On May 19th this year, there’s some sort of wedding taking place. I won’t even bother attempting to phrase it better than my esteemed colleague Kayleigh did when she described the event as an actress and celebrated humanitarian marrying a ginger former soldier. There have already been a lot of great words spilled about this event and its social implications, and I won’t be adding anything to that conversation here.
The wedding is to take place at Windsor Castle, the royal residence at—duh—Windsor, in the English county of Berkshire.
Windsor Castle is also located in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead. Now, some boroughs are posh, and others less so. The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead—containing both the aforementioned castle, as well as Eton College (aka ‘the school the runs England’) and Ascot (aka ‘what the fuck crawled up onto your head and died, love? Is that meant to be a hat?’) racecourse —counts among the former.
I mean, yes, it’s also home to Legoland Windsor, but then rare is the thing that is entirely evil.
Windsor and Maidenhead is not entirely evil, and it’s not entirely posh. As is the case with a lot of the gilded halls of empire, look close enough and beyond the polish you will see the rot, and while the rich gorge themselves ever fatter on a system rigged in their favour, the majority suffer. Case in point: While the 1% in England have never had it better, homelessness has surged by an astonishing 34% in the 7 years since the Tories took power. Windsor and Maidenhead is no exception to this.
Where it does differ is in its honesty.
Enter one Simon Dudley. He is the Conservative leader of the council of Windsor and Maidenhead, and he is not afraid to speak his mind. Tweeting from a skiing holiday, Dudley recently bemoaned the ‘epidemic of rough sleeping and vagrancy in Windsor’. He said that ‘residents have had enough of this exploitation of residents and 6 million tourists pa [per annum]’. He announced his intention to write to the Thames Valley police force, beseeching them to cleanse the streets of Windsor ahead of the Royal Wedding. In the letter, seen by The Guardian, Dudley asked the police force to take actions against ‘aggressive begging and intimidation’ and the ‘bags and detritus’ plaguing the streets of his fine borough.
Dudley is, of course, a human being, and thus is not without a heart. He understands the plight of those who suffer the indignity and horror of living without a roof over their head. But he is also nobody’s fool! And he will not be hoodwinked by scoundrels. According to The Guardian:
“Homelessness is completely unacceptable in a caring, compassionate community such as ours,” he says.
However, he goes on to say that the council has evidence that “a large number of adults that are begging in Windsor are not in fact homeless, and if they are homeless they are choosing to reject all support services … In the case of homelessness amongst this group, it is therefore a voluntary choice.”
Ah, the voluntary homeless! Those cheeky rapscallions.
But I mean, let’s be honest with ourselves here though: We’ve all done it for a laugh every once in a while, yeah? You know the routine. Pop on your best hole-covered jacket, knock out a few teeth, and strut on out into the streets. There’s no rush quite like the rush of being treated as less than human by indifferent passersby! You just have not lived until you risk freezing to death in a darkened alley while scores of people do their shopping on the adjacent, golden hued high street. And, oh, oh! Don’t even pretend like you know what fun is until some drunken lads on a night out decide to urinate on you and set you on your fire. Who wouldn’t wanna be out on the streets?!
Councillor Dudley goes on to say that:
Obviously, the level of tourist interest is set to multiply with the royal wedding in May 2018, and there are increased concerns from our residents about their safety. The whole situation also presents a beautiful town in a sadly unfavourable light.
So sad. Such a beautiful town, so blighted. So many lovely buildings—made of stone and shit!—having to suffer aesthetically from their proximity to filhty humans for god’s sake. And while a prince marries an actress! I just don’t know how such a sad state of affairs has come about.
Deploy the shock troops. Bring the flamethrowers and the hoses.