While walking to work the other morning, I overheard a snippet of conversation between a mother and her two young children. The children, aged about 7, were expressing their concern over being late for school and the mother replied by saying: “the teacher doesn’t own you; I own you”.
At first, I smiled to myself at such a concept, but then I started to think how anyone could possibly consider they could ‘own’ another human being. My thoughtful smile soon began to turn into a shocked realisation.
During the last couple of days, the overheard conversation started to gain more relevance when attached to the celebrations of the Queen’s Jubilee. Why as a nation are we celebrating the ‘work’ of a monarch who has been on the throne for 60 years when we don’t bestow the same value for someone who has worked in an everyday ‘job’ for the same amount of time?
It suddenly struck me that the mother and her children could so easily have been substituted by the Queen and her present government arguing over the same idea.
Now please don’t start to accuse me of being a republican trouble maker as I have the greatest respect for her Majesty and the way she has carried out her duties to the nation, but I have started to question exactly why we place the Royals upon such a pedestal when many of us don’t bestow equal respect for nurses, surgeons, charity workers and others who serve society as a whole.
If we take ourselves back to the days of living in caves, someone must have woken up one morning and said: “I am more important than the rest of you, so I declare myself to be your leader and you will all serve me from this moment on.” It was the person with the strongest personality and the most powerful weapon who forcibly dominated the rest – not a person elected to that position by a majority.
As the years passed by, other countries were conquered, and claimed, by armies now ‘owned’ by those who declared themselves monarchs. The assets of those countries were used by their conquerors and the native people were subjugated by their new ‘owners’.
And so the British Empire was built. Our small island nation became one of the most powerful players in world domination – all whilst in the ‘service’ of our Royals.
Our present Queen, of course, has only inherited her position and has done a remarkable job in what has possibly become the fastest changing world ever experienced since the creation of the planet.
What I find surprising, though, is watching the adoring faces of those celebrating her Jubilee and wondering whether subconsciously we have been programmed to still regard ourselves as being ‘owned’ by her.
While questioning myself, I am reminded of the line used in the old TV programme, ‘The Prisoner’:
“I am not a number; I am a free man”
Sadly, my National Insurance number proves I am deluded!
Happy Jubilee and freedom to you all!