Thursday, 25 July 2013

Royal baby

Hello. My name is Kostas Economides and I am a lecturer in the Department of Economics at the University of the South of England (USE for short). Well, actually that is not true really as the names of individuals and institutions in this blog have been changed to protect the innocent - and the guilty!

What is it about you British and the Royal family? When I got to my office yesterday morning Kylie the cleaner was there smiling with joy. "Oh, isn't it wonderful Kostas. Kate and William have had a lovely baby boy".

I said that I was very happy for them but wasn't a bit too much fuss being made about it. The BBC news had reporters at the hospital, outside Buckingham Palace and even in Kate's home village. It seemed to me that about eighty per cent of the 10 o'clock news the previous night had been devoted to the birth with all the other important news just squeezed in here and there. Even the Guardian was full of stuff about the birth.

Kylie said that I shouldn't be such a misery. The royal birth was a happy event, uplifting for everyone during these difficult economic times. Kate and William were a lovely couple. I said that I didn't disagree with that. It was just that the coverage was over the top and a helpful distraction for the government from their policies for the economy, the health service, education,and the hiving off to the public sector of most of the probation service. Kylie appeared not to take any of this in but carried on with her cleaning humming what sounded like "Happy Birthday".

As you might expect opinion in the cafe was not quite so enthusiastic, although the women behind the counter were all going on about it in happy voices. Some of my colleagues though took a different view. Gus turned up with a copy of the latest issue of Private Eye which had a simple front cover with the words "Woman Has Baby. Inside:Some other stuff".

Somebody mentioned that a recent poll had revealed that over 70% of the British population is in favour of the monarchy, with only 17% wanting the country to be a republic. Someone else said that this might be true while the Queen was alive but that it could easily change after that with Charles on the throne. It was well known that he has tried on a number of occasions to influence the government with his private letters that we have not been allowed to see. He most probably had already influenced some policies - there were hints that he had got a favourable outcome in relation to the tax status of his estates and had also influenced the development plans for the area around the Chelsea barracks.

Some people joked with me saying that as a Greek I should be celebrating the birth as, after all, his great-grandfather the Duke of Edinburgh is a member of the Greek royal family. "More Schleswig-Holstein" was my reply!

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