The film “The Queen” neatly documents the inception of politics as hysteria management in the summer of 1997. First, there was the landslide Labour victory, a moment celebrated as one of great national liberation and hope. The mood fitted the season, it being May, the summer had started, and was yet young. To me though, it seemed that Labour had long since decided they would do anything to get elected, including selling their own political grandmother. It was a cheap victory, headed by a sanctificious smart arse.
Then in late August, there was the death of Diana. She had been, at the age of 37, near the end of her life’s natural summer. I was indifferent to her. I thought she was a bit weird, a posh oddball, quite like the rest of that class. Now she had had an early death, like many celebrities. The country, though, went bonkers. On the day of her funeral, it was as if London had undergone nuclear attack. There were few people around and they were hurried and subdued. I found the atmosphere chilling, befitting the end of summer.
The film makes out that Tony Blair forced or enabled the monarchy to deal in hysteria, to “bow to the mob”. From this point on, the monarchy, which represented stoicism, is in the hands of the masses, just another card in the hand of the mob-politician. Nine-eleven was only four years away, and the terror-war has been all about hysteria management.