If you read this blogsite regularly (and you should, you should, you’ll feel better and have nicer skin) I recently recalled 1952 when my class was allowed out of school to see a film. It featured Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (although she may have gone under a different name then) and a trip she made to Kenya. The film showed how really awful the Mau-Mau savages of Kenya were, going around eating worms and killing people, unlike the royal visitor who was nicely dressed in hat and gloves and was friendly to everyone.
So then a few days after my blog, in fact the other day, what do I read? Newspaper reports that just before Kenya got independence, the British took 1500 files back to London because they “might embarrass her Majesty’s Government”. No kidding. Some of the men and women mentioned in the files are now suing the British government because the files verify they were held in concentration camps and were subjected to unspeakable acts of brutality, including severe sexual assault and castration.
And now Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Saxe-Coburg-Gotha is all set for another visit, this time to the twenty-six counties in mid-May. Why? Well, you could say she will come in an effort to, um, how shall I put this, do a public-relations castration job on 1916 before its centenary comes up. With willing media support (Well hello Ruth Dudley Edwards!) we will be taught to see the centenary as a harmless, neutered commemoration, a kind of greenfest, one that’s colourful, yes, but has nothing to say to today. Because there really is no big ape called Partition, it’s an illusion, it’s certainly not running round our living room defecating on the lampshade, the sofa, the mantelpiece and in Uncle Andy’s hat. No, no, no. All that’s a trick of the light. There is no Irish question any more, it’s been resolved, and there is no ape called Partition.
Or if there is, we must learn to love it.