A right royal stitch-up

I'll be up-front and honest with you. I don't much care for weddings.

If two people wish to demonstrate their commitment to one another in front of family and friends, that is absolutely fine, but too many weddings are about showing off, or pleasing the parents, or getting married because you think you ought to.

I've been to quite a lot of weddings over the years, and not many of them have been truly memorable occasions, where the personalities of the married couple shine through the tired traditions.

It probably doesn't help that I don't believe in God, and find myself sighing in despair as I listen to some tedious vicar spouting on and on about the importance of religious marriage, before leading the congregation in a hymn from primary school, because that was the last time either of the couple actually partook of a church service.

I don't wish to upset my friends by writing this, but it's just the way I see it.  I'm vaguely tempted to organize my own nuptials and make everyone sit through a preposterously atheistic ceremony, full of Richard Dawkins (who I don't even like very much) and Christopher Hitchens speeches, and Monty Python songs.  It would be petty and vindictive and alienating, but so is religion, and it least it would be my own take on things.

I am not in this crowd.

Having said all this, it will come as no surprise when I declare that I shall not be watching the Royal wedding tomorrow.  I wish William and Kate all the best, but no more wish to watch their nuptials than I do those of Splodge and Lucretia Tishpool of Carmarthen, or Billy and Betty Bubble of Biggleswade, or any other couple I've never met.

I don't think the country is really very excited by the event, but the media needs rubbish to sell its papers and TV subscriptions.  So it has now switched to full-on build-up mode, finding idiots who've camped outside Westminster Abbey for five days in order to be able to get a prime view of Prince Philip, or who are writing celebratory songs for Prince William, or who have made a Royal Dalek, or who have made their house into a giant effigy of Prince Harry.

Ignoring it is fine.  These people serve no purpose, whatever the royalists try to claim.  They may bring in tourist revenue, but they do this not because of their extraordinary talents, but because we let them live ridiculous lives in ridiculous palaces.  Demanding our continued subsidy of their bejewelled majesty is like claiming that bad drivers should be supported by the state because we like to gawk at smashed-up cars.

As for the cost of the wedding, I was impressed (but hardly surprised) that the Prime Minister defended it.  The Government would pay for transport- and security-related costs, he said, but the Royal Household would meet the actual costs of the wedding.

That's alright then, isn't it, Dave!  The taxpayers aren't being fleeced, are they?  Except, erm, who pays for the Royal Household?  Could it possibly be taxpayers, to the tune of £38.2m in 2010?  Yes it could!

So when Channel 4 tells us we have the privilege of stumping up a further seven-figure sum (perhaps as much as £10m) to support this ridiculous roadshow, forgive me for not jumping with joy.  Or indeed paying any attention to the ceremony at all.
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