If it was a basketball or American football game, the UK would have called a time out. To meditate what is happening and develop a strategy. Too many things at the same time. The fall of Boris Johnson, the appointment of a new prime minister in Liz Truss, and less than forty-eight hours later the death of the queen and the accession to the throne of Charles III. All this against the background of the increasingly pressing triple challenge of climate change, energy dependence and the greatest deterioration in the quality of life in several generations. With inflation unleashed, recession knocking on the door, the pound sterling in free fall against the dollar, strikes called in all sectors, the prospect of electricity blackouts, chronic lack of investment, productivity at rock bottom, dysfunctional public services, Brexit... Does anyone give more?
Dead time, like the exhausted cyclist who gets off the bike mid-ascent to a mountain pass, or the climber who needs a break before digging the crampons back into the ice, while the clouds are getting darker and darker. black around her. A country in a state of suspension, with the football day canceled to avoid the unedifying image, in the midst of the national duel, of fans insulting each other in the stands or fighting on the outskirts of the stadiums, or of some madman or drunk interrupting with his wild shouts the minute of silence to give the note. Classism is much more entrenched than it seems at first glance. Yesterday it was possible to play rugby or cricket, more aristocratic sports and educated people. But in football, even though the English league is now the richest in the world, there are still too many hooligans.
Dead time, while seven million Britons are on the waiting list for operations in the public. Netflix has suspended the shooting of the fifth season of The crown (which is not even done in this country), the Bank of England has postponed until after the funeral of Queen Elizabeth (Monday 19) the expected announcement of the rate hike up to 0.75% interest, which will complicate life for all those who are paying a mortgage. The Parliament on vacation, as well as all political activity. No initiative, no bill, nothing, niente, rien, nichts, res de res. Luckily, on the morning of the monarch's death, Truss had presented his plan to freeze electricity and gas rates more or less at current levels, and not to skyrocket as of October. If not, not even that...
Dead time, and not the thirty-second kind, while ambulances take up to sixteen hours to arrive from the moment of the call (as if dying), and it takes six months to get a passport or driver's license renewed, in a country victim of the intellectual, moral and political failure of the last twenty-five years (since the middle of Tony Blair's mandate), with stagnant salaries, the highest tax burden in seventy years (since Elizabeth came to the throne), deteriorated infrastructure , massive dependence on the State, the irrational veneration of a collapsed NHS (National Health Service), which had given up nuclear energy, coal, fracking (which now seems to be coming back) and North Sea oil, unable to to build new roads, not new houses, not anything new, with problems in the supply chains, which pays the price of Brexit and the austerity imposed by David Cameron and continued by his Tory successors .
But all this has been relegated to oblivion for a few days, with the country in a state of suspension until the end of the month (the official mourning will not end until a week after the funeral), dedicated to the ceremonial transition from Isabel II to Carlos III, while the world continues to spin, inflation increases and the purchasing power of wages decreases. A United Kingdom given over to the same imperial nostalgia that pushed it to Brexit, which sometimes sees itself again as the center of the universe, which reminds us that its king is the head of state of fourteen other countries, from Jamaica to Papua New Guinea. That looks in the mirror and sees itself not as what it is (an average European power that has been left with hardly any colonies, in serious economic difficulties, ignored by the United States) but as what it was in the past, queen of the seas, and would like to remain. A mirage, an illusion, the Brocken spectrum, that strange meteorological phenomenon that projects the enlarged image of oneself on the mountain, beyond the mist, above the clouds. And then it dissolves like a little sugar in a coffee. Perhaps a logical reaction, if the photo of Elizabeth II, queen of the world, dominates the facade of the Sydney Opera House and occupies the entire electronic scoreboard of Yankee Stadium in New York.
The confirmation ceremony of Charles III as "king, head of the Commonwealth and defender of the faith", in the presence of the heir William, Prince of Wales, Queen Camilla, the Archbishop of the Anglican Church, Prime Minister Truss and their six predecessors who are still alive (Major, Blair, Brown, Cameron, May and Johnson), was an anachronism, with a mise-en-scène (language, uniforms...) typical of the Middle Ages, when the news of the death of a monarch and the accession of another was announced by messengers who traveled the country in carriages or on horseback, and blew trumpets to summon the subjects in the squares. Only that yesterday the public gathered in a courtyard of the Saint James Palace had state-of-the-art mobiles, while attending a kind of unplugged version of a season of The crown , the collection of frames that have remained in the editing room, the mixture of reality and fiction.
True to a monarchical commitment dating back to the unification of crowns and parliaments, Charles III undertook to maintain the privileges of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland, and Scottish Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon was one of the signatories of the proclamation , and shouted, like everyone else, God save the king . But his country is one of the problems that Carlos faces, in a kingdom more disunited than united, with half of the Scots in favor of independence, sovereign sentiment on the rise in Wales and a good part of the inhabitants of Ulster predisposed to reunification.
But for Carlos III it was above all about putting the house in order, the unity of the Windsors first, and that of the country afterwards. His two sons (William and Henry) and their respective wives (Catalina and Meghan) met and were photographed together on the grounds of Windsor Castle, after months without speaking to each other, since the little boy, dissatisfied with the supporting role he had relegated, he made a kind of abdication and went into exile in California amid public denunciations of racism in the palace.
An aging population that, however, does not want more immigrants who would have to pay their pensions, a Brexit whose advantages have not been found so far but its drawbacks (drop in exports, higher tariffs, lack of supplies and of labor due to the massive exodus of workers from the EU...), a public debt that exceeds 100% of GDP, a government that caters to the interests of landlords, shareholders, real estate tycoons, homeowners , investment funds and retirees, a chronic lack of homes for the elderly and sick at affordable prices, precarious employment, a generation of young people who cannot afford to buy a flat or pay for university studies... That is the Great Britain inherited by Carlos III and Liz Truss, who need to demonstrate as soon as possible that capitalism is still capable of distributing prosperity and has enough heart to correct the bleeding inequalities between the ri cos and the poor, the bankers who earn seven-figure salaries and those who depend on state subsidies. Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey starred in a 2003 comedy titled How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days. In this case it would be a drama that is on the way to tragedy. How to lose a country in ten years.
After the fall of Johnson, the conservatives are like the parishioners who have thrown out a popular vicar because he got drunk at the altar, but now they regret it. After the death of Elizabeth II, the British people feel orphaned in a hostile climate, in the midst of the storm, have serious doubts about Truss and wonder if they can trust Charles III. A world that ends and another that knocks on the door.
Brave New World from Aldous Huxley's novel? At the end of the road, the dreams you carry in you will come true, in a new and happy world, Karina sang at Eurovision in 1971. She was second. The British would comply. Definitely.