Queen Elizabeth has reigned over Great Britain and the Commonwealth since 1953. The Queen celebrated the Diamond Jubilee of her coronation in June 2013 and on April 21 this year, Queen Elizabeth will turn 90-years-old. According to the Telegraph, a new website called “Clean For The Queen” has been launched, which urges Britons to clean up Britain’s litter in honor of the Queens forthcoming birthday. At first glance one might think that this is a laudable aim, but it seems that not everyone agrees. In fact, you might say that the peasants are revolting and the Queen is firmly in the firing line.
Adrian Evans, the chief executive of the “Clean for the Queen” campaign has warned that littering has become so commonplace in Britain that some people think it is their “human right” to drop rubbish.
There is no questioning that littering is a problem in the U.K., just take a look at the mess left behind by festival goers at Glastonbury and Reading music festivals and you begin to understand why it costs local authorities around £1 billion a year to clear an estimated 100 million tons of rubbish from the U.K. streets each year.
Revellers begin to head home through a sea of rubbish near the Pyramid Stage as Glastonbury Festival comes to an end pic.twitter.com/Oee7qn3VXA
— lama (@drolma_tibet) July 6, 2015
The Guardian reports that the U.K. government’s communities minister Marcus Jones has thrown his weight behind the Clean For The Queen campaign saying that he wanted to hit litter bugs in their pocket as he promised a new strategy to “create a lasting clutter-free legacy for England.” Jones intends to hike fines for dropping litter to around $250.
The Clean For The Queen campaign say that when Queen Elizabeth came to the throne litter was not the problem it is today. They ask people to honor the Queen’s service to the country by engaging in a national clean-up over the weekend March 4th, 5th and 6th 2016.
The problem is that by linking the anti-litter campaign to Queen Elizabeth the campaigners have unleashed a totally unanticipated whirlwind and the hashtag #CleanForTheQueen has been trending on Twitter for most of the day. Doubtless Queen Elizabeth would be far from amused to see some of the comments most of which have been very negative.
Some Twitter users have used the hashtag to highlight the continued class inequality in U.K society by suggesting that Queen Elizabeth wants her “minions” to have “those streets sparkling so that she can ride in her golden carriage.”
— Celestine (@CelestineBee) January 2, 2016
Others suggested that Queen Elizabeth “has been cleaning up for the last 90-years” implying that the Queen is a drain on the U.K.’s public purse.
— Jenny (@rustyrockette) January 2, 2016
A lot of the negativity about the Clean For The Queen campaign is linked straight back to Queen Elizabeth’s failure to pay her own cleaning staff a living wage. Back in 2012, the Guardian reported that Queen Elizabeth’s cleaning staff were paid the not so princely sum of £6.67 [$9.85] per hour. The living wage in London at that time was calculated at £8.55 [$13] an hour.
The Clean For The Queen campaign aims to inspire 1 million Britons to get involved in a weekend of litter picking so that they can present “a gift” of a clean and tidy country to the Queen in time for her birthday. It seems that many people think that the Clean For The Queen campaign is ill-judged and patronising.
#CleanForTheQueen I always bin my trash but THIS patronising piss makes me want to empty my wheelie bin out on the street ????
— Carolyn Wilson (@samlovesalfie) January 2, 2016
Many people are asking why on earth people should clean-up in the name of a Queen who fails to pay her own staff a living wage? In modern Britain many people believe that Queen Elizabeth and the royal family illustrates the divisions in the U.K.’s class system and that nothing shows the gap between rich and poor in more starkly.
What do you think of the Clean For The Queen campaign? If you are in the U.K. will you take part?
[Photo by: KGC-375/STAR MAX/IPx/AP]