Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Column, April 24, 2007

DOORS to manual.
A phrase any of you who’ve flown might have subconsciously registered as you approach your destination.
It will probably mean little to you, but if you’re the daughter of a former air stewardess and you’re the girlfriend of the heir to the throne, then hearing it muttered by the various hangers-on attracted by such a man might just mean quite a lot to you.
Kate Middleton’s mother was an air stewardess and while that might not have made a bit of difference to her eligibility as a girlfriend and future wife of Prince William, as far as William, his father, or the Queen are concerned, apparently it made a bit of a difference to assorted ‘courtiers’ who took a dim view of someone of such low breeding.
Of course, the fact that Kate Middleton’s mother and her husband set up and run a business that has earned them millions doesn’t make it any better, in fact it makes it worse.
Those who disapproved of Kate Middleton and muttered doors to manual’ when she came into a room with William do not do anything so common as ‘earn’ money, they inherit it, along with the attitudes that many had thought buried a long, long time ago.
But why should we care about the end of a relationship between one rather privileged young woman and one fabulously privileged young man?
Because he styles himself William Wales and one day, in the normal course of events, he will be Prince of Wales. And whether we agree with that or not, we should have some concern about the behaviour of the man who will bear that title, and his cronies.
There was a time in recent years when the Royal family seemed to have turned a corner. The Queen’s years of dedicated service and the understandable public sympathy for William and Harry after the death of Diana meant that the institution of the royalty had shed its anachronistic image.
People who, it has to be said, do not quite understand how monarchies work, even spoke of skipping a generation and having William ascend to the throne after the Queen, bypassing his father altogether.
William was young, handsome, and popular. He spent his gap year doing good works in South America and elsewhere and on his arm he had a young, attractive girlfriend who, was not titled, could not trace her ancestry back via several European dynasties to the Norman conquests, and was not ‘old money.’
She was, to be blunt, one of us and it looked for a short while, at least if you were Woolworths commemorative pottery department that is, like she was marriage material and might be our future queen.
I don’t think anyone can seriously suggest that William and Kate should have continued a relationship if their hearts weren’t in it. But what hgas been supremely annoying in the past week or so is how the boot has not very subtly been put into Kate Middleton and her family for being, well, not suitable, too middle class to seriously have a hope of one day marrying a prince.
Some idiots were even talking about bloodlines for God’s sake, as if William were some sort of pedigree hound that had taken a shone to a bit of a mongrel.
The theme that ran through the poison dripped on Kate Middleton’s background was that she might be middle class, but that was somehow worse than being working class. The message was clear – the aspirations of the middle classes like the Middletons were basically those of people who do not know their station.
And that’s a little bit of a problem, because, well, an awful lot of us are middle class now.
We might have working class roots, but back in the ‘60s and ‘70s our parents pushed us that bit further up the educational food chain in an effort to give us a better start in life than they had.
As the son of steelworker and a nurse I might have working class roots, but that’s all they are, roots, 20 years in the soft-handed world of journalism after a making it through higher education means I can’t claim to be working class any longer.
And there are a lot of us in that boat – a generation or so out of the working classes.
Now, if the assorted hangers-on, flunkies, and so-called friends, of Prince William are saying to the middle classes, ‘sorry, her mum and dad might be self-made millionaires but she’s still not good enough’, then that’s rather a slap in the face for a large section of the UK population.
And rather than recognising that they should have known their place in life, those middle classes might just begin to question why they tolerate having such an offensive bunch of inbred hoorahs lording it over them.
And they might begin to question the wisdom of an heir to the throne moving in circles when it is considered acceptable to taunt a young woman because her self-made millionairess mother was once airline cabin crew.
William ought to be aware that the comments made by those who claim to know him in the past couple of weeks have been vile and do him no credit. They make him appear to move in circles where inherited wealth and privilege are the only means of being accepted.
But more and more wealth in this country is being created not by dint of who your daddy and his daddy and his daddy was, but by hard work. If you are telling those that create the wealth in this country that their daughters are not good enough for royalty, then they might question why their taxes are good enough to fund the royalty.
William would have been wise to more publicly distance himself from the crass, snobbish and stupid remarks made in the wake of his split with Kate Middleton.
And, if he wields any influence with those who made such idiotic comments, he would be well-advised to tell them to shut up.


richard said...

banksy - how are you mate?
any chance of you making a comeback this Saturday to the home of Welsh football?
Biggest game in Wrexham's history. Winner takes all etc etc
I would obviously draw you a map!

Banksy said...

Delicate negotiations ongoing.

Will keep you informed of progress.

Red Army!

(I'm reliably informed that's what the chaps on the terraces chant at Wrexham, can't say for certain myself, all a distant memory these days)

Ifan Morgan Jones said...

Hey Banksy did you know there's a facebook group dedicated to you and Paul Jones?