Now that the Queen is dead, it’s time we bury the monarchy

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The queues began in the night. Starting at St Giles’ Cathedral on the Royal Mile, a line of several thousands of people snaked across Edinburgh for miles, patiently waiting for the opportunity to shuffle past a 96-year-old woman’s coffin. The city jumped into action to accommodate the royal mourners: portaloos and water stops were installed along the route, while the Salvation Army arrived to hand out hot drinks and food during the cold night. Yet, elsewhere in the city, 4,500 of Edinburgh’s homeless citizens slept rough on the streets or in temporary accommodation – a figure only expected to worsen as the UK’s cost of living crisis continues into the winter.

As we’ve seen since the Queen’s death on 8 September, the UK is actually very well equipped to handle a crisis – or whatever the state deems to be one. Public billboards and advertising spaces immediately transformed to memorialise the Queen, transport services have been magicked out of thin air to accommodate mourners, and a meticulously orchestrated operation has rolled out across the country.

Where was this leap to action at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic? Where is it now as the UK enters a cost of living crisis? Where are the hot drinks and portaloos for the people who are forced to spend every night outside? And where, exactly, are the millions of pounds that will be coughed up for the Queen’s funeral and the King’s ascension, for the parents relying on schools and a footballer to feed their children, for the pensioners riding buses to stay warm and for the 42% of us who will not be able to heat our homes by next January? The pompous display of wealth feels jarring against the worst fall in living standards for 60 years. Not only is it unnecessary, it’s deeply inappropriate.

“In modern Britain, ‘respect’ is only reserved for the wealthy – not for the most vulnerable in society”

The Queen’s death has only proven what we’ve come to know

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