The ‘silly season’ has arrived early this year.
Those purveyors of hysterical (in both senses) tabloid stories at Guido Fawkes blog have got their knickers in a tizzy after graduate students at the Middle Common Room of Magdalen College, Oxford, agreed to take down a photo print of the Queen that has been up since 2013.
Presumably they wanted to use the space for something else – for a while, at least.
Guido seems to resent this display of democracy. “Stalin would be proud,” the article claimed – indicating that the author doesn’t have much understanding of the way the late Russian dictator worked. It would be more Stalinist to demand that the portrait remain up after the students voted to remove it.
So, it seems, does Education Secretary Gavin Williamson, who appears to have provided his opinion: “Oxford University students removing a picture of the Queen is simply absurd. She is the Head of State and a symbol of what is best about the United Kingdom. During her long reign she has worked tirelessly to promote British values of tolerance, inclusivity and respect around the world.”
That may be his opinion but it has nothing to do with the students’ decision.
Other examples of misdirection in the article (spotted by the much higher-quality Zelo Street) are:
- The image that has been removed isn’t a portrait – it’s a print of a photograph. For all we know, it might have had to come down because, after eight years on the wall, it’s probably a bit tatty by now. Guido‘s claim that it may be auctioned therefore lacks credibility.
- Guido states that the college had voted to “scrap” the Queen, and this is simply untrue. College authorities had nothing to do with the decision by graduate students. It follows that the college didn’t agree to anything.
Still, why should the newspapers let the facts get in the way of a good scandal? Both the Heil (Mail) and the Brexit (Express) took joy in regurgitating the claims.
Outrage as Oxford students vote to axe Queen, screamed the Heil; How dare they! Oxford students cancel our Queen, screeched the Brexit.
And very foolish they look too – now. Here are some more rational reactions:
Things our media should be covering:
✅ PPE scandal
✅ Track and trace scandal
✅ Institutional racism of police, media and political parties
✅ Catastrophically failed covid response by government
What our media is covering:
tHEY’rE cANcElinG oUr QUeen!
— Kerry-Anne Mendoza 🏳️🌈 (@TheMendozaWoman) June 9, 2021
An autonomous student organisation decided to put up a picture of the Queen a few years ago. They’ve now decided to take it down. It’s not that deep. pic.twitter.com/pSVvND7Ii2
— Ash Sarkar (@AyoCaesar) June 9, 2021
If they’re getting their knickers in a twist about the removal of the Queen’s portrait from an MCR, just wait until one puts up a picture of Meghan.
— Paul Bernal (@PaulbernalUK) June 9, 2021
Yes indeed – mention of the former Ms Markle raised a pertinent point:
If you are more upset by a picture of the queen being removed from a student common room than by racism directed at a new born baby; how sickening, how despicable, how shameful.
— Prof Gayle Letherby 💙 #PeaceAndJustice (@gletherby) June 9, 2021
Last word must be this little reminder:
Loving people claiming the Queen is being cancelled.
Lads – her face is still on all the money and all the stamps. She's the head of state. She's a fucking billionaire. She lives above and beyond the law. She wears a hat literally covered in the mineral wealth of other nations.
— Mark Hebden 💙 (@unionlib) June 9, 2021
Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.
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