Royal baby blues? We’ll BBC about that!

Royal baby blues? We’ll BBC about that!

Royal Baby

For those less than awestruck by the birth of Royalty, I can inform you that Britain is still full of the right sort of cynicism, negativity and sarcasm that we have all come to love it for. And by love, of course, I mean ‘loudly tut in approval of’. The Guardian newspaper’s website made use of a “Republican”/”Royalist” option, which gave people the choice to remove Royal baby news from the homepage; Private Eye magazine simply had “Woman Has Baby” on their front page, and Twitter even managed to fit some Royalty-related hashtags on to the current Trends, shoulder-barging all the #WeLoveJustin Twitterers out of the way (with an arguably even less rational bunch). None of the latter were overly negative, however – but maybe that’s because the kid’s dad can fly Apache army helicopters.

The decision as to whether we consider ourselves Republican or Royalist, as The Guardian tried to help us with, is complicated. I count myself agnostic when it comes to this debate. I’ve written previously that I am in favour of a monarchy (but one that has no political power) and yet I can never truly call myself a Royalist, because really I just want to brag about living in a tourist attraction version of a real country. The children’s books, Horrible Histories, may be the instructional manuals referred to whenever the Royals need reminding of what they can and cannot do to their ‘Subjects’.

And yet I still yearn for a Republic – because Democracy. Personally, I’d rather Cameron wasn’t the President of anything beyond the Young Conservatives Club, but the need and desire for such a political structure feels more and more weight on its side as time goes on, despite the glossies and the newspapers continuing to pander to the irrational frenzy caused by celebrity birth.

But whether we care or not about the birth of the new, miniature Prince, denying its news appeal is tantamount to self-delusion. Often in the Comment thread below pieces covering events such as these, you will read “This is not news” declared assertively from a keyboard warrior, apparently gleeful to have attained the tools for exacting Universal Objectivity in their judgements. Defining the news as anything other than current events applicable to a public interest, seems plain wrong (even if it’s a kick in the morals). If no one cared about something, it would not be reported – journalists don’t make money trying to get obscure people in the news, it’s just not how the world works. If Justin Bieber or One Direction are caught eating kittens or performing black magic backstage, a lot of fans will want to know, and whoever reports it first will get, at the very least, a good pat on the back from their Editor (unless you’re Perez Hilton, who I assume just pats himself). People want to know about Justin, about cats on the internet and yes, even the birth of a baby born into a life of privilege. We can debate who sparks the interest first, the public or the media, but one thing is for sure, we’re never going to stop it.

I don’t care about the hype surrounding a Royal birth, it’s an insult to the progression of a fair society, but the world – some of it, at least – really doesn’t spare a thought for my opinions and just wants to celebrate something. For many, the arguments of class divide and elitism are just noise. I’ve argued in the past that the celebration of the monarchy has (and still does) generate community but in hindsight, this community seems temporary, and the louder it crows, the more ill-informed it sounds. This birth is news because it’s relevant, it’s recent and it’s entertainment – and it’s going to be reported from every outlet, whether we like it or not.

In the words of my new favourite BBC journalist, Mr Simon McCoy, on location during a pre-birth Royal update: “Plenty more to come from here – of course, none of it news. But that won’t stop us, we’ll see you later.”


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