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Bury St Edmunds columnist Nicola Miller finds herself baffled by some people's (Brexiters') views on who or what is 'Establishment'

We’re all capable of holding two opposing beliefs at the same time. (“I don’t believe in ghosts: I am terrified of ghosts” is one of mine.) These may or may not trigger cognitive dissonance.

However, the sight of Brexiters gathered in Parliament Square cheering the ‘bringing down of the Establishment’ before breaking into a lustily patriotic rendition of God Save The Queen a couple of weeks ago was a truly jaw-dropping moment. How on earth do these people square that?

Are members of the Royal Family no longer considered to be Establishment? Has the premise of Sue Townsend’s ‘The Queen and I’ been enacted whilst I was sleeping?

Nicola Miller (29133956)
Nicola Miller (29133956)

The wilful refusal to acknowledge the unearned privilege that is being a Royal whilst celebrating the rise of the common man and woman is as misguided as it gets. What a pyrrhic victory.

Establishment is the Queen escorting Andrew down the path to church surrounded by a motley collection of royal sycophants and reporters (although I must admit the Queen these days does have an air of Mama Corleone about her; another matriarch who spent the rest of her days praying for the souls of her dysfunctional children). This delightful public appearance took place within days of Meghan and Harry being cast to the press wolves for the crime of not wanting to extend the infernal contract that members of the Royal Family must sign in blood on the day of their birth.

What is it about a life that includes a thorough digital stalking by Piers Morgan that doesn’t appeal, I wonder? Surely being loved to death by monarchists is a good thing? (It’s worth pointing out that it wasn’t a republican hunger for royal news that led to the whole Princess Diana debacle). Some of you were angry with the idea of Meghan and Harry continuing to receive protection and funds but you aren’t at all bothered about Andrew receiving the same. Something is very wrong here.

Being Establishment means you are given a platform to lecture both the big and little People about diversity without having to worry about your own conduct (see William, who appears oblivious to his own family’s lack of diversity both in employment and membership); global warming (Charles, who likes to take environmentally expensive methods of transport to Davos and, along with the rest of them, runs about eight million households) and Charles (again!) with his ‘B’ and ‘C’ grades at A-level (which nevertheless got him into the University of Cambridge) gets to sit at the table with all manner of experts as their intellectual equal by dint of his Royal status. If that’s not Establishment privilege I don’t know what is.

Then, if you are someone like Jacob Rees-Mogg, you get to depict yourself as a true patriot despite your unpatriotic tax arrangements. Hypocrisy about what is and what is not patriotic is the very hallmark of the Establishment. Do as I say and not as I do. And speaking of dear Jacob, where is he? Has he been gagged with his own cilice? If so, #thoughtsandprayers.

Establishment privilege means that the Church of England sees the increase in bigotry that the Leave Campaign has facilitated and thinks “I’ll have me some of that,” taking the opportunity to remind us that sex is only for married, heterosexual people. What a divisive and gross insult to gay members of their congregation. What a poor example of love and tolerance.

Establishment privilege means the Church will offer no spiritual and moral guidance about the public parading of a prince who consorted with paedophiles (and that’s putting it mildly) and who – to this date – has shown no real remorse, only self-pity for the pickle he is in. We are so stupid for allowing this privileged system to prevail. When will we ever learn or, as the Queen might say, “One can lead one’s racehorse to water, but one cannot make it drink.”

-- Nicola Miller is author of The Millers Tale blog

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