The UK continues to struggle with the idea of the Royals. Well ok, not that much, most of us can’t get excited about whether we should go republican or keep Her Maj and her entourage – but there are a few die-hards on either side.
Some years ago I was speaking to an Irish friend when I noticed a news flash that the Queen Mother had died pop up on TV. I remarked on this to my friend who immediately said that the problem with “You Brits is that you’re in awe of the Royals,” and it’s “Stopping you moving on from your imperial past.”
I thought this a bit strong; I wasn’t about to set up a book of condolences, in fact I was probably going out for a curry or just watching the TV, as usual. But my protestations fuelled his opinion that I was going to wear black for a year and insist that all TV be replaced by funereal music. This weighed on me, and then I came up with the ideal solution: write a book about the Royals.
Drastic? I had been planning to write a book for years; this had given me the idea. I could write something irreverent about the Royals that would demonstrate my lack of concern for them, cynical about our politicians and despairing of UK society where ambition was now all about getting on reality and talent shows; a lot of weight off my chest!
So the idea of The Royal Factor was born. A Royal family misbehaving and a Prime Minister desperate to hang on to power uses their misdemeanors to appeal to the electorate by attempting to replace them, through a reality show. Many things get in the PM’s way and it doesn’t turn out exactly as he would like, but you’d need to read it to find out more!
I loved writing it on the train to and from work in London every day, and I hope this extract shows this.
The PM, having exiled Her Majesty to Hawaii, now needs to get her back. He has tied up the SAS in a number of wars and only has access to the Parachute Regiment, known for its brute-force ruggedness rather than stealth, to take her back secretly to the UK. The PM makes a poor decision to accompany the mission…
“Drive through the airport fence Ray,” said the colonel. And Ray did just that whilst the Paras continued to sing Summer Holiday, oblivious to the sound of grinding metal and half of the bus windscreen shattering.
“Put a rear gunner in place Tony,” said the colonel to a Para. “If the police follow lay down some covering fire.”
“Yes sir,” said Tony, picking up a very large machine gun on a stand and dragging it to back of the bus. Once there he used the butt to smash the rear window and set up the gun on the back seat.
“Er, colonel,” said the PM. “We are not at war with the United States, if you shoot a policeman, it will be murder.”
“Did that politician speak?” said the colonel to Ray.
“Yes sir he did. He said that if we shoot an American policeman it will be murder.”
“Did he Ray? Can you remind him that we are on a secret mission and that very few people know we are here and that he is with us. Consequently, if we have a bout of pre-event nerves and want to let off steam by making him run naked across these fields for target practice and then we dispose of the body at sea, nobody will be any the wiser. Take the next right at the top of this hill please Ray.”
“The colonel says he will shoot you himself and dispose of your body if you don’t shut up sir.” said Ray.
“Oh, ok,” said the PM.
He made a mental note, if he got home alive, to ask the Ministry of Defence if the Paras had a detachment based at Broadmoor or any other institution for the criminally insane.
You can find David’s blog is at The Royal Factor.