Philip Mountbatten dead at 99

Peter Stoddart, YCL Student Officer

Buckingham Palace announced this afternoon (9 April 2021) that the Philip, so-called ‘Duke of Edinburgh’, had died.

The BBC’s stations all took a moment of silence before a rendition of God Save the Queen was broadcast throughout the country. Flags will be flown at half mast, and testimonials will follow from across the political spectrum.

Testimonies of Philip’s legacy will surely fill the weekends papers. News stations compete to broadcast heartfelt testimonials about “An extraordinary man who lived an extraordinary life.”

Variously described as “an eccentric old man“, “known for his mischievous sense of humour“, “a true patriot“, “the penniless prince“.

Back in reality of course, we know that Philip was nothing more than a crazy old racist who represented everything wrong with Britain’s unhealthy obsession with the Royal Family. More than this, he was probably a lizard, and definitely died over a decade ago, despite the Royals’ best efforts to re-enact “Weekend at Bernie’s“.

There has been an outpouring of republican sentiment in recent years. The majority of people know that the monarchy is archaic, feudalistic and hundreds of years too far gone. We cannot allow this feeling to be lost, if we are ever going to seize the opportunity.

Right wingers and royalists will cry foul play for anyone willing to call  the Royals out for what they are. A family filled with paedophiles, racists, misogynists and xenophobes. The bedrock of British imperialism, the monarchy stand as one of the crucial pillars of slavery, genocide and exploitation, from South Africa, to India, to the West Indies to North America and beyond.

Despite the Royal family’s best efforts to rebrand and conceal Philip from public view in recent years. We can’t be fooled, the rest of the family share the exact same ideals as Philip, the only difference is his lack of self awareness.

Even worse than the royalists and their visible outpouring of grief, we will see liberals and moderate republicans demanding everyone pay their respects to Philip’s legacy. Already we’ve seen the major parties cease campaigning ahead of May’s elections, as if the death of a deranged 99 year old man bears any relevance to the lives of  millions of voters who have been struggling for over a year throughout this pandemic.

There is no reason to buy into this rhetoric. The Royals offer us nothing, they never have, and they never will. The first step on the road to socialism in this country must be the abolition of the monarchy. This is as true today as it was yesterday.

The death of Philip Mountbatten at 99, is not a tragedy. The real tragedy is the deaths of millions across the world at the hands of the British Empire. The real tragedy is the suffering caused by the obscene hoarding of wealth in this country while others are forced to pick between paying their bills, or buying food for their children. The real tragedy is the distraction that his death represents, drawing attention anyway from the abhorrent effects of capitalism in 21st century Britain.

So we say: onwards to a new Republic. One down. More to go.

Peter Stoddart

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