THE past 11 days have seen the UK presented to the world in a single narrative – about a single event.

This time of history, superlatives and endless hyperbole – with an occasional insight and pearl of wisdom – tells us something about the state of Britain, its official story, and offers some pointers for the future.

Lindsay Hoyle, Speaker of the House of Commons, declared the Queen’s funeral “the most important event the world will ever see”. Elite political debate has ceased, with Labour posted missing in action. As the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg stated on Sunday, “politics has pretty much been suspended for now”, proceeding to offer an hour of little politics and journalism.

An alarmist, intolerant, siren voice of the right-wing is hunting for treachery and for those not signed up to a singular national mood. Armchair generals of the right wailed at the New York Times for daring to print a different take – including covering the enormous wealth of Charles. Neo-con Douglas Murray called this “a jihad’ against Elizabeth and the UK.

Andrew Neil said that recent events showed that those who wrote the UK off were wrong: “This week proved Britain isn’t the declining power the liberal elite portray us as.” He went on to claim that the Queen’s death in Scotland has helped secure the Union: “By dying in Balmoral, the Queen reminded Scots they are not just some remote outpost of the Union, but an integral part. It was, unwittingly or not, her last (and lasting) gift to the Union.”

Part of the right – as elsewhere in the world – have given up on democracy. Richard Tice, head of Reform UK (formerly the Brexit Party), reflected in the last few days on the professionalism of the British military. This led him to wonder if there was a wider lesson: “Our military are superb at processions, ceremonies, with foot perfect, split-second timing and logistics. Perhaps they should run: NHS, police, courts, border force, passports, DVLA, trains, water, energy.”

READ MORE: Scottish care home residents sing Flower of Scotland amid the Queen's Funeral

There is a strange dynamic on the right, whilst being so dominant electorally and intellectually in the UK these past four decades they frequently pose as victims of the omnipotent “liberal elite”. This supposedly invincible force – from its citadels in the BBC, universities, civil service and churches – is allegedly waging neverending war against tradition and decency in favour of the “woke” liberal-left.

This twisted logic absolves the Tories from any responsibility for the unhappy state of the UK they have created. Robert Colville, head of the Thatcherite Centre for Policy Studies, conceded the bankruptcy of Conservatism and that on existing trends the UK would soon be poorer than Poland, writing in the Sunday Times: “Britain’s people are leading poorer, meaner lives than they should and could – especially our young people, who have been subjected to a relentless battering.”

Over the late Queen’s 70 years the UK has been governed for 46 years (66%) by Tory governments. The same period saw 11 Tory, of 15, UK PMs (73%); only two Labour leaders over 70 years ever won an election – Harold Wilson and Tony Blair.

The pattern of Tory dominance has become even more pronounced in recent decades with 30 of the past 43 years (70%) witnessing Tory governments. All this without touching on the economic and ideological dominance of UK politics by the right in recent times, including Labour in office under Blair and Brown.

In the past 11 days, the continuous representation of the royal story has been attempting to forge in a moment of flux and ongoing crisis a national consensus and rebuild and restate a singular national mood.

There is an obvious element of authoritarianism and intolerance, with the creation of a set of boundaries of who is in and out of this national community. There is an “us” of patriots who are royal loving, and a “them” who are unpatriotic and republican.

It does not take much to see this divide extrapolated into a bitter “culture war” language led by the right-wing press to offer cover for Liz Truss as an economic tsunami hits millions, while they cut the taxes of the rich and uncap banker bonuses. The academic Stephen Reicher observed: “What makes this exercise so effective is that a loyalist and deferential version of Britishness is not simply imposed on us from the top.”

This cover of monarchy combines the credo of continuity and change, Tom Nairn’s “glamour of backwardness” and the rhetoric of modernisation. Historian David Cannadine observed that while the royal family “legitimates the status quo”, it also remains true that “during the past 200 years or so, the status quo has itself changed profoundly and the public, ceremonial image of the monarchy has changed along with it.”

Writing in 1983, Cannadine imagined a UK where “the next coronation takes place without a House of Lords, a Commonwealth or an established church”, but many things would remain the same: “the role of the ceremonial in creating the comforting picture of stability, tradition and continuity will only be further enhanced.”

The Lords will not be abolished in time for next year’s coronation, but the point remains that as the UK increasingly changes and the old anchor points weaken, so the drive for ceremony, ritual and occasion on the terms of the establishment increases.

“Power in this old country still flows from the top” wrote Neal Ascherson in The Atlantic. The 1688 “glorious revolution” much cited of late replaced royal absolutism and “the divine right of kings” with parliamentary absolutism and parliamentary sovereignty. This meant that Enlightenment ideas of the people and popular sovereignty bypassed Britain and its “English Constitution” and are regarded as alien to this day.

This leaves the UK in a state of undemocracy. First, the actual Crown has multiple legal, financial and constitutional opt-outs and privileges, alongside an industrial scale exemption from laws with impact on royal incomes, estates and enterprises.

Second, if this were not enough, the Crown remains the symbolic source of power used to enact substantive political power by the executive to hide it behind a cloak of secrecy free from accountability and scrutiny.

There is a sense that the Queen, as Andrew Rawnsley observed, did her job too well keeping a host of illusions and delusions alive: “I wonder whether she was a bit too good at providing camouflage for the challenges facing Britain by being such a source of comfort and object of pride for a country in relative decline.”

These past few days, as well as revealing widespread genuine affection for the person who was Elizabeth and thanks for decades of public duty, have shown a concerted establishment operation to reconstruct and validate an official story of Britain where, despite everything, it is supposedly going to be alright.

Never mind economic decline, Brexit self-harm, and that the UK is one of the most unequal countries in the developed world. Put to the back of your mind that, while this is a wonderful country to be uber-rich in, it is a harsh, uncompassionate country in which to be poor and disadvantaged – with poor people in Ireland or Slovenia in an increasingly better position.

Britain’s official story and the vision of the future it offers its non-citizens is increasingly grim and without much hope and light. Hence all the diversions. It is proper to respect and honour the genuine emotions in play but we need to see what they are being appropriated for – and see this threadbare, deceitful and dishonest account of Britain for what it is, challenge it and overthrow it for good.