the world’s major-league laughing stocks— for reasons which don’t need recounting.

A metaphor for Ukania’s car-crash Brexit history was provided by the queen’s husband, the 97-year-old Duke of Edinburgh (aka Prince Philip), who still drives unaccompanied, this time on the public roads near the royal family’s estate in Sandringham, Norfolk.

A few days ago, driving his Range Rover outside the royal estate, the long-time racist and anti-immigrant Philip (though he himself is in essence a Greek immigrant) rammed a car carrying two adults and a 9-month-old baby.

The grand old duke’s Range Rover Freelander ended up on its side.

Luckily, only no one was seriously injured, though an adult in the car broadsided by the grand old duke had a broken wrist.

The ancient duke was pulled-out of his vehicle “shaken” but uninjured.

While the crash was still being investigated, the grand old duke was photographed less than 48 hours later driving a brand-new Range Rover on a public road, still unaccompanied and without his seat-belt on. Obviously, he didn’t need to wrangle with his insurance company before getting a new vehicle in 24 hours or perhaps less.

Those of us who have dealt with insurance companies in the UK (and the US, by the way) can only marvel at the ease and alacrity with which the old coot found a way to get back on the road so quickly with a sparkling new vehicle.

UK insurance rates for drivers aged 90 and over are astronomical, so it’s clear that the wealthy Philip (1) has been paying these hefty sums just to stay on the road; and (2) he could buy a new vehicle in the blink of an eye without needing to submit a claim for his damaged vehicle before acquiring an equally expensive replacement.

Philip defended himself with a seeming untruth, maintaining that he had been blinded by the sun, when the same eyewitnesses who saw the crash said it was cloudy at the time.

The investigation of what seems like a relatively simple accident is proceeding at a snail’s pace. The driver of the car rammed by Philip said she had still to be interviewed by the police 4 days after the crash. There is still no indication that this interview has taken place.

There may be somewhat benign reasons for this foot-dragging– apparently the grand old duke could avoid prosecution in some kind of deal with the prosecuting authorities if he agreed to relinquish his car keys, and discussions regarding this possible outcome may be underway.

The passenger with the broken wrist has said to the media that she wants Philip to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

Her opinion, alas, counts for nothing.

She did not receive an apology from the duke until 10 days after the crash, though a day after the crash she received a message from a police family liaison officer that said: “The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh would like to be remembered to you.”

This ducal silence elicited considerable media criticism, which no doubt stirred the duke’s PR team to prod him out of his 10-day sloth.

The typical gesture of a US Republican politician when a gun massacre occurs— “my thoughts and prayers”—is an obvious template for Ukania’s royal family.

The royal family is accorded endless deference (to state the completely obvious), and it is they who will decide if the queen’s husband should be allowed to drive on public roads until he kills himself and/or someone else.

That a 21stcentury nation, purporting to be a “democracy”, puts up with this kind of obsequiousness and flummery, is almost beyond belief.

But then the Brexit goings-on are also beyond belief.

Also straining the bounds of reasonable belief is a recent poll which indicated that 1 in 20 Brits does not believe the Holocaust took place.  I’m willing to bet that most of these Holocaust deniers are right-wing and ardent royalists.

More articles by:

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

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