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Friday, 4 April 2014

Visiting a deserving pensioner?

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/apr/03/queen-vatican-gifts-pope

Queen arrives in Vatican with gifts fit for a pope

 

 The Queen gave the Pope a huge hamper filled with goods from royal estates                               

 
The Queen, (that is to say Queen Elizabeth 2), arrived with a hamper full of "goodies" when visiting  Jorge Mario Bergoglio, a 78 year old pensioner, born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, but now living in modest city accommodation in Rome. Mr Bergoglio received the gift when being visited by the Queen and her husband the Duke of Edinburgh.
The hamper contained produce from the "Royal Estates" and included honey from Buckingham Palace gardens, whiskey from Balmoral and jams and chutney from Sandringham, one dozen eggs, assorted preserves, Coronation Best Bitter, a haunch of venison and even Cox's Apple juice amongst the contents of the very large wicker hamper.
I draw attention to this event, in order to highlight how crass and insensitive some civil servants (I assume that civil servants were involved) and those in government responsible for organising jollies such as this, can be when it comes to inappropriate or just plain wrong selection of "gifts" to present to foreign dignitaries.
In these times of austerity within the United Kingdom, these times of cuts to government expenditure, cuts to  welfare payments, restrictions on social improvements, rising costs for food energy, and other household expenditure, it can never be appropriate for such indulgences to be thrown in the face of the ordinary people of a country who are often struggling to stretch their limited budgets to reach the end of each month. It is even less acceptable, when the television and other media report the exchange of such gifts with enthusiasm, joy and  unconcealed admiration for the monarchy.
Today, in the United Kingdom, in the first quarter of the 21st century, there are at least 700,000 people in this country who are reliant on Foodbanks and other such charities to feed their families every day. This figure will grow to over 1 million people by the end of this year. 
Following this trip to Rome, shall we see some member of the Royal family delivering hampers to the Foodbanks around Windsor, Slough, Uxbridge, Staines or any of the other places around the country, with each hamper having the content as given to pensioner  Jorge Mario Bergoglio yesterday? Somehow, I think not, but one hamper for each family registered at every Foodbank in the country would make a significant difference.
Perhaps those civil servants, government officials and other advisers responsible for arranging such things, should give very careful consideration to the effects that their intentions to achieve more popularity for monarchy and the concept of monarchy, will actually have on the population of the country.
Perhaps pensioner Jorge Mario Bergoglio, will thoroughly enjoy his venison, washed down with some Coronation Bitter or some cider, and presumably finished off with a large Whiskey as he settles down for an evening with Rai News24.
No doubt that will give some comfort to those waiting in line at their local foodbank.