This week, the UK was among the top world newsmakers - along with the “migratory flood” that swept Europe and the war in Syria. On Wednesday, Queen Elizabeth II broke her great-grandmother's record - Queen Victoria - for the duration of her stay on the British throne. The current "mistress of the seas" is seated on the throne for more than 63 years, 7 months and 2 days - that is, longer than her great predecessor, who seemed to contemporaries to be "eternal queen." But if, under the scepter of Victoria, Britain became a colonial empire, “above which the sun does not set,” then the name of Elizabeth II is associated with a long but brilliant sunset of one of the leading global players in stories New time.
Addressing on Wednesday with a thank-you speech to her subjects, Her Majesty, by tradition, appeared as an elegant, somewhat prim and strong-willed lady, faithful to the traditions of good old England. But although Elizabeth is famous for her ability to control herself, in her speech no-no, and sad notes slipped through, and sad lights lit in her faded eyes. What's the matter? Probably, the queen-record holder felt at that moment with particular urgency that with her departure the sun of British power would finally roll over the horizon ...
Stop, from this place in more detail! Isn't the queen just a ceremonial figure, devoid of real power? And did the British Empire not cease to exist after the Second World War? The short answer is "both yes and no." But in order to understand the essence of the British game, one thing to be borne in mind is that Britain’s global influence today rests on the striking ability to constantly be the center of attention and at the same time carefully keep their skeletons in the closet from prying eyes.
So, according to the official version, Britain is a constitutional monarchy, where "the queen reigns, but does not rule." Mass consciousness draws the hostess of Buckingham Palace in the role of the national symbol of good old England - along with a red telephone booth, a double-decker bus and Big Ben. But is her role really only to make speeches and drive around in smart carriages?
“You should not blindly trust the textbooks of the English language,” said the historian and political scientist Pavel Svyatenkov, an expert at the National Strategy Institute. - In terms of power, the Queen of Great Britain surpasses not only other august persons like the Spanish monarch Philip VI or the Japanese emperor. Why? In Britain, there is no written constitution (it is simply not there!), And political life is governed by traditions and customs. They allow the Queen of England to declare wars and conclude peace, dissolve parliament, impose a veto on any decisions of deputies, dismiss the government and appoint any British citizen, and not necessarily the leader of the winning party, as prime minister.
Amazingly, not only secular, but also spiritual power is concentrated in the hands of the English monarchs. The hostess of Buckingham Palace is part-time head of the Anglican Church. This gives her incredible powers that even the Iranian ayatollah or the “favorite leader” of the DPRK have not dreamed of.
“However, in Britain, kings do not afford the old-fashioned absolutist manners,” writes the historian Alexander Eliseev. - They prefer to act because of the “parliamentary screen”, using the main parties - the Conservatives and Laborists - as two elegant gloves on their royal hands. Indeed, why take on fire when it is easier to put professional showmen from politics on the scene? ”
Nevertheless, Elizabeth II is quietly and unobtrusively monitoring the activities of the British prime ministers, whom, since her coronation in 1952, twelve people have changed since the legendary Winston Churchill. So, at the beginning of 1990, the queen deprived Margaret Thatcher of access to information from intelligence agencies, and then insisted on the resignation of the “iron lady”. For years already 63 every Tuesday, the British Prime Minister comes to Buckingham Palace for a personal meeting with the queen, which journalists have called "weekly therapy."
- They are locked together, away from other people's ears, and discuss the most important political issues, - says Alexei Kupriyanov. - According to retired prime ministers, usually the queen simply asks questions. And if the answer does not satisfy her, then she sets new ones - until the head of the cabinet understands that she is dissatisfied with something and that the political course needs to be corrected.
Well, we figured out the role of the English queen. But is the UK really one of the key players in global politics today, and not the “junior partner” of the United States in Europe?
“Indeed, despite belonging to the anti-Hitler coalition, Britain actually lost the Second World War to the United States, giving them a formal leadership in the Western world,” says Andrei Fursov, a well-known Russian historian and philosopher. “But at the same time, she managed, after 1945, to preserve her individuality and partly the empire.” London simply turned it into a hidden, networked form, creating the British Commonwealth of Nations.
Today, London retains a tremendous influence on world politics thanks to such purely English trump cards as financial weapon, excellent intelligence and high humanitarian technologies. It was England that became one of the main trendsetters in pop music, design, fashion, film and literature - after the victorious march of The Beatles and James Bond, the British seduced the whole world with their mass culture. And it is precisely the City of London that has retained the role of the main center of the global financial system, where the “elitist of all countries” rush along with their capitals.
Actually, the greatest merit of Elizabeth II lies precisely in the fact that she was able to preserve Britain’s place in the “top geopolitical league” for more than half a century, making the decline of the British Empire even inevitable, but truly brilliant. And in many respects she succeeded thanks to the “rebranding” of the British monarchy - during the years of her rule she became fashionable, media and commercially attractive. One problem - that which gave a great result in the short term, is now starting to turn around against the entire royal family.
“The monarchy relies on a special, sacred-magical type of legitimacy,” states the philosopher Vitaly Averyanov. - For its existence, it is necessary for the people to feel respect for the royal family, recognizing the divine origin of its power. At the same time, members of the royal house must have a certain upbringing and awareness of their own mission.
Alas, the observance of such harsh conditions in our relaxed postmodern age is no longer possible. Justify the divine origin of power in the eyes of his subjects is almost impossible - in view of indiscriminate religious indifference and atheism. And the “spirit of the times” and mass culture overcame the walls of the royal palaces long ago, changing the consciousness of the offspring of even the most powerful dynasties.
Get accustomed to the Windsor - and you will see pictures of the degeneration of the once great dynasty! So, the crown prince Charles is completely devoid of the royal charisma of his mother Elizabeth. He behaves like an ordinary man in the street - at odds with the legitimate wife of Princess Diana, marries his divorced girlfriend Camille Parker-Bowles and amazes everyone with petty bourgeoisness. It was recently revealed that he had underpaid the British treasury 700 million pounds as taxes for the duchy of Cornwall.
But the younger the scion of the royal family, the less pronounced the “gene of power” in it. For example, Prince Harry then boastfully admits to using marijuana, then appears at a party with a Nazi swastika on his sleeve, then flies with his fists on paparazzi, who is trying to photograph a red-haired hooligan with a stripper.
“Sometimes I get tired of all these ceremonies and want to become an ordinary person,” he once said in an interview with the BBC. And this recognition explains a lot.
The question arises: how in the conditions of the postmodern triumph to convince the people of the need to preserve the monarchy? Keeping up with the times, members of the royal houses began to conclude that the best way to “stay in trend” was to turn from God's anointed ones into incendiary pop stars. And, apparently, the Windsors resigned themselves to the fact that the glamorous legitimacy has replaced the sacred and magical legitimacy. Thus, the wedding of Prince William with the “simple lady” Kate Middleton was broadcast live on all the world's leading channels, and the bridal outfit was discussed by glossy magazines. During the birth of the heir, every breath of the woman in labor was reported by the media with such speed as if it were stock quotes or reports from the fronts.
I must say that Elizabeth II, as a man of the old school, until the last moment resisted this tendency. But today, blowing against the “wind of change” is no longer possible. Although Elizabeth continues to stubbornly cling to the throne, refusing to abdicate the throne in favor of the youth, as her colleagues in Spain, Belgium and the Netherlands did.
- The British happened to send their monarchs to the scaffold, but never to retire! - She said in 2012-m in response to numerous persuasions.
A few years ago, Elizabeth II quarreled with Labor MPs, who offered to delete the word "empire" in the title of one of the most important British awards.
“If there is a need for this, then you can do it after my departure,” the queen snapped.
Translated from royal, this phrase means something like the following: “Have a little more patience. I will soon leave, and then you will be able to finally finish off the once great power. " Elizabeth II is well aware that the degeneration of the English ruling dynasty is not its only sadness. Too many other symptoms indicate that the brilliant sunset of the British Empire has entered its final phase.
Signs of British sunset
Attribute number 1. Economic model crisis
The main symbol of the economic decline of the United Kingdom was the recent death of Margaret Thatcher. “Iron Lady” launched the neoliberal model of the economy in the 1980, as a result of which the London City speculation and real estate manipulation became the main engine of the British economy. Thatcher's reforms allowed the UK to achieve good growth in the 1990s and become the financial heart of the global world. Especially since after the collapse of the USSR, hundreds of post-Soviet new rich people rushed with their capitals to “Londongrad”.
Today, however, the model created by Thatcher is in a severe crisis. Already, the UK in terms of external debt (9,8 trillion dollars) ranks second in the world after the United States, and its debt obligations are 18 times Greek. As a result, even the loyal to London rating agencies in 2013, deprived the UK of the highest AAA credit rating. Unemployment in Foggy Albion reached 8 percent, dozens of social programs got under the knife, and for the first time since 1950, some citizens learned about food stamps.
Attribute number 2. Surrender geopolitical positions
Those blessed days when the "cunning Albion" skillfully raked the heat with someone else's hands, while he himself, like a true gentleman, remained in a white dress coat, was irretrievably gone. A vivid example of this is the Libyan operation of NATO 2011 of the year, when it was London (along with Paris) that did the dirty work of overthrowing Muammar Gaddafi. Moreover, the air-to-ground guided missiles ended with the valiant British military even at the start of the campaign!
Not better things in Europe, where London is opposed by the tandem Berlin - Paris. It was Germany that became one of the initiators of the attack on the offshore areas of Cyprus (in fact, the British colony), which for many years allowed the British to profit at the expense of representatives of the "native elites". Having no room for maneuver, Albion decided to “slam the door”, declaring his intention to leave the EU (the House of Commons on Tuesday appointed a referendum on 2016 year). Usually those gentlemen who no longer hope to take the jackpot at the card table leave the influential club.
Attribute number 3. "Parade of sovereignties"
It is no secret that the Queen of England is the head of state in 16 from the 33 countries of the British Commonwealth. However, in Australia's 2011, they said that it would be nice to turn the Green Continent into a republic and, after the death of Elizabeth II, be removed from the influence of the British monarchy. Jamaica was embraced by similar sentiments - in 2013, the Prime Minister of the island of Porshia Simpson-Miller made a rather remarkable statement:
“I love the queen, she is a beautiful lady.” But the Jamaicans must gain independence.
However, the most unpleasant surprise for London was the “parade of sovereignties” on the shores of Foggy Albion itself. So, at last year's referendum in Scotland, only a small majority voted to preserve their small homeland as part of the UK. Is it any wonder that supporters of Scottish independence do not lose hope of achieving their goal at the second attempt?
Attribute number 4. Decomposition of the British aristocracy
The greatness of the British Empire is primarily due to the exquisite peers, polished lords and other dukes. They conquered the indigenous peoples, ruled the colonies and skillfully oversaw diplomacy and intelligence. The formation of the British establishment usually happens like this. Siblings of noble families attend special private schools, elite colleges such as Eaton and prestigious universities like Oxford and Cambridge. Living in Spartan conditions, they receive special managerial knowledge, and then enter into closed elite clubs, where the selection of the most valuable personnel takes place.
Alas, but English aristocrats no less than members of the royal family are exposed to the temptations of the consumer society, which is confirmed by numerous “elite” scandals. Recently, the Vice Speaker of the House of Lords, John Sewell, resigned after a video was leaked into the network, where he sniffed cocaine through a bill rolled into a tube. And David Cameron himself, a direct descendant of King William IV, plays video games on his iPhone for most of the day. Such characters are hardly capable of “carrying the burden of a white man” like their predecessors in the Victorian era.
Attribute number 5. Social degradation
The moral decline of the royal family and clan aristocracy is only a reflection of the general moral crisis of the British. “After the collapse of the colonial empire, we were left alone with ourselves. And then it turned out that we are a nation of alcoholics who are not getting out of pubs, ”says The Guardian columnist. Prime Minister David Cameron recognized the drunkenness of compatriots "national threat", proposing to organize an anti-alcohol campaign. In addition, England set the European record for the number of teenage pregnancies, which is not surprising for a country where "sex education" has long been part of the school curriculum.
On the other hand, the “conflict of civilizations” is intensifying in the country. Muhammad is already the most popular name among babies born in Britain, and in some parts of London there are “Islamic patrols” chasing, for example, girls in mini-skirts. And, most likely, after the current "immigration invasion" of this contingent will only be more.