Today, on July 4, the good people of America will be celebrating throwing off the shackles of empire and monarchy and forging their own destiny.
Tomorrow, the people of Scotland will be subjected to an anachronistic display of feudalism when a “Scottish coronation” for King Charles is played out in Edinburgh, and we’re all expected to wave and cheer.
And, to add insult to injury, Scottish taxpayers will pick up the tab for this preposterous pantomime.
That includes shelling out an eye-watering £22,000 for a new ceremonial sword to be presented to Chuck for the occasion. That’s 22 grand for him to eyeball the thing and say: “Oh, aye, very nice” before it goes in a display cabinet somewhere.
Don’t know about you, but I can think of 22,000 better uses for that money than creating some oversized envelope opener.
Why has no one stopped to ask why any of this farce at St Giles’ Cathedral is even necessary? I mean, surely that whole nonsense with golden hats and jewel-encrusted coaches in London in May was enough to make the point? There’s a new monarch on the throne, so do a bit of forelock touching, you ungrateful vassals.
But, nope, here comes the power and majesty of the British State to make sure its Scottish serfs get a chance to pay homage. Or not.
Let’s not forget that a poll carried out in May found only one-third of people in Scotland support the monarchy. That might suggest, in a working democracy, that the majority of people opposed to being vassals would object to their money being squandered on pointless parades and royal baubles.
But, then, it can’t really be a working democracy as long as it has a hereditary, unelected head of state is at the top of the pile and the rest of us are expected to kowtow. Which is why our noses are now being rubbed in this spectacular waste of our own money – with the bill for this “all hail the McKing” circus yet to be totted up.
Royal spending is in sharp contrast to cost-of-living crisis
What we do know – thanks to the Sovereign Grant report release last week – is that the royal household was handed £86.3 million of taxpayer cash last year. And a fair chunk of that went to towards the £34.5 million allocated this year to a £369 million project to repair Buckingham Palace.
No one lives in Buckingham Palace, according to royal officials – although Chuck and Cam might move back when the building work is finished.
This when families can’t afford mortgages, there is a dire housing shortage, people are sleeping rough on our streets, food bills are soaring, and the Westminster government is telling us to hold our nerve.
So, happy Independence Day to all you lovely Americans. Ours can’t come soon enough.
Scott Begbie is a former journalist and editor for The Press & Journal and Evening Express