So, no beer to be served at this wedding on Friday. The news from Buck House has inflamed the UK beer wires, Pete Brown leading the way with this wonderfully controlled polemic and call for action to protest the snubbing of The Nation's Drink.
But is it so shocking? I mean, the evidence appears to support the idea that The Establishment hate beer and beer drinkers. The medical "profession" can smell blood after getting their way with a smoking ban, the meejah use beer to illustrate stories of alleged drink-fuelled disorder and health problems; governments use it as a cash cow to top up the kitty to pay for military adventurism and royal weddings. And what is beer? It's a shorthand for the working classes and underclass, and the people who run this country despise the working classes.
People who drink beer are, the message says, unsophisticated, uneducated, violent, fat and feckless. Wine drinkers are sophisticated, wealthy, worldly, and upwardly mobile, even if this sophistication was acquired by no more than reading the Observer colour supplement. Everything we do, every action is decoded to reveal the way we live, the way we think. Beer drinkers must pull themselves up by their bootstraps, leave behind their council estates and elevate their perspective, but until then they'll be left to fester until the days when, like Orwell's proles, they respond to the appeal to primitive patriotism. Like now. Animals and proles are free, indeed.
So, even though it sometimes suits the Establishment to portray our royal family as useful in selling the Best Of British, even though brewing is an industry of which the country can be justifiably proud, beer will be off the menu. Most people won't care - they've been whipped up into a patriotic mass orgasm by the red tops, with cheap 3 for £18 cases of lager lubricating street parties until it comes to the time to toast the nuptial couple, by which time some cheap supermarket fizz will be produced. Toast them with beer? Disrespectful! Laughable, when hard-working and innovative entrepreneurs have reinvigorated our National Drink. That's the real disrespect.
But should we be upset? Like their continental relatives, the rump of now-irrelevant European royalty, the minor members are eurotrash hobnobbing with each other and the pick of New Money they can be bothered to acknowledge, celebrities synonymous with the other purveyors of New Opium, like the Beckhams, Elton John and, erm... Jordan. Apart from the heir to the throne, they are pretty much free to do as they please. Never mind All In This Together, it remains, as it must, Us And Them.
So let them swill their wine, secure in the 'appropriateness' of the occasion, the symbolism and their smug pampered lives. I'll be at Brodie's Bunny Basher on Sunday, hopefully drinking Revolution Red and Noisome Cru. Come say hullo and I'll buy you a half...
FREEDOM FOR TOOTING!