We are ten days into the new year, and plans for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee are already underway. News reports yesterday suggested that the pagentry and fuss would bring billions into the British economy from all the tourists who are sure to visit London this summer with its two-for-the-price of one attractions: Her Majesty and The 2012 Olympics. Now I have a great deal of time for The Queen. I think she is generally A Very Good Thing for this country, not just for her patronage of all kinds of good works, but because she shields us from the horror and embarrassment of a presidency (think Bush Junior, Berlusconi and his Bonga-Bonga, and others too unspeakable to mention). That said, I doubt very much that the hordes of Americans predicted to descend on Jubilant London in a few months time would want to exchange an elected head of state for a hereditary monarch, however good at her job Her Majesty has proved herself to be. It is delusional to think that the rest of the world (except for the Afghans maybe) is envious of our Monarch and our Royal Family. I fear that the billions of Jubilee pictures that are sure to be snapped by a tsunami of i-phones, and disseminated across the globe via Twitter and Facebook et al, may be as ephemeral as the House of Windsor when Her Majesty is no longer reigning over us.
In the meantime, Lord Julian Fellowes (Baron Claptrap) is spouting forth, as usual on all things great and small, latterly the Tories' plans to dumb-down the British Film Industry to make entertainment that 'people would want to see and which would make money', rather than the bleak, realist cinema turned out by directors like Ken Loach, who present a far more dystopian vision of this country than we like to project abroad, although one only has to watch the news to see the reality of life in the Fairest Isle in 2012. The ascent of Julian Fellowes means more films about the Royals and more daft dramas like 'Downton Abbey' the greatest piece of soma-inducing drivel to hit the small screen since Crossroads. I have a recurring memory of those sad people back in the '70s who tried to book rooms at the Cardboard Motel.
In spite of all that, I am jubilant so far this year because I have cast off the glass-half-empty syndrome and am looking forward to travelling abroad again with my beloved daughter.