The celebration of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee was filled with traditions going back hundreds of years — including, it appears, the use of serfs. The Guardian is reporting that the government bused in dozens of unemployed citizens to work at the Jubilee from out of town and then directed them to sleep under the London Bridge without access to bathrooms or changing areas. It was a good ole fashioned Jubilee with a diamond-encrusted sovereign floating by in splendor with yeomen and “villeins” working in their menial existence. Some radicals (and suspected Jacobites) are questioning the conditions for the workers and calling for an investigation.
The unemployed workers were not paid of course to work on the river pageant. Other were on “apprentice wages” of £2.80 an hour. They were take by bus from from Bristol, Bath and Plymouth “as part of the government’s Work Programme.” They had to change into their uniforms in the open and many did not have access to restrooms for 24 hours. Others reported working a 14-hour shift in the pouring rain on the banks of the Thames.
Close Protection UK organized the event and confirmed that it was using up to 30 unpaid staff and 50 apprentices. Workers were told that they might get a shot at a job in the Olympics if they did a good job. There might even be the chance of a thrown hunk of mutton from one of the Royal barges if they keep a keen eye and pleasing appearance.
The bridge itself was cold and wet underneath and the concrete base made it impossible to pitch a tent. They were then herded into vans at 5:30am.
While I am a history nut, I have never understood the retention of the Royal family by England — a image of privilege and eugenics that the world has long abandoned.
The aptly named Molly Prince, managing director of Close Protection UK, insisted that the conditions were not optimal but acceptable — you can add a harumph for effect: “The staff travelling to the jubilee are completing their training and being assessed on the job for NVQ Level 2 in spectator safety . . . It is essential that they are assessed in a live work environment in order to complete their chosen qualifications. The nature of festival and event work is such that we often travel sleeping on coaches through the night with an early morning pre-event start – it is the nature of the business … It’s hard work and not for the faint-hearted.” Indeed, to quote the Bard, “Faint heart never won fair
The Royal family however did encounter two troubled makers working on the Diamond Jubilee — they are not expect to be allowed to work at the Olympic due to their radical views:
This appears to be the very type of faint-hearted, lazy, surly worker that Molly Prince had to weed out:
Man: Well I object to your…you automatically treat me like an inferior!
Arthur: Well I *am* king…
Man: Oh, king, eh, very nice. And ‘ow’d you get that, eh?
(he reaches his destination and stops, dropping the cart)
By exploiting the workers! By ‘angin’ on to outdated imperialist dogma
which perpetuates the economic and social differences in our society.
If there’s ever going to be any progress,–
Woman: Dennis! There’s some lovely filth down ‘ere!
(noticing Arthur) Oh! ‘Ow’d’ja do?
Arthur: How do you do, good lady. I am Arthur, king of the Britons. Whose
castle is that?
Woman: King of the ‘oo?
Arthur: King of the Britons.
Woman: ‘Oo are the Britons?
Arthur: Well we all are! We are all Britons! And I am your king.
Woman: I didn’t know we ‘ad a king! I thought we were autonomous collective.
Man: (mad) You’re fooling yourself! We’re living in a dictatorship! A
self-perpetuating autocracy in which the working classes–