Ahead of the Diamond Jubilee weekend, republicans like myself are having to withstand the tide of royalist propaganda and merchandise rolling over us.
I can understand the royalist hoopla on a number of levels: people who don't really care about the Jubilee but see it as an opportunity for a party; those who see it as a community thing that it would be churlish not to take part it; the idea that royalty is part of Britain's national identity in the same way as football, a cup of tea or a pint of beer. The Royal Family has also become a soap opera, its members part of a hollow celebrity culture. For shops and other businesses, the Jubilee is simply a means to increase sales, no different from the World Cup or X Factor.
What I really can't understand are the royalist fanatics who plaster every inch of their homes in tat and, like the cafe owner in County Durham, have no time for republican dissent. That kind of delusion is on a par with people who think they're Napoleon.