Like many millions in the UK and around the world I watched the Diamond Jubilee celebrations over the last few days. There is no doubt that Queen Elizabeth II is a well-loved monarch by any standard. The celebrations were quite rightly a big ‘thank you’ for her decades of public service to the UK and Commonwealth. Her son, Prince Charles, made the express point of acknowledging the diversity of those people who have some sort of tie to his mother and the British Crown, and you could see many examples of these on and in front of the Buckingham Palace stage yesterday evening.
To my mind therefore, the real benefit of the Queen’s presence on this planet has been her ability to bring together different cultures to form a common identity which is perceived to have a common value to all. This is a legacy of resolving the days of Empire, which were still very much alive when Elizabeth ascended to the throne.
So now that the festivities have ended, what happens next?
Here are some suggestions:
- UK political leaders should use this historical marker to reflect on where they think we are heading next given the large socio-economic questions looming over all of our heads. The Olympics will be a mere distraction and come the Autumn we all need to have strong sense of unity of direction, whatever political persuasion you happen to be. Hopefully this is bigger than just deciding on Plan A or B.
- European heads of state could convene and offer their own thoughts on what should be happening over the next half century or so for their individual countries and collectively, whether in or out of the closer EU integration being forced upon us by financial circumstances in Greece, Spain and Italy.
- World leaders of all shades and cultures should acknowledge that there is a veritable ‘pick and mix’ of (pan)national systems that exist around the globe, and clearly some of these are more conducive to future prosperity for all than others. Population pressures are growing and even though we may disagree about the exact processes, we all know that humans have had an impact on the plant through their use of its increasingly scarce resources. The Rio+20 meeting will be taking place soon, a great opportunity to make some ground.
This is all a big ask, but now is as good a time as any and perhaps we owe this to those many such as Queen Elizabeth who just got on with their duties honestly and uncomplainingly.
Now that would be a real cause for celebration!