So you thought thirteen years of Tory rule had turned the UK into a banana republic ? Think again. We don’t produce bananas and we’re more certainly not a republic, more’s the pity.
In a country where some people in work cannot afford to buy actual bananas and are reliant on food banks, where most of us are suffering from a severe cost-of-living crisis, somehow the government managed to find 250 million quid down the back of the sofa to pay for a knees-up where an unelected head of state has a ridiculous metal bunnet stuck on his napper by a representative of a god most of us don’t believe in.
I didn’t watch any of the ridiculous pantomime on TV, but was unable to avoid seeing pictures in the following days’ papers. What struck me most about the Head of State was the state of his head. After spending 250,000,000 pounds on a coronation, you would think they would make sure that the crown would actually fit. It looked it might wobble off the top of his head at any moment. In the photos I saw, the pair of them looked like they’d been photographed stickling their heads through one of those old-fashioned seaside aunt sally’s. Before they blew their budget on the world’s biggest sword, you would have thought someone would have thought it might be an idea to e-mail Charles and ask for his hat size.
The whole shebang started the previous week with a laughably archaic ceremony at Edinburgh Castle involving a bunch of guys in fancy dress despatching the Stone Of Destiny to London. Undersecretary of State for Scotland John Lamont, speaking to a half-empty room at the Scottish Tory Party conference the next weekend, promised that Alister Jack would be guarding the Stone of Destiny to prevent it being stolen by Nationalists. Really? What did he think they’d do with it? Bury it in Nicola Sturgeon’s back garden?
A few days later, when interviewed on LBC, Alex Salmond appeared to have lost touch with reality, bizarrely claiming that Humza Yousaf should have ordered Police Scotland to surround the Stone to prevent its removal from Scotland. While the former First Minister’s idea is quite clearly deranged, it would have made a very entertaining stunt. However, I suspect that the current FM has more pressing matters to attend to, while Police Scotland are probably more concerned with poking about inside camper vans or trying to find wheelbarrows and women’s razors. Talking of which, how did they need to send four cop cars to arrest Peter Murrell? Did they think he was going to do a runner? If so, they could surely have caught him. The man’s hardly looks like an athlete.
But I digress. What exactly is The Stone Of Destiny? According to myth and legend, it is Jacob’s Pillow on which the prophet fell asleep and dreamed of angels ascending into Heaven. It was then brought to Scotland from the Holy Land via Egypt and Ireland. On that last stopover, it was blessed by St Patrick so it could serve as a coronation stone. When the Irish moved to Scotland to establish the Kingdom of Dalriada, the Stone was moved around the country until it found its final resting place in Scone.
Assuming for one minute that you believe any of this mumbo jumbo, it is important to ask one question. Is it even the original Stone Of Destiny ? Probably not, is the answer. Before it was robbed by Edward I in 1296, it is thought that some local monks, hearing of the impending English theft, swapped it for some random piece of rock.
So what Jug Ears was sitting on at the coronation had about as much mystical significance as any lump of concrete. Rather than spend loads of time and money transporting that rock on a four hundred mile journey from Edinburgh Castle to Westminster Abbey, the British Taxpayer would have been better off spending a couple of quid on a breeze block from a local builders’ merchant. There’s a branch of Jewson’s just across the river in Lambeth. They are open until midday on Saturdays, and they deliver.
However, there exists some historical evidence that the slab which the monks switched for the Stone Of Destiny was a piece of rock used to cover a cess pit at Scone Palace. Basically, we may have crowned our King on what was effectively an ancient toilet seat. Quite appropriate for a life on the throne. If they’d nipped down the Old Kent Road they could have bought an entire lavvy for a hundred quid. And it would at least have had some use afterwards, and much more relevance to the twenty-first century.
VLADIMIR. MCTAVISH is a stand-up comedian and satirist.