Ma’am, show we poor lefties you care

by Kevin Meagher

WELL that’s gratitude for you.

The news that both our former Labour prime ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown have been missed off the guest-list for Wills and Kate’s nuptials, while Conservatives John Major and Margaret Thatcher are included, takes the biscuit.

It seems Tone and Gordo (unlike Thatcher and Major) are not Knights of the Garter and as such get bumped from the official invite list. If it was a full state occasion then they would get the nod. But it isn’t (apparently), so they don’t.

After that little favour we did the Royals 14 years ago, you would think they could show a bit more appreciation.

If you recall, it was a bit more than lending them a lawnmower of feeding the cat while they went on holiday. Our Tony saved the Monarchy from the car crash of their reaction to the car crash that killed Diana.

The royals’ dismal, off-key response to the tragic death of Princess Di in 1997 whipped up more public vituperation against the Monarchy than anything we have seen since the ghastly Edward VIII ran off with Wallis Simpson back in the days of black and white newsreel.

But how quickly they forget. Now they are on the up with a popular royal wedding (involving the only consistently popular member of the clan) all we get is a right royal “stuff off”. And not just to one Labour ex-Prime Minister, but two.

The first may well have been carelessness, a second is a definite snub. Ok, spouses would need to go as well so that takes up four seats. And Westminster Abbey can be a bit pokey, but when the place is going to be full of dodgy geezers (“bums” in the Daily Mail’s diplomaticspeak) then squeezing in a couple of former prime ministers is not a big ask; especially as Conservative former PMs are invited.

Blimey, even the Mail’s Stephen Glover is incensed at the effrontery of it. Quite right. 1,900 people are invited including, as Glover puts it: “some pretty unsavoury foreign leaders, as well as some rackety private individuals”. It would be equally appalling if the boot had been on the other foot and Maggie and Major had been left off.

Please. If they can find room for ‘film-maker’ Guy Ritchie then I hate to suggest it, but the bar is set pretty low.

And the royals can’t have it both ways. They can’t invite half the world’s dignitaries on the basis that it’s effectively a state bash and then in the same breath leave out Blair and Brown on the basis that it’s not a full state occasion.

And the distinction between prime ministers who are Knights of the Garter and those that are not is a priceless piece of antiquated bluster. (So Labour’s are the wrong sort of former prime ministers are they?) More mundanely, it also begs the inevitable question: Will John Major wear high heels as well as his garter? We demand to be told.

And if it’s a more casual gig, then there should be nothing wrong in number ten’s current incumbent turning up in a lounge suit after all. Or even his favourite long shorts and polo-neck. It is a Bank Holiday you know.

If it’s a worry about the quality of the presents, Wills’n’Kate can rest assured. Tony and Gordon are not short of a bob or two these days and can be relied upon to bring a decent wedge of Debenhams vouchers with them. Mrs. Thatcher’s poorly and not going anyway, so that leaves some space.

But how to decide which man gets the seat? I don’t think a formal pact would be a good idea; we’ve been there. Perhaps a winner-takes-all coin flip? Or we could be guided by history and Tony could sit on for the first two-thirds of the service and Gordon could replace him for the last bit.

And, I hate to raise it, if it isn’t a state bash who’s picking up the tab? 5,000 coppers on overtime and ‘All the Queen’s horse and all the Queen’s men’ will burn a hole in someone’s pocket.

Perhaps it’s not too late to cut a deal with OK! Magazine? Mind you, someone would need to move sharpish to book one of those massive marquees to keep the arrival shots secret. But what would Huw Edwards find to comment on?

Another plus, however, is that inviting Richard Desmond would actually raise the tone of the guest-list, (even after the King of Bahrain chose to bow out). Kate’s “black sheep” uncle Gary Goldsmith is still attending. As is the Zimbabwean ambassador – Roberts Mugabe’s man about town.

All we can do is hope Her Gracious Majesty – the First Grandmother – sees sense.

Ma’am, if you’re per chance a reader of Uncut then please relent. Your rarefied flunkies are leading you down the garden path once again. (It takes a special sort of Olympian incompetence to get the Daily Mail rooting for Tony and Gordon). It’s not too late to fire off a couple of late invitations and blame your Royal Mail for the delay.

It’s all a bit unpleasant so close to the big day. But please show your lefty subjects you care. Otherwise we won’t dispatch Alastair to pick up the pieces this time.

Kevin Meagher is associate editor of Labour Uncut.

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5 Responses to “Ma’am, show we poor lefties you care”

  1. iain ker says:

    The wedding list is unfortunate enough with the King of Swaziland and the Syrian ambassador.

    Do you think Will and Kate would really want Captain Insensible sitting on a pew picking his fingernails (and worse) and glaring at everyone, and PermaTone shuffling around networking and trying to get himself in all the pictures.

  2. doreen ogden says:

    Hey – They probably got better things to do !

  3. Robert says:

    Ask the sick the disabled if they care about Tony the war monger or Brown the bloke who has problems with hind sight and foresight, I do not give a shit whether Blair or Brown go to the bloody cinema, never mind the wedding.

    socialism symbolism.

  4. Tokyo Nambu says:

    What comes around goes around. William, who isn’t perhaps one of the cleverer royals, is said to be behind this, over some outrage about Blair not doing the right thing over the death of his mother. Quite what that not the right thing was, who can say: Blair may have played up the pathos to the point of bathos, and I’m not sure the royal family was teetering on the edge quite as much as you suggest, but in general I think he did the royals a service around that time. But it’s all slightly irrelevant. What he’s doing, as second in line to the throne and a man who is likely to be king within a few decades, is waving two fingers to the Labour Party. Or, if it wasn’t his decision, one of his flunkies is doing the same.

    Labour governments do contain a sizeable republican strain, and certainly don’t contain anything like the royalist fervour of the tory base. And in twenty or thirty years, Britain will look a very different place, and the royal family — currently protected by widespread personal affection for the Queen — will have to take responsibility for the reign of a distinctly less appetising Charles III. A Labour government might be quite entitled to bear grudges as substantial as those William appears to lay claim to, and William, coming to the throne when no-one under forty will remember his grandmother and no-one under fifty will remember his mother, will have nothing like the security of tenure his grandmother currently enjoys.

    I think it’s a piece of petty spite by a spoilt, trivial young man who has the constitutional competence of his father (ie, none), and something he will come to regret.

  5. Henrik says:

    There’s a tendency in chippy socialists to look for conspiracies where none exist and to vest significant importance in individuals. I very much doubt whether the Duke of Cambridge had anything to do with the non-invitation of the warmonger and the failure; far more likely that the explanation given – that neither is a Knight of the Garter and hence not an automatic recipient of an invitation – is correct. This is a State occasion, not a state one and politicians are just another bunch of civilians as far as the ‘real’ British establishment is concerned. Quite right, too – politicians come and go, the British State and its institutions go on (despite all the ill-informed meddling and sniping the politicians engage in).

    Worth noting that Blair, at least, rose magnificently to his non-invitation to the wedding and crafted a thoroughly decent and balanced response. Consummate politician and something of a patriot – unlike his successor, who was neither.

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