Sunday, 5th June, 2022

[Day 811]

Last night their was a massive concert staged in front of Buckingham Palace for the 3rd day of the Queens Jubilee weekend celebrations. But what stole the show was a 2½ minute video clip of Paddington Bear having tea with the Queen. Paddington, when invited to have a drink of tea, drank a whole teapot full directly from the spout of the teapot, leaving only a few drops for the Queen. Then followed some antics in which the teapot itself was juggled and an equerry got spattered with cream. Finally, Paddington offered the Queen some of his trademark marmalade sandwiches whilst the Queen revealed that she always kept some marmalade sandwiches in her handbag ‘for later’ The clip ended with the Queen and Paddington accompanying the band playing outside by chinking their teaspons on their cups. This was a delightfully and skilfully played sketch in which the Queen displayed her own sense of humour. Parallels were inevitably drawn with the way in which the Queen participated in another comic sketch at the time of the opening of the Olympic Games in London when it appeared that the Qeen was being whisked by helicopter to the Olympic stadium and was then parachuting down in order to open the games. In order to play the clip again to Meg, rather frustratingly many sources cut the clip from 2½ minutes down to 1 or 1½ minutes but I think I found the whole thing on Twitter rather than YouTube. One cannot just imagine other national leaders having the self-confidence of participating in a huge national joke like this.

As it had rained throughout the night and seemed to be still smattering with rain this morning, Meg and I went down to the park by car. There we were pleased to join our University of Birmingham friend and after a short interval we were also joined by Seasoned World Traveller. We discussed our reactions to the Jubilee party last night, which I rather enjoyed and then inevitably some politics. Some of our discussion centred upon the micture of boos and cheers (far more boos than cheers) than greeted the Prime Minister and his wife when they attended the service at St. Paul’s yesterday. It is interesting to see what effect the whole of this adverse crowd reaction from committed royalists might have had upon wavering Tory MPs when it comes to ‘normal’ politics which will no doubt resume tomorrow morning. There is a joke circulating around the web at the moment which I must say I really enjoyed so here it is.

“Grandad, how did you spend the Platinum Jubilee weekend?” “I watched the video of Boris Johnson being booed 2100 times.”

Today, we feel rather ‘Jubileed out’ as we watched the whole of the fantastical Jubilee pageant that took place in London from about 1.30 until 5.00pm. More than 10,000 people – including the military, performers and key workers – took part, while politicians and members of the Royal Family watched from stands outside Buckingham Palace. The variety, versatility and sheer ‘quirkiness’ of some of the floats almost defied imagination and illustrates the fact that the British are rather good at pageantry and displays, although one suspects that quite a deal of money had been thrown in the direction of the performers. Various community groups had no doubt prepared for months but obviously rehearsals were limited and it had to all come right on the day. Given that an event like this is a one in 70 years occurrence, it was well worth watching. The Jubilee has given the broadcasters the opportunity to use a lot of their archived material – and not just images of the Queen over the decades.The opportunity has been taken, and this was well exemplified in today’s pageant, to record the cultural and musical highlights of the last seventy years. So, for example, the pageant today had a series of open top buses each of which contain celebrities from the appropriate decade together with the music and images of the decade. This is a good way of providing something for everyone because all of us have memories of past decades which it is interesting to remember.

Politics with a vengeance will return at Westminster tomorrow morning. MP’s will have spent several days in their constituencies and will have been told in no uncertain terms what their local electorates think. The so-called ‘Red Wall’ seats are that traditionally used to return Labour MPs but which the Tories captured at the last election under the slogan ‘Get Brexit Done’. One of these seats is Wakefield and there will be a by-election there on June 23rd. An opinion poll has put the Labour party 20 points in the lead over the Tories and if turns out to be the case in all of the ‘Red Wall’ seats then the Conservatives are destined to lose power unless they change the leader who is causing so much voter dissatisfaction. The answer lies in the hands of Tory MPs themselves of whom exactly a half (180) would need to vote against Boris Johnson for him to lose power, even if an election for a new party leader to be called.