Sunday, January 4, 2015
The gullibility of a population knows no bounds but even then some kind of psychic sea-change may bring down a Tzar, a wall in Berlin or produce a velvet revolution elsewhere in Europe. One day Putin will lose his credibility. He bought it in the first place, his marketing men orchestrating his he-man image, hoisting his half-clad, heroic body on to a photogenic nag. But equally there is a power to dethrone, even in the face of total media control. What is it? It is the ordinary person’s eyes which can suddenly see through the deception of the president’s new clothes. Enough eyes and the veil of seduction and trumpeting propaganda is lifted and it is all change. Glib, self-aggrandizing politicians come to know this at election time. What seems like certain victory becomes a crushing humiliation.
Prince Andrew is today embroiled in allegations of rape. The House of Windsor have categorically denied his culpability. Twice in two days. This tottering institution on its high, ornately fashioned heels, wigs and frock coats has become a skilled master at managing modern marketing ploys. A word here and there in high places, in the ears of police chiefs, newspaper barons, military generals and the lickspittles of Westminster and bad news stories are scuppered before they even tickle the deaf ears of those in the common herd who drool at pomp and ceremony. And when they do and ears become unblocked, and all hell seems about to pay, the oily palmed machine bursts into full throttle. The manner in which Prince Charles’ and The Family’s treatment of Diana and the elevation of Camilla has been reconfigured as an acceptable royal history is a remarkable feat of social engineering. The royal weddings, the babies, the interminable visits abroad, the New Year Honours, the garden parties, the Princes at war, all go to present a continuous pageant of meticulously manicured superiority. The population pays the royals a queen’s ransom for the honour of being Her Loyal Subjects. The institution is sold, seductively but falsely, as being as good as the Disney corporation in bringing foreigners to the UK to marvel at its archaic spectacles. It provides glamour. It is a current day opiate for the masses.
It is an absurdist theatre, scarcely credible to anyone with a belief in rationality, fairness and equality in all things. It has nothing to do with democracy for it perpetuates the inordinate, selfish power of blood and wealth in a country kept free by the blood-sacrifice of selfless, impecunious ‘subjects’. Robert Graves’ ghostly footage appeared on television today. He was bemoaning the celebration of victory at the end of the Second World War. For him it merely presaged further wars to come. Market the end of war well and people will return to the trenches willingly when the next one comes along. From their run-down urban estates, their agricultural villages, their benefits-reduced poverty, they will heed the call to queen and country. And they will believe it and be proud of it. That’s the power of marketing.
Yet even on the sceptered isle one day the veil will be lifted. Forcing the BBC to pull its documentary on royal media manipulation will not prevent it.