LAST weekend was a wonderful celebration of a wonderful public servant in Her Majesty the Queen, and her remarkable milestone of 70 years as our Sovereign.
It was also a vibrant summary of so much of what makes our country admirable and distinctive. The four day festival even showcased our variable climate, but more fundamentally we saw diversity, eccentricity and imaginative portrayals of the huge contribution the United Kingdom has made in the last 70 decades to the world’s cultural identity.
It reminded us not only of the Queen’s contribution, but of how much we have, collectively, to be proud of as a nation. All this was evident in the events that took place in London over the weekend, but I think it was also evident in the various events I attended locally. They were good examples of how real patriotism is not aggressive or demeaning of others, but is inclusive and uplifting for all. It struck me that they were also good examples of the wider concept of public service that we were really celebrating.
Her Majesty the Queen is the paradigm example of public service in high office, but none of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations, locally or nationally, would have been as successful as they were, and in many cases would not have happened at all, without the immense commitment, care and enthusiasm of so many who hold no office, but give their time and effort voluntarily. They were the ones who put up the bunting, set out the chairs and tables, provided the food and drink or the music, and made sure it could all be enjoyed safely by everyone. It is perhaps that spirit of service, that runs right through our society, that this Jubilee weekend was really all about.