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Subjects and Subjugation
Byline Times' Editor Hardeep Matharu looks beyond the glitz of the Coronation to the far darker realities of modern Britain
Byline Times’ June print newspaper explores the tale of two Britains in 2023. One in which a couple in their 70s are revered for their accidents of birth; awkwardly wearing magnificent crowns and waving at their subjects through a gold carriage. The other is where most other people live, trying to navigate a challenging economic situation; crumbling public services; while feeling completely disillusioned from a politics they believe speaks to them in no way.
The contrast of the Coronation of King Charles in the middle of a cost of living crisis was not the only paradox. So was the Crown and the Clampdown – the arrests of those peacefully protesting (or not) against monarchy as the opulent ceremony was unfolding in the capital; the voters turned away from polling stations in England’s local elections just days before King Edward’s crown was placed on Charles’ head; and the concerning strain of ‘National Conservatism’ now openly seeping into the UK’s Conservative Party – going beyond right-wing ‘anti-woke’ narratives of late in an all too worrying direction towards ‘nation, flag and family’.
The heart of Byline Times is exploring the structural issues that the established press doesn’t have the time or inclination to, and joining the dots on why things are happening and why they matter – so this latest edition is packed with reports and analysis shedding light on what the Coronation of King Charles says about modern Britain.
Journalist Mic Wright pens a piece on his 18 hours in a police station in Elephant and Castle, reporting on the arrests of people peacefully going about their business on Coronation day. While Jonathan Lis sets out why it was a ‘spectacle of apathy’; and royal writer Andrew Lownie argues for the culture of secrecy around the royals to end. As is now tradition, Otto English made the trip into town just for Byline Times readers – as usual, he didn’t mince his words (although he did quite enjoy the banter on The Mall, despite himself).
Josiah Mortimer has a special report on voter ID and the early indications of its negative impact in the recent local elections. The implementation of the policy is all the more shocking in the wake of candid remarks by former Cabinet minister Jacob Rees-Mogg, who claimed that it was an attempt by the Government to ‘gerrymander’ elections in favour of the Conservatives. Will anything happen? Don’t hold your breath.
We also welcome the launch of Sonia Purnell’s new regular column in the June edition, ‘Purnell’s Perspectives’. The award-winning writer and journalist and Boris Johnson’s biographer (she was his one-time colleague at the Telegraph back in the day) will be providing her insights by holding up a mirror to modern Britain. This time, she delves into the madness of no political party appealing to younger generations completely at a loss at the hand they have been dealt.
The incomparable Bonnie Greer is back in the pages of Byline Times for this edition, explaining how America’s obsession with guns is a foundational basis of the American republic. Meanwhile, Nafeez Ahmed has a cracking essay on why AI won’t be taking over from human intelligence just yet, despite all the chatter to the contrary…
Bonnie and Nafeez join our regular columnists Peter Oborne, Chris Grey, Alexandra Hall Hall, CJ Werleman, Helen Belcher, Penny Pepper, John Mitchinson and Peter York – and many other reporters and contributors.
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