FYI.

This story is over 5 years old.

Money

The Queen Is an Inspiration to All of Us

Because she's still working at 90, like we're all going to be.
Simon Childs
London, GB
April 22, 2016, 1:50pm

The Queen celebrating her 90th birthday (Photo by Chris Bethell)

A weekly column about how young people are totally fucked lol.

There's something about walking into a stuffy office on a gorgeous spring day and that makes you think about how short life is. How many more cloudless days where the temperature seems just perfect and the sun makes grimy streets look like paradise will happen in my lifespan? Could I actually count them if I tried? And can I count the number of those days that I will take full advantage of by spending entirely in a pub garden or lying in a park? I don't know but it's certainly not enough. If Victoria Wood dies at 62 on the same day you're having these thoughts then you're really staring down the barrel of a quarter-life crisis.

Advertisement

On the other hand, the Queen's life has been pretty long, as we have been extensively reminded this week. The media took the opportunity of her Maj's 90th birthday to congratulate her on having lived for ages. The go-to reply for monarchy-haters is that of course you live for ages if you're a human parasite with a huge number of servants tending to your every wish and you've never had to do a day's work in your life. It's a criticism the royals are clearly keenly aware of, with Prince William speaking out against claims that he is "lazy" this week.

The royals are a emblem of ancient, hereditary privilege based on ideas of divine ordination that must be destroyed, obviously, but let's be real for a second. If I'm still here at I'm 90 I would hope not to be answering correspondence from government ministers, having audiences with people and going on stage for managed meet'n'greets. This isn't really hard work like cleaning antiques in one of the royal palaces, for which workers seem to be paid pretty badly, but for a nonagenarian, the Queen puts in quite a shift.

There was a whole undertone to the gushing over the Queen that I found way more sinister than the idea of a lazy monarch being fed grapes on a chaise longue. She's an example to us all, we're told, because even at 90 she's still at work. In Cameron's Britain, even the royal family has to be a hardworking family. Given that the age at which you get to stop working before you can get a pension seems to be creeping ever upwards, meaning we too will have to work when we're tired and grey and probably deserve a rest, she's a true inspiration. She's the Best of British and there's no escape but death.

Advertisement

§

Birthday cake for the Queen, champagne for your landlord. A press release landed in my inbox saying current buy-to-let landlords are feeling the financial boost from a hike on stamp duty that was intended to clamp down on buy-to-let landlords. There was a scramble to buy properties before that hike came in, which boosted property values, benefitting people who already owned property that they were renting out. Your landlord is likely to be rolling in their highest annual return since November 2014. Rents are up 3 percent over the last year, and the number of renters in arrears rose from 8.8 percent last month to 9.1 percent this month. Seems like even when the government tries to clamp down on landlords, it's generation rent that gets fucked.

§

Fortunately, however, someone is doing something about the housing crisis: letting agents. Agents are very alive to the issue of the exploding number of people needing to claim housing benefit as rents become ever less affordable. They're responding to this growing issue by not letting homes to those who claim benefits, only accepting offers from the diminishing number who can independently afford it. Digs, a housing activism group, is responding to this by launching a blacklist of letting agents who don't let to benefits claimants. They say they mystery-shopped 50 letting agents in Hackney, east London, and found 22 agents who didn't let to people on housing benefit. In all the calls they made, they only found one property available to benefits claimants. They're launching the list on Saturday and will be visiting blacklisted agents. Already, one letting agent has said they'll change their practices in light of this.

Advertisement

@SimonChilds13

More from VICE:

First We Bailed Out Coutts, Then They Helped People Dodge Tax, Now We're Paying Their Fines

How PR Can Be Weaponised By Dissenters and Outsiders

Heckling Property Sharks at Their Awards Party Was Strangely Depressing