Monarchy and Masochism

Bad King Ted in his bondage on the stall at LAM

There is, I think, a school of kink-related thought which regards caning as a particularly English fetish – I certainly haven’t seen much in the American BDSM guides about that subset of the scene which is all about the naughty boarding school/strict head teacher stuff. These days, though, the most peculiarly English type of masochism which comes to mind is Royal worship.

It’s not necessarily the sitting-in-the-rain-for-hours-to-catch-a-glimpse stuff – people will camp overnight to queue for concert tickets and hang around outside film sets etc (or, OK, these days, spend hours hitting Refresh on their laptops to buy overpriced concert tickets). Everybody gets to choose how they want to spend their leisure time. With regard to Charlie Big-Ears’ Westminster wankfest, though, it’s surely a bit unsettling that so many ordinary, underpaid, struggling people are still willing to celebrate the coronation: an enormously expensive and unnecessary* ego trip for one of the richest men in the world – towards which the fucker hasn’t paid a penny.

Among government ministers and, more importantly, their financial backers, there is genuine enthusiasm for returning to a more feudal model of society, and this coronation was supposed to reinforce the idea that the public should know their place and be happy about it. To an extent, the coronation was a Good Thing because it seems to be opening more people’s eyes to the enormous inequality of the country: even people who consider themselves broadly in favour of a monarchy were startled and rather squicked by the idea of an oath of loyalty to this silly old parasite. Those in power seem to have miscalculated how much the majority’s general attitude of mild affection for Liz 2 was bound up in her having been in the background, waving from the telly and pronouncing simple grandmotherly platitudes over the decades, for all their lives. It didn’t and won’t monarchyautomatically transfer over to her petulant son. The heavy-handed approach of the Metropolitan Police, goodwill towards whom is extremely low anyway, seems to have unsettled a lot of traditionalists, especially those who believe in fair play and free expression.

Charles is also an old man. He is not going to be a king for that long, certainly nowhere near as long as his mum was a queen. It’s reasonable to hope that when he pops his clogs, we might have a real chance of putting the whole wretched institution to rest. THere may be masochists among us, but masochists have their limits. When it’s not fun any more, they safeword. Maybe we all should.

*It wasn’t necessary in legal or constitutional terms; he was king the minute the Great Lizard breathed her last. Didn’t need to get an oily rubdown behind a screen or an ill-fitting metal hat plonked onto his head. He could certainly have afforded to throw himself a party if he wanted one that much.

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