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March 3, 2024

Mandy Nolan’s Soapbox: Banana bread and the royal circus

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Mandy Nolan’s Soapbox: Banana bread and the royal circus

I don’t get the Australian fascination with the royal family. The national spectacle of crowds fawning over Harry and Meghan seems to be in direct opposition with what I thought it meant to be Australian. To be an independent country capable of its own rule.

Didn’t the British arrive here and declare the Indigenous population non-existent? Didn’t they see them as savages and refuse to acknowledge them human? That’s what Terra nullius meant. Why are we nostalgic for an empire that displaced so many people in its obsession with conquest for crown, country, and colonial rule? Weren’t we a penal settlement? The dumping ground for the Empire’s most unwanted? England’s Nauru.

The push for a republic in Australia has been put off until the Queen dies. The woman may live to 200 at this rate. In the meantime I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the love affair between the public and the royal family has been re-invigorated. By the time Liz carks it we’ll be so in love with the new funky royals that we’ll willingly go missionary for the monarchy.

I am intrigued by the ongoing media frenzy and what appears to be the mass hypnosis of hoi polloi. Even the most cynical can’t help but fall under the spell of Harry and Meghan. They’re a striking couple. And marrying a girl of Afro-American heritage? Daughter of a social working yoga teacher? It’s public relations genius. It really is a fairytale capable of silencing the most militant of anti-royalist agitators. See how they are changing things?

NO I don’t. I don’t see anything except a very shiny distraction from all the extremely serious shit going on. Populism, like these young royals, reigns supreme. They’re taking all the right qualities to market. She’s even making banana bread.

This generation of royals knows how to engage. Harry has a sense of humour. He is kind. Meghan does yoga and wears ethically sourced jeans made by girls rescued from the sex trade. They’re nice people. Why are we seduced by that? Are we so used to people in power being awful that their being ‘nice’ brings us undone?

Why do we moon for the monarchy? It’s how Stockholm Syndrome works isn’t it? Your captor shows you kindness and instead of resentment or desire for liberation, in its place are compliance and loyalty. And love. That’s when you choose to stay in prison without the prison.

Harry’s here for the Invictus Games – the celebration of triumph over adversity by those injured in war and in service of their country. But did you know that the Invictus Games are brought to you by arms dealers – the very ones who created the weapons responsible for the pain and disfigurement in the first place? Aren’t the refugees we have locked up offshore the victims of the unlawful invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq by the Coalition of the Willing, the most notable members being Australia, Britain, and the USA.

The royal family have shares in the arms trade and profited from the war in Iraq. Doesn’t that strike you as a little off? Doesn’t the whole magical shine tarnish just a little? Like with most extreme privilege, there’s blood on their hands. Wouldn’t those injured in service prefer money spent on actual mental health treatment and facilities, housing, and support across the entire community of those injured in service?

And then there’s the ‘romance’ thing. Those infatuated with the Harry and Meghan story. The prince marrying the commoner? Didn’t we little girls grow up damaged enough wishing for shit like that? Isn’t that the Cinderella story all over again?

Don’t you think it’s time we buried that sexist, classist shit for good? Even now, with all we know, it’s still our opiate. We love the pretty pictures of beautiful couples that make us forget that for many many people, the world is an unfair and difficult place. Journalists with years of training drop their news stories to painstakingly detail ‘an ivory sheath dress’, ‘a mid-calf black skirt’, ‘a navy blue suit’… It is so extraordinarily meaningless.

Who cares? We turn our backs on children languishing in detention centres but take to the streets in thousands to stand behind barricades to catch a glimpse of people afforded ultimate privilege? It makes me feel ill. Are we that shallow? Are we that easily sated? Are we really that stupid? It’s PR for the empire.

Get rid of the cavalcades, bring on the republic, and stop being sucked into the bullshit.


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12 COMMENTS

  1. So very on point Mandy.
    Couldn’t have said it better myself.
    Harry is pretty cool guy, and his wife seems lovely, but who really gives a shit ? Seriously.

  2. Good on you Mandy ..The royals are just like anyone else .How could they not be.. But they pretend to be important and are used by others like politicians and the elite who need their egos boosted to feel important ,when in fact they are just like everyone else …except of course Mandy who is smarter and more real than any of them…

  3. You know a thing or two about hero-worship yourself……”El Presidente Nolan”!

    And who’s saying we can rule ourselves? Knowing Australia as I do we’d probably get some shit like Howard as the first President……nah stick with the bloody Monarchy at least they do it with style which Australians seem to be singularly lacking.

  4. Well said Mandy Nolan.
    No matter how much lipstick our lickspittle politicians and the corporate media propagandists slap on the pig, it is still a porcine pest that Australia must be rid of. We will never become a mature, sovereign country otherwise.

  5. Well done, Mandy. A seemingly lovely couple. Great for Britain. But Australia? The Invictus Games is a great idea & does great work. Good on Harry for commencing them. Otherwise leave it to the Brits. Not Australia.

  6. So msny claims needing ratifying. One I can dispel. Terra nullius literally means a place with no people. The actuality is there was no central government as understood then, one rule took over the lack of one as would have happened eventually. Are we to flog ourselves forever because of history. Ask yourself Mandy the next time you go to maccas or a cafe, where is the best place in the world to be. I’m not worried about Australia we whites and the abs share a homegrown sense of humour going back to Lawson and Patterson,

    • “… there was no central government as understood then”.
      How do you know ?
      Just because the invading white settlers couldn’t recognise the sophisticated inter-connected culture of the people and place already in existence here, doesn’t mean it didn’t exist. Cook, Banks [et al] just didn’t appreciated it, or simply ignored there own legal system’s requirements for claiming a country to satisfy the needs of a colonial government in need of new lands to dump their overcrowding convict populations. Australia was clearly not terra nullius, no matter which way you try and justify it robot. It was a fictional legal construction to allow the British to not have to engage in a treaty with the local population in order to take their land, as happened in New Zealand. It allowed an imperial colonial force to effectively steal the country.

      • Well said, Tim, with complete retrospectivity due a university thitrd year student. My point was not that english rule was right. My gearbox comes from Ireland. We’re being sold a history lesson. When the real world of geoplitical now rolls on without us. I lament some. I’m also a realist

  7. Yes! Tim’s got it. Ask any NZeder. We could form a ‘coalition of
    the un-willing’ or – better still – go ‘missing for the Monarchy.’
    Too much ado when there’s little to do about the Arms Dealers
    more-so now, people.

  8. The Brits, convicts, sailors, soldiers et al travelled six months in barely known waters to get here and faced starvation a couple times in the early settlements. Phillip was speared in a shoulder and ordered his men no retaliation. They were simple people themselves, not much knowledge of disease or its why, bare hygiene, just the glimpse of Newtonian physics. Traded in rum for a while. To us, the settlers were no more civilised than than the natives they encountered. They may have had Shakespeare. The natives would have had more in common with that, the psychology of tribal union and environmental survival before we even thought about it those things. Peaceful people on the whole with no knowledge of what we still call ownership. Times change though. Now the socialists want a pure world. Lawson is turning in his grave. Kelly and Furphy say: such is life.

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