Earlier this week, when Boris Johnson requested the Queen’s permission to suspend Parliament, effectively forcing through a no-deal Brexit, many hoped that the monarch would say no. That she’d sass the Prime Minister with a strategically chosen brooch and everything would be fine again. According to royal insiders, she had even “expressed her disappointment at the current political class.” For a moment, it seemed like old Liz was on the brink of putting her foot down.
Sadly, the Queen only serves two purposes. The first is tourism – she makes Britain seem like a quaint fairytale land, despite our constipated emotions and love of the sesh. The second has something to do protecting swans. One thing the British monarch evidently refuses to do, however, is intervene in politics. Amid cries of “constitutional outrage” from Speaker John Bercow and countless others, the Queen approved Johnson’s request to suspend Parliament from her Balmoral residence on Wednesday. It bears reiterating: the Queen will not save you.
Some people on Twitter suggested that we roll back the clock a few hundred years or so, to a time when monarchs were beheaded when the public weren't happy with their actions. We asked some people on the street what they think about that.
VICE: Hey Ricky. Should we behead the Queen?
Ricky: I don’t have much to say about that. I think you’ve picked the wrong guy, I’m sorry.
How do you feel about the monarchy generally?
I don’t really like the monarchy. I think it’s useless but I find it quite charming in a sense, so I’m a bit split, I suppose.
Do you think that her not telling Boris to fuck off ruins that charm?
Yeah, it just shows you how weak she is. It’s sad, she’s lost so much power. I don’t think she had much of a choice, you know. I don’t think she could have put her foot down. But I reckon this has changed the way that people view her.
And we shouldn’t behead her?
No, I still love the Queen. Even if she’s useless, I think she’s really cute.
VICE: Should we behead the Queen?
Jay: My only rule is that anarchy is love. I don’t need anyone else’s permission to shine brighter. Life’s too short, we’re just fleeting stars passing through in the moment.
So, how do you feel about the monarchy?
They’re part of the nepotistic oligarchy that decides everything for everyone, control the media, manipulate all the law firms. The tax man and the Queen. All those family names that are the privileged few. They’re haters. There are a lot of people in the grind that don’t want to be in it. They’re all fall guys – even Donald Trump’s a fall guy, a wealthy one, he’s a corporate gangster as well, which I guess gives him a little bit of muscle and power but he doesn’t have the power. We do, we just never exercise it together.
So, you think we should have an uprising?
We could. If masses of people said ‘I’m not paying a TV license,’ we would win in the courtroom. In my world, I would have a self-governing, non-nepotistic society.
ALISON, 52 AND DOMINIQUE, 21
VICE: Should we behead the Queen?
Alison: I think she’s still a national icon and relevant to Britain, while she [Dominique] is totally for getting rid of her.
Dominique: One-hundred percent. There are people dying on the streets and we’re still funding a family as a tourist attraction. Buckingham Palace is a tourist attraction and I’m fine with keeping historical buildings, but the people are a waste of money. The older I get, the more that the planet is dying and more people are dying. I cannot fathom why we are still funding a monarchy that have no purpose at all.
Alison: I see what she’s saying, we do spend money when we can’t afford to but I think monarchy is part of what makes Britain British. There could be a compromise.
Dominique: Okay, just keep the one person.
Alison: Because it is such a tetchy area, we don’t question it as much as we could or should.
So, yes or no: should we behead the Queen?
Dominique: Absolutely not, she’s still a cute little old lady.
Were you disappointed that she gave Boris Johnson permission to suspend Parliament?
Alison: Her hands are completely tied. if she said no to Boris we’d be in uproar, we’d say, ‘You’re the Queen, you have no right to be involved in our politics.’ But at the same time, maybe someone does need to take a stand against this, because there was no democracy in that decision.
Dominique: Although it’s ridiculous that Parliament’s being suspended, it’s not the Queen’s place to say you can’t do it.
Alison: But we still can’t behead her
Dominique: We still can’t! She can live! I feel somewhat sorry for her. We have no idea what she actually feels.
VICE: So, my question is about the monarchy.
Joma: I’m from Scotland, we don’t always have the greatest opinion on the monarchy.
Great! Should we behead the Queen?
Literally or metaphorically?
Literally no, metaphorically maybe. We could remove her as head of state.
How long have you held that opinion?
As long as I was educated enough to speak. In a Scot’s opinion, the Queen and the Tory party go hand in hand.
Do you think she has much political power?
She does have political power, she just chooses not to exercise it. Technically, legally, she could go out right now and murder someone, then not be charged.
If you were her, would you have given Boris Johnson permission to shut down Parliament?
No, because the reaction she’s had from giving him permission is much worse than it would have been if she didn’t.
VICE: Hi Sophie. Should we behead the Queen?
Sophie: I mean, it was a dick move but beheading may be a bit far.
So we don’t need our own French Revolution?
I don’t think it needs to be that extreme
Would you have made the same decision as her?
No, I don’t agree with what she did, I think she did the more controversial thing. I just don’t think beheading is the answer.
You’re probably right.
VICE: Fiona, should we behead the Queen?
Fiona: Absolutely not. She hasn’t really done anything wrong in my opinion and if we behead her, it sets a precedent for other countries. Imagine if America, where I’m from, saw that.
They do have guns over there.
Guns, a ‘can do’ attitude. Why would you come up with that question in the first place? It’s sick.
Yeah, it is perhaps. It’s a French Revolution-inspired question
I think the way the French run the country is far better. Anyway, I’m not seeing a public uprising here, at least not from my point of view. I don’t think the British are about to have a revolution. It’s also in the past, so it’s easier to be on board with that.
Should we keep the Queen though?
Absolutely. You might not notice it when you’re living here but from the outside, I would say the royal family has a huge draw. People go crazy over it.
RICHARD, 37 and DONOVAN, 38
VICE: Should we behead the Queen?
Donovan: Because she’s useless.
Richard: Because she’s a human being.
Do you want to behead her because she gave Boris Johnson permission to suspend Parliament?
Donovan: I just don’t believe in monarchies. I believe we’re all equal
Richard: I believe we’re all equal, but she brings a lot of money into the country and I don’t think she’s really hurting anybody, so we should leave them to do what they’re doing. I don’t support them, I’m not sure they should exist but I don’t think they should be beheaded.
Why do you think you have a slightly stronger reaction against the queen Donovan?
Richard: It’s the French in him
Are you a bit French?
Donovan: I’ve got a bit of everything in me
You’re the only person to tell me we should behead her
Donovan: We should drink her blood too.
Part French, part vampire, it seems