Jubilee   Leave a comment

Well it’s over.  I managed to reconcile myself to it and was surprised at the effect it had on London. All over the city strangers smiled at each other and people in silly clothes with the union jack on, danced, paraded and laughed. It was the first time I’ve ever experienced such a sense of unity in the city. It did not have the worrying associations with right-wing nationalism and extremism of St George’s Day. The unity was around something different that was sufficient to overcome race and religion.

I saw street parties in places as diverse as working-class Erith and leafy Hampstead with people saying that this was the first time they’d ever spoken to their neighbours. And after the queen, the awful weather became the other unifying force, bringing out the dogged British spirit determined to have that party and stand all day in the rain to see the flotilla.

 “I’ve decided I really love the queen” says one known for her GR vague human rightsy, lefty views.  “I did not bring my wellies”  says another on her day standing at Embankment, “but I’d taken sandwiches wrapped in tinfoil and when I’d eaten them, I put the tinfoil in my shoes to stop the rain coming in.”

Roll on the Olympics!


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