CONSERVATIVE MPs seem to live in some alternate reality where Britannia still rules the waves instead of waiving the rules, and the hearts of everyone in the UK swell with pride whenever Nicholas Witchell appears on the BBC news to gush over the latest inconsequence from the wastes of space of the Windsor clan. 

It's a parallel universe where the opening bars of the dirge that is God Save the Queen cause the inhabitants of these islands to jump immediately to attention with a tear in their eye as they reflect upon how marvellous it is to be British, and how blessed we are not to be one of those lesser breeds cursed with the scourge of parochial nationalism.

This can be the only explanation for why Conservative politicians are determined to foist as much union-jackery, god-saving-the-queenery and royalist sycophancy upon us as possible, whether we want it or not. These are the same Tories who believe that the reason why so many people are losing faith in the institutions of the UK is not because of the corrupt and entitled behaviour of Conservative politicians. It's not because of the harmful and destructive deceptions and lies of Brexit. It's not because we can all see through the pathetic delusions of British exceptionalism. It's not because we are revolted by the racism and reactionary xenophobia of modern Anglo-British nationalism. It's certainly not because of the sickening privilege and rank hypocrisy of members of the royal family.

The National: Tory minister Chris PhilpTory minister Chris Philp

Oh no, according to the Conservatives, the real reason that there is a widespread crisis of public confidence in the institutions of the British state is because we're not getting enough Union flags and compulsory national anthems. This must be why culture minister Chris Philp, a man who thinks that if you stick a photo of Prince Andrew on a pot of strawberry yoghurt it would make people appreciate him as a beloved living culture, wants God Save the Queen to be played more frequently by the BBC and other public broadcasters.

Philp told MPs, "the more we hear the national anthem sung, frankly, the better," in response to a question from swivel-eyed Brextremist Andrew Rosindell, the Tory MP for Romford in Essex, who had asked whether ministers, "would take steps to encourage public broadcasters to play the national anthem and ensure the BBC restores it at the end of the day’s programming before it switches to News 24?"

Readers of a certain age may remember a time when cinemas played God Save the Queen at the end of the feature as the lights came up. This invariably provoked a mad dash for the exit before the dreaded tune started and some mad monarchist stood to attention and blocked the aisle, much to the audible annoyance of everyone else who was rushing to catch a bus or a train.

Far from promoting pride in being British, all this irritating ritual created was a fire hazard, and it was eventually quietly dropped in 1974 after the Health & Safety at Work Act became law and placed a protective obligation on those who ran businesses. Playing the anthem to encourage the rapid evacuation of the cinema was regarded as too risky to continue for fear of prosecution if anyone was trampled. 

Likewise prior to the advent of 24-hour broadcasting, the BBC used to play God Save the Queen at the end of the day's programming. It served as a useful prompt to turn off the telly as quickly as possible before the even more annoying beeeeeeep noise started, although opinions varied about which of the two examples of noise pollution was more offensive to the ears.   

Tory MPs are deluding themselves if they think that force feeding us God Save the Queen is going to do anything other than make us reach for the mute button on the TV remote control as quickly as possible, and feed our growing resentment at the UK's descent into regressive and parochial Anglo-British nationalism.

This piece is an extract from today’s REAL Scottish Politics newsletter, which is emailed out at 7pm every weekday with a round-up of the day's top stories and exclusive analysis from the Wee Ginger Dug.

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