The elephant in the room

In between receiving another letter reminding me of an unpaid bill, and me paying for childcare which I inexplicably cannot claim as a business expense, I cast my eye across the internet the other day, looking for some entertainment, some diversion or something to inspire me for this week’s Family Matters. Well I certainly found it when I clapped eyes on the most appalling photo of the Spanish monarch, Juan Carlos and a bloke in a safari outfit, both clutching guns and smugly posing in front of a recently shot elephant. How obscene.

Firstly I was sickened by their proud expressions as they stood in front of a corpse of one of the world’s most beautiful and revered animals slumped against a tree. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing? Which year are we in? Aren’t we asked to save these animals? I didn’t realise that we are saving these animals so that rich morons can kill them for fun. I mean, despite the Self Help proverb, you can’t actually, physically EAT an elephant can you? And how hard can it actually be to shoot one, given the size of the target I’d say that it was probably the safari version of shooting fish in a barrel. So, what is there to be proud of? Then I discover that Juan Carlos is the Honourary President of the World Wildlife Fund in Spain, and has been since 1968. (Clearly he was making sure we got busy saving rare and endangered species so that he would have something to kill on his holidays). Apparently, you can book these sort of holidays through El Corte Ingles, so I had a look; slaughter prices range from 100€ for a baboon to 75,000€ for an elephant. You couldn’t make it up. Stupid man.

But then a second wave of rage rushed through me. I’d never really thought of Spain as being a class driven society before, but then I recognised it as the same feeling I had had when the Countryside Alliance came to London en masse one day. There were Barbour jackets everywhere, which in itself wouldn’t have been a problem, welcome to my city everyone, please enjoy. But no, they just complained and whinged all the time, and loudly, about how dirty London was, or how expensive, or how this or how that. Their attitudes sucked. Hooray Henry snorting idiots giving tweed a bad name. The arrogance and high handedness of these people made me furious, and that is exactly how I felt when I saw the King in front of the elephant. And I’m not alone, all over Spain a tidal wave of disgusted opinion has turned against the royal family. It started with the Duke of Palma, who is the King’s son in law, facing allegations that he has stolen over 5€ million of public funds from a non-profit organisation. The King’s indirect response to this was to say that justice should be the same for everybody in his Christmas speech.  He also said recently that he was so worried about the employment situation in Spain that he was actually losing sleep, ah bless him. What Spain needs now is a hard working role model who is going to show the way and lead and inspire us to work our way out of the second recession we’ve experienced in the past three years (although some of us I know haven’t noticed we actually got out of the first one). Not some spoilt old man who has double standards and no actual grip on the situation that 95% of the population in Spain are currently living in. If Juan Carlos had squeaked ‘Let them eat cake’ out of the side of his mouth I wouldn’t have been surprised.

These people have got away with so many liberties over the years and even in one instance, committed a serious crime. But you can’t be angry at the King, he helped Spain move smoothly from Franco’s dictatorship to a democracy. So that gives him and his family a ‘get out of jail free’ card, and 8.2€ million a year from the public funds does it? Not anymore. Finally the Spanish media and the people have decided to notice the elephant in the room.

Printed in the Euro Weekly News on 19th April 2012

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