Sixty Joyless De-Britished Uncrowned Commonpoor Years (1949-2009)

Elizabeth II Vice-Regal Saint: Remembering Paul Comtois (1895–1966), Lt.-Governor of Québec
Britannic Inheritance: Britain's proud legacy. What legacy will America leave?
English Debate: Daniel Hannan revels in making mince meat of Gordon Brown
Crazy Canucks: British MP banned from Canada on national security grounds
Happy St. Patrick's: Will Ireland ever return to the Commonwealth?
Voyage Through the Commonwealth: World cruise around the faded bits of pink.
No Queen for the Green: The Green Party of Canada votes to dispense with monarchy.
"Sir Edward Kennedy": The Queen has awarded the senator an honorary Knighthood.
President Obama: Hates Britain, but is keen to meet the Queen?
The Princess Royal: Princess Anne "outstanding" in Australia.
H.M.S. Victory: In 1744, 1000 sailors went down with a cargo of gold.
Queen's Commonwealth: Britain is letting the Commonwealth die.
Justice Kirby: His support for monarchy almost lost him appointment to High Court
Royal Military Academy: Sandhurst abolishes the Apostles' Creed.
Air Marshal Alec Maisner, R.I.P. Half Polish, half German and 100% British.
Cherie Blair: Not a vain, self regarding, shallow thinking viper after all.
Harry Potter: Celebrated rich kid thinks the Royals should not be celebrated
The Royal Jelly: A new king has been coronated, and his subjects are in a merry mood
Victoria Cross: Australian TROOPER MARK DONALDSON awarded the VC
Godless Buses: Royal Navy veteran, Ron Heather, refuses to drive his bus
Labour's Class War: To expunge those with the slightest pretensions to gentility
100 Top English Novels of All Time: The Essential Fictional Library
BIG BEN: Celebrating 150 Years of the Clock Tower

Tuesday, 27 March 2007

"You, the Queen, should be ashamed!"

By David Smith, The Observer

The slavery bicentenary service was about 45 minutes old and running as smoothly and sombrely as any usual major national commemoration at Westminster Abbey: the singing of hymns, readings from the Bible and an air of inviolable solemnity.

All this was shattered when, from behind my seat in Poets' Corner, a man strode rapidly into the space in front of the altar and began screaming at the top of his voice. The Queen, Prince Philip, Tony and Cherie Blair, John and Pauline Prescott, Gordon and Sarah Brown and the Archbishop of Canterbury watched in stunned disbelief. The bright-shirted black demonstrator, Toyin Agbetu of the African rights organisation Ligali, was only a dozen feet from all of them, with apparently no security guards to block him.

The Archbishop had just delivered his main address and the service had moved on to "confession and absolution". But the reading was stopped in its tracks by Mr Agbetu's outburst: "You should be ashamed. We should not be here. This is an insult to us. I want all the Christians who are Africans to walk out of here with me!"

In a deeply worrying sign in this supposedly terrorist-conscious era, the security guards near my seat were so utterly surprised that they only looked at each other, uncertain whether to intervene. Finally, they did. Seven guards and two ushers gathered around Mr Agbetu and a hand was placed on his arm.

"Let go of me!" he yelled, raising his arms like a suspect confronted by armed police. "I have no weapon! I have no weapon!"

The Queen, on a raised platform and out of Mr Agbetu's immediate reach, watched with pursed lips. The Duke of Edinburgh frowned. Neither seemed frightened for their safety. In the pews, Mr Blair watched with dismay as if already preparing a speech about this "regrettable incident". Mr Brown, whose eyes had been sleepy, was jolted awake. Kwame Kwei-Armah, the actor and writer, dressed in a glittering golden African robe, watched with sorrow in his eyes.

The more that the security men tried to manhandle Mr Agbetu, the more he resisted. Suddenly the interruption turned serious. There were pushes and shoves, even punches. Twice Agbetu and several bodies went crashing into the knees of appalled guests, who were wearing their smartest suits and dresses. All the while Mr Agbetu's bellowing was drowning out the now superfluous service, which had tried to resume.

By now many guests and journalists around me were on their feet, straining to look. There was a sense of danger and drama. It was clear Mr Agbetu would not go quietly. Possibly not without a fight.

After what seemed an eternity, Mr Agbetu was shuffled towards the quire, in the direction of the exit. But he pointed at the Queen and yelled: "You, the Queen, should be ashamed!" The monarch did her national duty by remaining icy calm.

Mr Agbetu was now directly beneath the prime minister. He turned to face him and Mr Blair glared back. The thousands of guests watched in hushed anticipation, wondering what would come next, wondering if Mr Agbetu might even leap on him. Instead the protester screamed: "You should say sorry!"

Mr Agbetu continued walking and shuffling, still resisting the hands being placed on him, still shouting his dissent. Hundreds more guests in the nave got to witness the spectacle. The abbey's ushers still looked unsure quite how to handle him. Finally, outside the building, Mr Agbetu was not bundled away as might be expected. Instead, he gave an impromptu press conference.

"I had always planned to make this demonstration," he said. "The Queen has to say sorry. It was Elizabeth I. She commanded John Hawkins to take his ship. The monarch and the government and the church are all in there patting themselves on the back."

Finally, two police officers took him away for questioning. The service continued to the end but the sepulchral calm had gone. When the guests emerged they were not talking about William Wilberforce.


Scott said...

Civilisation takes time to stick, evidently.

Younghusband said...

I was shocked when I read this. According to a witness who saw the horrid incident as he stood behind Poet's corner,
"In a deeply worrying sign in this supposedly terrorist-conscious era, the security guards near my seat were so utterly surprised that they only looked at each other, uncertain whether to intervene. Finally, they did. Seven guards and two ushers gathered around Mr Agbetu and a hand was placed on his arm."
Could it be thus that the British were so surprised at Iranian perfidy that they were too shocked to make any protest as their impotence left 15 captured?

redtown said...

If this clown spent as much time protesting the slavery that still exists today -- in Africa and among Muslims -- he might actually accomplish something. But it's much easier to blame Europe and America for historical slavery than to confront the actual (Third World) practitioners of slavery today.

Beaverbrook said...

This is my favourite:

"The monarch did her national duty by remaining icy calm."

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

It was amusing to watch on television.

He evidently was happy to ignore the involvement of plenty of African kings and chiefs in the slave trade.

Anonymous said...

I think Elizabeth should apologize for her misdeed, although it may be a bit much to ask of the poor woman, being as she is, what, around 470 years old? I'm surprised she was able to make it out to the ceremony, let alone maintain such an "icy calm". Remarkable. Good old Queen Bess. What a lady.


Anonymous said...

What "misdeed" did the Queen do for which she should apologize? What on earth are you talking about?

Wellington said...

I do believe Burton was being facetious. Can't you smell a tease when you hear it?

Cato, author of said...

As this nasty little man clearly believes that we are all responsbile as human beings for the sins of our long dead ancestors, I do hope that in 200 years time one of his descendants will feel ashamed enough to apologise to the monarch of the day for the appalling rudeness and stupidity of his/her disloyal ancestor.

Juan Tolentino said...

And what's really sad about this culture of the perpetual aggrieved is that it takes away attention from the /real/ victims of oppression and injustice in today's world.

It was rather amazing (and comforting) to see that everyone else tried to maintain decorum, at the least.

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

This apologising for historical events really is quote daft.

Anonymous said...

I confess. There was the faintest thread of facetiousness in my post.

Drat! Foiled again!


Anonymous said...

This bastard should have been taken outside and shot!!!!

How dare he speak to our queen in such a way!!!!!!

Andrew McIntyre said...

Redtown hit the nail on the head. These types bury their heads in the sand when it comes to modern injustice and dwell pathetically on the sins of yesteryear. We have similar issues in the US. Some black Americans, who have never been slaves, want to take money from white men who never owned slaves as "reparations" for past misdeeds. Nevermind, of course, that many of the forefathers of these white men fought a horrible civil war, my kin included, bleeding and dying on the battlefield, to free them.


Anonymous said...

This was pathetic. The politically correct are ruining so many nations. I showed this article to my friend, who's black, and he was REALLY pissed that the fellow had the audacity to do such thing.

Yes slavery was bad but it's gone and won't ever come back to the civilized world ever again.

LET IT GO. What happened in the past should stay in the past! I am a hispanic-american (specifically colombian) and it offends me that many hispanics from Central America and Puerto Rico in NYC bitch and complain about Spain's colonial expansion

@#$%-ing bastards. That's why South American's do not like caribbean hispanics.

Unrepentant Jacobite said...

That man should have never been allowed to disrupt that service. Wilberforce was a godly man who did his utmost to fight slavery.

Remember that many Irish and Scots were also made slaves and "indentured servants" by the Crown and Empire. Wilberforce also, in a certain sense, fought to free them too.

Shame on that protestor. God forgive such foulness.