One group of us is mad. Maybe it’s us or maybe it’s the others but one of us must be.
“That’s the most remarkable thing I’ve ever seen”, said the commentator, as a boat floated down the Thames. How cruel of the BBC, to get someone to commentate on the Jubilee who’d never seen a boat before, or indeed anything as remarkable as a boat. They’ll probably get him to do the sailing at the Olympics next, so they can enjoy him hyperventilating as he gasps “Oh my God there’s LOADS of boats, they’re TRAVELLING through WATER, it’s a MIRACLE.”
For several days it’s gone on, presenters telling us about the truly marvellous overwhelming astonishing spectacle and wondering how the Queen manages to be quite so magnificent, until you feel they’re about to say ‘And she often beats Ronnie o’Sullivan over 35 frames of snooker, and she invented saucepans and can understand fish language. We are so so lucky she lets us have her as our Queen’.
Next week newspapers will publish photos of people who weren’t cheerful enough over the Jubilee weekend, telling the public ‘If you recognise any of these traitors ring our confidential hotline and get them arrested’. Then we’ll have a series of trials, with a judge growling “You are a disgusting thug who didn’t even have the decency to sing along to Obla di Obla da”, and handing out ten year sentences to set an example.
To be truly British we had to show our full range, by then being devastatingly sad about Philip being unable to go, even though he probably thought ‘Oh not Elton John again. I had enough of him at that funeral, I’ll pull the old dodgy bladder scam’.
But the oddest part is no one can explain what we were supposed to be celebrating. She’s been the Queen for sixty years, but all she has to do to be Queen is to be. As long as she exists, she’s the Queen, that’s how it works, it’s not like a boxing champion that has to keep seeing off challengers. If you’ve been an electrician for sixty years that’s worth celebrating, because you have to keep rewiring stuff to be one, but as long as she exists she’s the Queen. In effect people are spluttering ‘Isn’t she marvellous, still existing for us. Most of us wouldn’t have the stamina to keep on existing, but even at her age she puts in a full days existence seven days a week’.
That’s why royalists get in a tangle when they claim she’s doing a marvellous job, as if she’s earned her position on merit, having worked her way up after starting out as a humble princess.
But it would be churlish to deny a party, so next year we should do it all again, except for a random pensioner, with bunting and street parties and souvenir mugs and Huw Edwardes dribbling ‘There’s all of Ada’s family, waving from the balcony of her care home in Sunderland, she truly is the most remarkable woman there has ever been’.