60 Years and STILL Going Strong!
As a Liberal Democrat, there are those within my Party that favours a Republic and an elected Head of State.
I, however, am only in favour of change when there is an obvious and better alternative on offer. Many Presidents are invariably former senior politicians who come with baggage that tarnishes their reputation and whilst many are not happy with a hereditary Head of State, you just have to look at North Korea to see that the Communist state is now on its 3rd generation of rulers from the Kim family. You also have the Assad family in Syria and we were pretty close to a 2nd generation of the Gaddafi family in Libya.
If it ain't broke, don't fix it is what I believe in. And we have been most fortunate in that the Queen has served us for so long and from memory, I cannot recall her saying or doing anything, to compromise herself, the Government, or the country. Indeed, she had already been on the throne for over 7 years when I was born, so in my 52 years, I have known no other monarch.
You may not like her, or her family, but she has thrown herself into the role and whilst some may think her job is to smile, wave and open hospitals, she is probably the most knowledgeable head of state in the world, today.
Today, marks the 60th anniversary of the Queen's accession to the throne. It may be a cause to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II, but its also a day of sadness as it was the day that her father, George VI, died at Sandringham.
Yes, 60 years on the throne is a considerable achievement, but we must also remember that she started preparing for her role in December 1936, when she became heir to the throne. Edward VIII had become King in January of the same year and it was expected that he would marry and have his own children.
But we all know that by Edward VIII chosing to give up the throne in order to marry the one he loved, Prince Albert, the Duke of York became George VI. The Government had declared that the country could not have a King who wanted to marry a divorcee, Mrs Wallis Simpson.
We have all seen the film, the King's Speech and how the younger son became King. So Princess Elizabeth at the age of 10, became heir apparent.
No one can dispute the Queen's dedication to the job and she spends hours going through Government papers and at 85 years of age, she is showing to all of us that the elderly have a lot to offer and thats not just being the babysitter for a few hours.
The fact we always see the Queen looking serious and smiling at the right time, it creates the impression of an old fashioned woman. I am sure that in private company, she is not much different to the rest of us and watches TV and has a laugh with the family and her close friends. I guess the mystique of the Royal Family demands that, but when we saw Diana come onto the scene, we saw a breath of fresh air blow through the Royal Family and we now see that in Princes William and Harry.
So today, its MANY congratulations to Her Majesty the Queen in what is going to be a good year for her and the country. As well as celebrating her own Diamond Jubilee, no doubt the whole world will show their own appreciation when she declares open, the London 2012 Olympics.
I am not one of those who stand in the streets waving flags and wearing silly outfits in the red, white and blue. I find them embarrasing to be honest, but I do respect everything she has done and her dedication to her duty.
Apparently, about 20% of Brits favour a Republic, according to polling and that has been the consistent figure over the years. So whilst you may favour a Republic or the status quo, there will be few who could find a valid reason to be critical of her other than of the system itself. Some may criticise the cost, but I am sure that having a President would probably be no cheaper, but could even be more expensive than what we pay now for the Royal Family. The cost in 2009 was 62p a year, for every person in the UK. If thats not good value, I don't know what is. Does anyone begrudge 62p a year?
So whilst today is the official start of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, I must say she looks so happy now, compared to 10 - 20 years ago. She knows that the succession is settled for the next 50 years and even longer, when Wills and Kate become parents, presumably within the next year or two. Hopefully, by then, the law of primogeniture will have been changed and their child, regardless of its sex, male or female, will become King or Queen and not pushed down the succession if the first born is a girl, in favour of a younger brother.
I many not be a betting man and the next date of importance is 10th September 2015. If she is still Queen on that day, she will have overtaken Queen Victoria as our longest reigning monarch. As the Queen appears to be in such excellent health, I would even be prepared to bet that she will be around for her Platinum Jubilee. After all, her mother went on to live to 101....
So its many congratulations to Queen Elizabeth II on her special day.