Stop pandering to the privileged elite

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In response to my FOI detailing the extraordinary costs to Sheffield’s tax payers of the Queen’s visit, James Mitchinson’s editorial (May 2, 2015) still proclaims that: “The Queen is worth the cost to the city”. Really!?

If the old Queen is as ‘much loved’ as James argues (along with the council’s wealthy apparatchiks) why did 98 per cent of Sheffielders NOT show up to see it? While some people did stop and look at a bit of pageantry, we don’t know how they really felt, we can’t read their minds after all? But I wonder how they’d have reacted if someone had presented the bill to them (one in excess of £100,000 with ‘policing’ cost) and said that the council hadn’t asked anyone in the community before arranging it?

Even on the council’s inflated ‘attendance figures’ it equates to a subsidy of more than £8.30 per onlooker. One wonders if some rotten fruit wouldn’t have been chucked?

What’s also galling is HOW the money was spent, including £1,000 on ‘invite cards’; £500 on ‘menus’ alone, £1,400 on ‘badges’, I could go on. No expense was spared for one of the richest women in the world, all by a council that says it desperately needs more money for front-line services and hikes council tax by 2 per cent

James says the visit was ‘positive for the city’, but this is a meaningless statement. Are we really trying to impress a Queen who spends her days in palaces, owns priceless jewels and large parts of the country? The only coverage the event got was from local media, national media only show up to report if something ‘untoward’ happens.

Finally, James says the Queen is a ‘great monarch’. Really? The Queen is a controversial figure because she advocates (ie she has not abdicated) and embodies hereditary privilege, which is the opposite of a meritocracy. Unlike Sheffield City Council, and James, I want to live in a city that stands up for a society where everyone has an equal chance in life, irrespective of whom they are born to. I also dream of a time when our leaders (and newspaper editors) stop pandering to privileged elites and put the interests (and pockets) of ordinary people first. I’m still waiting for that day...

Chris Williams

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