Sunday, 24 April 2011

Royal Wedding? It's just like Top Gear

So how much of an ethical wedding do we think William and Kate's wedding is going to be? Well so far top ethical marks can go to the following:

The Ring - using Diana's old ring. A good example of recycling.

The Lights at Buckingham Palace. Despite intense pressure from US media, Buckingham Palace has refused to keep the flood lights on all night. Claiming that not only will it keep people awake but they are worried about the environmental impact of having flood lights on all night.

After Prince Charles banned foie gras from all royal menu's, you can assume this unethical meat will not be on the wedding breakfast menu.

The dress: from what we know of it (i.e. nothing) it is hard to say but likely that it will have been designed by a British designer so points for supporting British fashion industry.

But really there is not much else we can say. It is unlikely to be particularly ethical. All the people travelling from all over the world to attend, watch, report on or just soak up the atmosphere. The people in London who are doing the reverse and flying off somewhere to escape it. The sheer amount of time, energy and money that have gone into it, you can't help but assume there will be a lot of waste and it will have the carbon footprint the size of a small country.

However as this blog is about the consumer, therefore there is little point me commenting further about their big day. I doubt anyone who reads this blog is likely to have a wedding 2 billion people will watch (esp as my mum is already married) So maybe a more apt question about the wedding would be 'How ethical is it for us to like the Royal wedding?'

Opinion seems to be wildly divided to those camping out for days on end to catch a glimpse of the car whizz past, to those hosting a party, to those watching it on TV through to those who don't care and to those who violently oppose it and all it stands for (a lovely chap I work with, who writes a great blog is firmly in the last camp and was outraged when I dared to ask if he would watch it)

In my humble opinion the main reasons to be opposed to it seem to be as follows:

The cost: So we are paying for the
security, policing and street cleaning. OK some have worded it 'we are only paying for the security, policing and street cleaning' but that must still be a fair old whack - some reports estimating it is tens of millions. It's also not just the policing it takes on the day but the policing we have seen in the run up to it too. (As an interesting aside there is far far less written on this subject than I would have thought? Where are all the angry ranty people on this topic?)

Some killjoys have also pointed out the cost to our economy of another bank holiday - clearly though they just need to find more things to fill their spare time with.

The attention it gets: Whilst this week’s media will be dominated by the wedding (and has been for so long now) what else is being pushed off the news bulletin’s? Libya? Ivory Coast? Waves of government cuts? Important debate on the AV vote? Are these matters really worthy of less attention than who did or didn't design Kate's mum's hat?

The Royal Family: Should we have a royal family? Is there a place for them in modern democracy? An unelected woman gets to decide if the Prime Minister can from a government or not. Yes am sure it is all symbolic now and she would never say no but if it is just symbolic then what's the point. They generate millions in tourism each year? Well at the minute am sure that is true and will no doubt cover the cost of above and more but is this really true for the rest of the time? If there was no royal family would people not still come to our country? We would still have the history, the buildings, the heritage, the cities, the countryside?

Despite all this though I think the Royal wedding is just like Top Gear. I want to be against it but somehow can't. I want to be principally opposed to the expense, the waste, the attention on something trivial but just can't. I am dying to see Kate's dress. See what she does with her hair. See just how thin she does or doesn’t look. See her and William say the vows, the crowds, the atmosphere, the excitement, the Queen. I loved seeing the pictures of Regent Street done out with the Union Jacks, love that my corner shop frequently has no milk but has a host of Will and Kate mugs. So come Friday morning I will be sat in front of a TV, drinking champagne out of my Will and Kate mug and tripling my phone bill texting everyone else I know watching it (except Daniel, obviously).

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