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, 25 July 2013


Most of us can remember where we were when the dreadful news of Diana's death came through, all those years ago. We were on holiday in France and I well remember gathering around the TV in the hotel lounge with other Brits in utter shock.

A better future memory this week, Jan, her mum and I were in Falmouth for a 3 day break when news of the birth of our future king came through. We raised a glass in tribute and I started counting the years forward and realised that this young babe might still be king when this century draws to a close.

We take our political and constitutional stability for granted, but we are mad to do so. I was asked for a list by one of my constituents recently to name any good thing about the UK. I made stability top of my list. He responded that I was talking rubbish.

Most people living in two-thirds of the planet would give their right arms for the kind of stability we enjoy. It did not come cheaply or quickly. It was hard fought-for over centuries and is still evolving, but it is utterly precious.

Of course, if we were starting from scratch we would not have a hereditary monarchy. Nobody would. But we are not starting from scratch; we are building on centuries of tradition and heritage. I appreciate that a small minority of our citizens would rather we switched to a more "modern system" and have an elected monarch/head of state like Ireland does. But what do they gain from it that we do not have? And what would we lose if we threw out all this tradition and stability?

In any event, this is not just our decision. Our Queen is not just our Queen, but queen of the Commonwealth. How moving it was recently to hear an Australian cricketer expressing his pride and delight at being introduced to HIS Queen at Lords (before we thrashed them good and proper).

This royal birth probably means that we will now have three kings in a row: Charles, William and then the new baby.  If we do not mess it up, we can look forward to decades of stability in the United Kingdom as the elected governments try and improve the lives of all, and the Royal Family provide the constitutional framework in which that happens.

Sometimes it is just good to be British.

posted by Gary @ 09:50