Gary's News and views

Gary Streeter MP for South West Devon

Gary writes a weekly article which appears in the Plympton Plymstock and Ivybridge News in South West Devon. The articles are published here.


Thursday, 31 May 2012


For most of us, the celebration of Her Majesty's 60th year of reign will be a cause for genuine celebration. I appreciate there are a handful of republicans in our midst and although all views are valid, we can cheerfully ignore them for the next few days!

Looking around the world, who else has a Head of State of such unique experience? If you were starting to design a new country from scratch you might not have a hereditary monarchy; but we are not starting from scratch, we are building upon centuries of history. It works and works gloriously. Which other country enjoys our record of political stability?

Looking back over the past six decades, who can but admire how Queen Elizabeth II has led the Royal Family through sometimes choppy waters into a place of near universal respect. There have been taxing times for the royal family. The conduct of some of the younger royals in the eighties often fell short; the relationship between Charles and Diana and her tragic death have been real challenges. Perhaps, with hindsight, it has made the royals more human, more like the rest of us with our imperfections. Perhaps the monarchy was at one time slow to catch on to the changing mood of the nation. But not now. The queen and her family have judged to perfection their role in the early years of the twenty-first century.

Looking ahead, we can see how the younger royals are ready to one day take their place at the head of a constantly shifting country, with Kate Middleton proving such a magnificent addition to the team. Even Harry who will doubtless say and do the wrong thing from time to time (and we will always forgive him) somehow embodies the spirit of the age. 

There is no scientific way of measuring popularity, but just consider what happens whenever the Queen is due to visit. The crowds turn out in their thousands. I have heard from countless people of all backgrounds how thrilled they have been over the years to meet Her Majesty, at a garden party or on a royal visit here or there. Just reflect on how most of us refer to her in private conversations. I have scarcely ever heard a negative word about her.

We are often to slow to count our blessings in this remarkable country. Queen Elizabeth II is most definitely one of them. Happy Diamond Jubilee!

posted by Gary @ 00:00