Jubilee celebrations in Ilfracombe - Credit: Allan Collins

OPINION: The Queen is the nation’s distant posh aunt playing peacemaker - Dave Griffin

Dave Griffin

In a process not dissimilar to a Kafkaesque metamorphosis, it has taken me some fifty years to emerge from my republican chrysalis and be transformed into a butterfly now tacitly accepting the monarchy.

The United Kingdom, by its very appellation, describes itself as four distinct nations represented by the crown.

I’ve become convinced the arrangement is a model of stability; it seems to function well. There is no movement to dislodge the Queen as head of state, and those who might actively engage in such a plot are in such a tiny minority that all might fit inside the average beach hut.

The Jubilee holiday was universally enjoyed and the nationwide tributes spectacular. Ilfracombe’s Fore Street Association threw a magnificent party for locals and holidaymakers applauding the occasion of Queen Elizabeth II’s platinum jubilee.

On the previous Friday, hundreds of thousands packed Pall Mall whilst millions watched the Trooping of the Colour on TV.

Once, I would have shut myself in a dark room to avoid all that flag-waving hullabaloo. But not so much now.

On the morning of the Queen’s official birthday, the Morning Star’s splash headline trumpeted that ‘The British state is hoping the jubilee will restore its legitimacy’.

In the same edition, the socialist newspaper’s sneering editorial gleefully proclaimed the ‘loss of prestige by the pillars of the ruling class’, launching into a rant suggesting that Elizabeth II is ‘stashing millions away in off-shore tax-havens’.

It blames all of Britain’s problems on an ‘establishment determined to crush working people’, implying that only Jeremy Corbyn’s immediate installation into No. 10 can rescue the nation.

So, how has the malign monarchist tyranny affected me, personally? Not a lot, actually.

With ear drops in, I didn’t hear the Jubilee Police hammering at 3am on my front door demanding why I hadn’t strung bunting across my garden, nor displayed Union flags in my windows.

Such is life in the risibly-named ‘democratic republics’ of the Congo and North Korea, so admired by the Morning Star.

Citizens are ‘encouraged’ to attend and cheer their tin-pot demagogues presiding over goose-stepping military parades of brainwashed conscripts.

In contrast for Britons, the Queen is the nation’s distant posh aunt playing peacemaker and unifier, and trusted more than any politician.

She shook the hand of IRA chief Martin McGuiness and has remained central to a post-empire Commonwealth in which one third of the planet’s population reside. In the fullness of time, we expect the coronation of Charles III.

As witnessed during the platinum jubilee parties, crowds will dance in the streets, rejoicing at their new King.

Thank heavens that in our mixed economy society, the only dawn-time rat-a-tat-tat is likely to be someone flogging double-glazing.

NHS Blues

Face masks were barely worn by the millions celebrating the Jubilee. The covid pandemic has now surely passed and the nation requires a ministerial decree ending the emergency.

During the episode it has been heresy to criticise the NHS. In 2020, each Thursday evening at 8pm, we clapped, banged drums and blew whistles for this citadel of benevolence, voicing our appreciation for doctors and nursing staff risking their lives to save patients on ventilators.

Today, however, a dehumanised NHS wants us to stay away from it, insisting upon telephone appointments which cannot possibly diagnosis serious ailments.

Patients calling hospitals and clinics are greeted by a firewall of synthetic and robotic announcements bleating the tiresome Covid-19 mantra before launching into another press-this, press-that, routine.

Pleeeeease reinstate switchboard operators! Those privileged with face-to-face appointments find themselves in healthcare centres stripped of humanity, with all the sanitised ambience of Porton Down.

No magazines, and every staff member’s face obscured by polypropylene. Meanwhile, the perpetually ‘extremely busy’ 111 non-emergency ‘service’ encourages callers to go on-line and face a mammoth box-ticking exercise.

Most give up. Though chronically underfunded, appointment letters are accompanied by wasteful pages of ‘covid advice’ alongside precautions we must take prior to attending. Does the NHS think we’re a bit of a nuisance?