Being of decidedly republican inclination, I can’t be doing with all the bunting, the flags, flotillas, the fawning and the wall-to-wall TV coverage of this bank holiday weekend’s Jubilee celebrations. The money being spent on these shenanigans and the Olympics in the midst of a dire recession seems to me to be obscene.
As David Hare out it in an otherwise strangely uncritical and somewhat obsequious article in yesterdays Guardian:
It’s fascinating, isn’t it? Here we are in the middle of a national carnival of disillusionment. Bankers and journalists have been sent to join politicians and payday lenders in the lowest pit of public opinion. Today, even our schools have to answer to an education secretary who, before ascending to office, had to return to the taxpayer £7,000 of our money, much of which he had spent at a furniture shop belonging to his party leader’s mother-in-law. How low can we get? … Today’s festivities coincide with the worst economic crisis for 80 years, brought about, we should remember, by the failure of the political class to offer the country even a modest degree of protection from a rampantly destructive City of London. No event since the invasion of Iraq has so reinforced people’s sense of powerlessness.
Nevertheless, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for the people milling about under dripping umbrellas today on the village green at Hanley Swan where I took the photo above. They were setting up the stalls, the coconut shy, the music stage, for a village celebration, while under the oak tree on the green a poster proclaimed a message of true British stoicism: ‘We’ll Weather the Weather Whatever’.
The whole country has been drenched in steady rain for two days. We’re staying with a friend in this village near Malvern for a couple of nights and, unbelievably, the Malvern hills are invisible, shrouded in cloud. We came here once before - and conditions were exactly the same. We’ve never seen those hills!