Life– Terror. Ecstasy. Fight. Denial. Flight. Failure. PAIN. Forgiveness. Reconciliation. Hope. Love. Peace – Death.
Her Majesty The Queen,
SW1A 1AA 1st June 2022
Dear your Royal Highness.
Congratulations on your unprecedented platinum Jubilee year of celebrations.
Royalist or anti-royalist? Many would argue that you have earned the right to celebrate, your consistent hard work and significant commitment to numerous charities and other worthy causes during your long reign.
You are probably aware that at a recent major sporting event in ‘the city’ parts of the crowd audibly booed during the, traditional, playing of the national anthem. This has been attributed to (mainly) Liverpool supporters who have since been lambasted by some areas of the press and media for their lack of disrespect.
It is your son Andrew that those football fans were booing not yourself, although many of us do have great difficulty in accepting your bailing him out to the (reported) tune of in excess of £12,000,000 legal and hush fees?
The crowd were booing Andrew, but also they were protesting against the enabling principle of unearned, entitlement, the wider Monarchy and directly to their head of state, in protest against your wilful, incompetent government.
The Jubilee Celebrations
Many people strongly disagree with the significant spend to fund the platinum jubilee events at such a miserable, inappropriate time for so many. Some see this Jubilee as ‘a not the right time moment’ of epic proportions.
There are many theories in regards to the financial pros & cons, the ‘net spend/profit’ of such a significant event. In its summary, the DCMS claimed: “A best estimate for the final monetised impact is -£2.39 billion net present value for a Platinum Jubilee bank holiday in 2022. “While the upper bound net present value is estimated to be -£2.21 billion, the lower bound net present value is estimated to be -£2.57 billion.”
Costs (or not) it is such a pity that your nonce of a son has jaded this jubilee year for you. I am sure his nanny brought him up better than that? It is also a pity that as you come to the end of your illustrious (Reine) that you have to preside over the worst government in our entire, political, history.
In a survey taken in 2004 the worse prime minister was judged to be Anthony Eden. The University of Leeds and Ipsos Mori conducted an online survey of 258 academics who specialised in 20th-century British history and/or politics.
THE case for Boris Johnson being awarded the title of Britain’s Worst Prime Minister gets stronger with each passing week. Future historians will surely cut some slack for all world leaders during this pandemic, but even from this far out you sense that there will be no mercy for Mr Johnson nor those who empower him.
Johnson’s personal affront to yourself and your family during the pandemic is well documented. Outside the coronavirus Mr Johnson had promised to reduce social inequality by ‘levelling-up’ the north. The people bought it, but it lasted for about five minutes before he told them that the HS2 rail-line would not be stopping nearby after all. Another false promise, false hope, another, out and out, barefaced lie for which he is now infamous for.
Some say Liverpudlians have an over heightened sense of injustice and justice ‘Scousers, forever the victims? Scousers, Northerner’s, have been patiently waiting for ‘levelling up’ since the beginning of your Reine at the end of WW2. History tells us we are victims but not of our own choosing and yes we do not suffer fools (in silence), we do not tolerate injustice of any kind.
Historically, Liverpool has had a difficult time with many of your governments. As far back as 1911, Churchill ordered two gunboats, full of fully armed troops, to the River Mersey. Armed soldiers on the Streets of Liverpool, to quash a, legitimate, labour dispute, with full force. The 1911 Liverpool general transport strike, also known as the ‘great transport workers’ strike, involved dockers, railway workers and sailors, as well as people from other trades.
Throughout the, difficult, 1980’s Thatcher despised a highly militant Liverpool City Council. She vented her dissatisfaction at any, and every, opportunity. Following nine consecutive nights of violence that began on 3 July 1981, some of the worst scenes of urban disorder in the history of the United Kingdom that resulted in 500 arrests, 470 injured police officers and one death, and widespread damage & destruction to many businesses and buildings, the fate of this once great port city literally hung in the balance.
As the clean-up began, rival factions within Margaret Thatcher’s Cabinet locked horns over a policy of ‘strategic abandonment’ or “managed decline” as the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Geoffrey Howe termed it in a, now infamous, memo to Prime Minister Thatcher.
Howe and Thatchers views were opposed to Heseltine’s more interventionist approach that favoured replacing democratically elected urban governance by business-led, centrally appointed urban development corporations with the view of breathing new entrepreneurial life into Merseyside and Britain’s other declining post-industrial metropolitan cities, Birmingham, Manchester.
Successive (including current) governments have not treated Liverpool well.
It took until April 2016: Hillsborough Inquests conclude the 96 who died in the 1989 disaster were unlawfully killed. Jurors agree fans played no part in the deaths and instead blame police failures, stadium design faults, and a delayed response by the ambulance service. A 30+ year fight for justice. Victims, or intolerance to injustice?
Your current government and their leader are no different. Northern cities have been hit by the biggest budget cuts as a result of austerity.
According to a recent report by Centre for Cities, people living in cities have faced £386 worth of cuts per head since 2009-10, compared with £172 per person elsewhere. Cities have borne nearly three quarters (74%) of all real-terms local government funding cuts in the past decade, despite being home to just 54% of the population, the report said.
The report noted that social care has added to the squeeze on cities’ finances. A decade ago, just four cities out of a total of 62 spent the majority of their budget on social care – compared with 31 today. Centre for Cities said that the cities “least equipped” to absorb the loss of central government grant have been hit hardest.
This situation is worse in the North
It claimed that cities in the North of England tend to have weaker economies and are more reliant on central government funding. Therefore, they are less able to raise money locally – for example, through council tax increases.
How does all of this manifest itself today?
Your citizens are suffering. People, children are dying waiting for urgent medical treatment. Children are starving. 2022 and families, some with two working adults cannot afford to feed their children. 75 percent of children growing up in poverty live in a household where at least one person works. Think about that for a few seconds? 2022 and we have over 3,900,000 children, 27% of children or eight in a classroom of 30, living in food poverty in the 6th largest economy in the world? Shame on us?
The last peacetime famine in England was in 1623–24.
There were still periods of hunger, as in the Netherlands, but no more ‘famines’ ever occurred. Between 1845-52 Ireland suffered a period of starvation, disease and emigration that became known as the ‘Great Famine’. The main cause was a disease which affected the potato crop, upon which a third of Ireland’s population was dependent for food.
Given that a high proportion of Irish MPs were landowners, or their sons, Parliament was fully aware of the situation. Sir Robert Peel, the Prime Minister, purchased £100,000 of Indian corn (sweetcorn) in the United States and arranged for its transport to Cork.
He believed that by selling this cheaply the price of food would be kept low. Meanwhile, a relief commission raised funds and distributed food, and a board of works-initiated road building to keep unemployment down.
Corn Law repeal moves
Initially, the government’s policies met with some success. In 1846 Peel moved to repeal the Corn Laws, tariffs on grain that kept the price of bread artificially high, although this did little to ease the situation in Ireland as the famine worsened.
The repeal of the Corn Laws also split the Conservative Party and when, on 25 June, Peel was defeated on the second reading of an Irish Coercion Bill (designed to combat famine-fuelled violence), he resigned as Prime Minister four days later.
A new government led by Lord John Russell did not handle the famine effectively. Public works projects achieved little, while Sir Charles Trevelyan, who oversaw the relief effort, limited government aid on the basis of laissez-faire principles and an evangelical belief that “the judgement of God sent the calamity to teach the Irish a lesson”.
Parliament legislated to place the financial onus for famine relief on Irish landowners, who in turn tried to save money by ejecting tenants from their land.
How many died?
Assessments of how many people died during the Great Famine, either of disease or hunger, stands at around 1,000,000. This, along with emigration to escape the famine, significantly reduced the population of Ireland and was the foundation for what we now know as ‘the troubles’.
A revolutionary impact on Irish politics, becoming a defining moment for Irish nationalists. The famine was also the backdrop for Daniel O’Connell’s exit from Parliament. Already seriously ill, in February 1847 he implored the House of Commons to treat Ireland with generosity. He died, en route to Rome, three months later.
Current UK Poverty Levels
According to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation UK poverty report for 2020/21, pre-pandemic, claims more than one in five people in the UK lived in poverty.
After a visit to the United Kingdom in 2018, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, expressed great concern that “14 million people, a fifth of the population, live in poverty. Four million of these are more than 50% below the poverty line, and 1.5 million are destitute, unable to afford basic essentials.” Your citizens, your country in 2022.
Cost of Living Crisis
We are all acutely aware of the worsening cost of living crisis in the UK, with the energy price cap increasing by 54% from the start of April, with another increase due in the Autumn. Inflation expected to rise to over 10% this summer. The true cost of BREXIT hitting us all, the continuing, escalating, desperate tragedy in Ukraine is also likely to have further knock-on effects on UK energy prices and overall inflation.
The Office for National Statistics warns that “energy price rises are likely to hit lower income households disproportionately, as they spend a higher proportion of their income on utility bills and are more likely to be in fuel poverty.”
This issue has been further analysed by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, whilst the Food Foundation has found that an increasing number of people in the UK are facing situations in which they cannot afford to meet their basic needs.
The Pandemic & Poverty
The coronavirus pandemic is having a significant and unequal impact on people’s finances – with a sharp increase in claims for Universal Credit (state benefits) in April 2020, and a record 2.5 million emergency food parcels given to people in crisis by the Trussell Trust between April 2020 and March 2021.
At Quaker Social Action, UK-wide helpline for people struggling with funeral costs saw a 89% increase in demand during December 2020 – February 2021 compared with the same period 12 months previously.
A survey by the Legatum Institute found that almost 700,000 people had been driven into poverty as a result of the pandemic by winter 2020, including an additional 120,000 children.
The predicted long-term effects of the pandemic include high unemployment that pushes many families into poverty, at a scale 10 times greater than the 2008 financial crisis according to the BMJ (2020).
Defining and Measuring Poverty
There are different approaches to defining and measuring poverty.
Two commonly used measures are:
- Relative measures that look at the resources people have and compare them to the overall population. People with the least are considered to be in poverty compared to everyone else. This is how the ‘poverty line’ is defined.
- Absolute measures that look to define the essentials that people require for a decent standard of living – those who can’t afford these essentials are considered to be in poverty.
Child poverty is defined by the Child Poverty Action Group as existing when parents can’t afford to pay for basics such as food, housing and clothes – currently, it affects one in four children in the UK.
This is Worse if you are a Minority
46% of children from black and minority ethnic groups are in poverty in the UK, compared with 26% of children in white British families (End Child Poverty, 2020).
The Impact of Poverty – Individuals, Families & Communities
Living without the security of decent housing with constant pressure created by low paid work or unemployment has significant consequences for emotional and psychological well-being, health, family relationships and the lives of children.
Research from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (2015), has shown that the experience of poverty significantly affects the way we think, feel and act. It can crush individual confidence, hope, and ambition. It stifles people’s ability to participate in our society.
Prevailing attitudes to poverty stigmatise individuals
Portrayals of poverty in the media often denigrate and demonise the individuals who have to deal with its effects directly. The prevailing discourse tends to ignore the structural causes, such as wage inequality, employment opportunities including racial discrimination, and barriers to work. It simplifies and reduces poverty down to individual choice pitting the heroic ‘working poor’ against the feckless ‘scroungers’ on benefits. It rarely recognises the costs and impact of our unequal society on us all.
The UK’s food poverty rate is among the highest in Europe.
Despite being the sixth richest country in the world, millions are struggling to access the food they need. 2022 UK? How can this be? It’s 2022, how can people be ‘starving’ in the UK?
Key reasons for the rise of hunger in the UK include delays in paying benefits and welfare sanctions. A million UK adults went an entire day without eating over the past month because they could not afford to put a meal on the table, according to research highlighting how the cost-of-living crisis has driven up food insecurity.
Both the number of food banks and the quantity of emergency food parcels have increased. In February 2021 there were over 1,300 Trussell Trust food banks in the UK, in addition to over 900 independent food banks.
Where am I going with all this?
I know you do your bit for the entire country, visiting many towns and cities. I met you once myself. You, accompanied by the Duke opened the Garston Urban Village Hall (Liverpool) July 1999.
I shook ‘your glove’. You spoke with me, referring to the difficult work I (we) do, as part of the charity I represented, ‘it’s very hard isn’t it’ you said.
As a socialist, honestly? I was fairly none-plussed about the idea of meeting you that is right up to the very last. On the day, I became increasingly nervous by it all. I was about to meet the Queen! I thought about how totally in awe my deceased parents would have been if they only knew that one day, their only son, a lowly lad from Bootle, would, one day, get to shake hands and speak with their Queen.
Tradition states that on special occasions, many ‘Rulers’ may consider special requests from their citizens? Pardons and such are requested from grand Kings and Queens, and are often acted upon favourably? In your Platinum Jubilee year, I have a request or two in fact, although one is more of a suggestion.
If you are really looking for a significant parting gesture, a royal act that you will forever be remembered for? How about making it possible for every single UK school child to have the opportunity to visit Buckingham Palace, once, during their time in primary school? A day trip to London to see the queen (or, at least the palace).
Every child in the UK gets to see London, the UK capital, your grand home. Fact is many children will never ever have that opportunity, they, their families simply cannot afford it. Such an experience could be inspirational, transformable for so many young children?
I cannot claim this grand gesture idea for myself, it is my Wife’s suggestion. When she was a kid she fantasised about going to see the Queen, in London. Her family could not afford a trip to London. My wife, Gail also met you in July 1999. She, with over 30 years volunteering/working, was invited representing the local Citizens Advice Bureau, which, incidentally, was one of the first 200 Bureaus opened on the 4th September 1939 in response to the outbreak of WW2.
My request is perhaps a little more unrealistic?
I do not expect or contemplate you can change everybody’s standards of living, not even a personal fortune of £600,000,000 would put a dent in current UK poverty.
However, I humbly ask you to exert, vent and apply your influence. I ask you to do something about it via your government. How much you can do, I do not know but, at the very least, get rid of that, self-serving, lying, imposter Johnson.It would be so refreshing to hear what you really thought about ‘him’? Your citizen’s would listen and vole with their feet?
Johnson is a stain on your long reine and a stain on the entire UK.
Thanks for Reading
As a postscript “Why would anybody in their right mind support the figurehead of British imperialism and the head of the British class system, entitlement and privilege?” More like “God save the Queen and the fascist regime”
I have nothing against the Queen personally (I don’t know her), she puts in a shift always has. I have everything against what she stands for, Imperialism, Capitalism, Colonialism & Slavery.
An open letter by Jamaican public figures says: “We see no reason to celebrate 70 years of the ascension of your grandmother to the British throne because her leadership, and that of her predecessors, has perpetuated the greatest human rights tragedy in the history of humankind.”
The Monarchy, everything she represents, (her) symbolism, that she represents holds zero value for me. The Monarchy is an unwelcome irrelevance in todays society, that she is the most powerful symbol of. Our horrendous past, a stark reminder of our not so illustrious (nor too distant) shameful history. The sooner this all ends the better.
Thanks for Reading