William and Kate: not everyone’s rejoicing
Applications for street party permits still way behind expectations
With three weeks to go before the London wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, there is a growing realisation that not everyone in Britain is that bothered.
Despite the best efforts of the royalist press to convince us otherwise, the notion that Friday, April 29 should be an excuse for street parties and general rejoicing appears to have fallen on deaf ears – especially outside the South and the Home Counties.
Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha may be rushing home from the wedding at Westminster Abbey to hold their own street party in Downing Street, but a recent survey has revealed that only five per cent of British people are planning to attend a street party. Eighty-three per cent say they will be doing nothing at all.
Councils across the country are reporting a lower number of applications for street parties than expected, with the North and the Midlands showing a particular lack of interest.
Liverpool had to extend its deadline after receiving just four applications. It has now had a further six requests. Manchester and Newcastle have received 15 applications each. Leeds has had 14, Birmingham a mere 12.
This pales in comparison to Bristol, which has received 53 applications, whilst the home counties such as Essex and Kent have had 63 and 85 road closure requests respectively. The most impressive figure comes courtesy of Hertfordshire, which is processing a massive 298 applications.
The Daily Mail has pinned the blame on "council kill-joys" for ignoring communities secretary Eric Pickles's attempts to cut the "barrage" of red tape. Instead, they have asked residents to contribute to the cost of street parties.
The Daily Telegraph took a similar approach, bemoaning the fact that certain councils had been "flouting" ministers' entreaties, which had probably led to "dozens of communities" being put off.
Graham Smith, from anti-royalist organisation Republic, insists the papers are wrong and that what we are seeing is evidence that the "royals aren't relevant".
"People don't pay much attention to them, and they really don't care about the royal wedding," he told The First Post. "They've got an extra day off and they're going to do something fun, not something contrived. Why would they have a street party with neighbours they don't know?" ·
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