Thursday, June 07, 2012
Proud to be British: Jubilee celebrations unite communities from all parts of society with sense of patriotic pride
The Jubilee celebrations may now have finished, but there is no doubt about the lasting legacy they leave behind.
With a crippling economy and world-wide instability in recent years, Britain has had little to cheer about. But the spectacular celebrations which have taken place over the past four days have brought communities up and down the country together and installed a patriotic pride back into Britain.
People from all aspects of society have joined in the celebrations - reflecting just how much Britain has changed and modernised during the Queen's astonishing 60-year reign on the throne.
One of those celebrating today outside St Paul's Cathedral was Yasmin Majid and her children Adnan and Misbah. Waiting with her children in the crowd, Ms Majid was proudly decked out in a union jack head scarf, and was thrilled to be celebrating the historic occasion. Speaking to the BBC, she said: 'I love the Queen and I love the Royal family. I just wanted to make an effort and get here and be part of the celebrations.'
More than one-and-a-half million people descended on London today to see the conclusion of a spectacular weekend.
The Queen was met with a sea of people head-to-toe in red, white and blue who gathered below the balcony at Buckingham Palace to see her.
The huge crowd sung themselves hoarse with a rousing rendition of Land of Hope and Glory and God Save the Queen as they marched to the gates of the Palace to watch the Royal Family acknowledge their affection.
If anybody was in any doubt that Britain’s love for the monarchy had waned, this national outpouring of pride soon dispelled that belief, in a week that witnessed a huge surge in popularity for the Royals, and particularly the Queen.
When she appeared on the balcony, the Queen broke into a smile - visibly pleased - and waved as the thousands of people roared with applause, some breaking into impromptu renditions of the National Anthem.
In a rare address to the country and Commonwealth this evening, the Queen declared herself deeply humbled by the celebrations. In a message of thanks broadcast as the festivities drew to a close, she said she was deeply touched to see so many people coming together to mark the occasion in a huge outpouring of positive emotion towards the Royal Family.
Broadcasts by Her Majesty other than the traditional annual Christmas message are infrequent, but this message was prompted by the huge amount of support she has received over last few days.
She said: 'The events that I have attended to mark my Diamond Jubilee have been a humbling experience. 'It has touched me deeply to see so many thousands of families, neighbours and friends celebrating together in such a happy atmosphere. 'But Prince Philip and I want to take this opportunity to offer our special thanks and appreciation to all those who have had a hand in organising these Jubilee celebrations. 'It has been a massive challenge, and I am sure that everyone who has enjoyed these festive occasions realises how much work has been involved.
'I hope that memories of all this year’s happy events will brighten our lives for many years to come. 'I will continue to treasure and draw inspiration from the countless kindnesses shown to me in this country and throughout the Commonwealth. 'Thank you all.'
A pestilential priest
Archbishop of Canterbury pays tribute to Queen's selfless service but hijacks ceremony to preach sermon on financial services greed, the environment and immigration.
Salvation? What's that? Is he even a Christian?
His congregation were not enthused
The Archbishop of Canterbury used the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Thanksgiving service today to bring up concerns about environmental recklessness, executive pay and immigration.
While Dr Rowan Williams, who is due to step down shortly, heaped praise on our monarch he used part of his sermon to air the liberal views he has become well known for during his ten years in the role.
The service at St Paul's was about celebrating the Monarch's 60 years on the throne and head of the Church of England.
However, Dr Williams brought up financial greed in the City, environmental concerns and launched a thinly veiled attack on a huge section of the population who are worried about the unprecedented levels of immigration in the country.
The Archbishop at first paid tribute to the Queen’s ‘ lifelong dedication’, saying it ‘is to take a huge risk, to embark on a costly venture. But it is also to respond to the promise of a vision that brings joy.’
He then used that as a springboard to enter more controversial territory, saying the challenge the Jubilee sets the nation is, as St Paul taught us, to be ‘overwhelmed by the promise of a shared joy far greater than narrow individual fulfilment, that we find the strength to take the risks and make the sacrifices - even if this seems to reduce our individual hopes of secure enjoyment.’
In full swing, he went on: 'Moralists, including Archbishops, can thunder away as much as they like; but they'll make no difference unless and until people see that there is something transforming and exhilarating about the prospect of a whole community rejoicing together - being glad of each other's happiness and safety.
'This alone is what will save us from the traps of ludicrous financial greed, of environmental recklessness, of collective fear of strangers and collective contempt for the unsuccessful and marginal - and many more things that we see far too much of, around us and within us.'
The phrase 'fear of strangers' was interpreted by many as a warning to the majority of people in the country who are concerned about the huge rise in immigration into Britain over the last decade and the pressures it has put on British society.
The head of the Anglican Church, who is due to stand down from his role, is well known for his liberal views. He turned on the City of London by calling for a Robin Hood tax on bankers last year.
The coalition Government was represented by Cabinet members, and opposition leader Ed Miliband was also present.
Other groups invited included the Diplomatic Corps, Lord Lieutenants, the Duchy of Cornwall, the Duchy of Lancaster, the Royal Household and leaders from other faiths.
When everyone had taken their seats, the Very Reverend David Ison, Dean of St Paul's, told the congregation: 'We come to this Cathedral Church today to give thanks to almighty God for the prosperous reign of the Queen and to rejoice together in this year of Her Majesty's Jubilee as we celebrate 60 years of her sovereignty and service.
'As we come together as loyal subjects from all parts of the Realms and Commonwealth of Nations, we give thanks for the blessings bestowed by God on our Sovereign Lady Queen Elizabeth, and we celebrate the identity and variety which our nations under her have enjoyed.'
Despite his liberal views, the Archbishop did praise the Queen's lifelong dedication to country and Commonwealth. He also had words of support for the Duke of Edinburgh.
Dr Williams told those gathered: 'I don't think it's at all fanciful to say that, in all her public engagements, our Queen has shown a quality of joy in the happiness of others; she has responded with just the generosity St Paul speaks of in showing honour to countless local communities and individuals of every background and class and race.
'She has made her 'public' happy and all the signs are that she is herself happy, fulfilled and at home in these encounters.
'The same, of course, can manifestly be said of Prince Philip; and our prayers and thoughts are very much with him this morning.
'To declare a lifelong dedication is to take a huge risk, to embark on a costly venture. But it is also to respond to the promise of a vision that brings joy.'
Dr Williams highlighted how the Queen's commitment to others had brought her happiness: 'But we are marking today the anniversary of one historic and very public act of dedication - a dedication that has endured faithfully, calmly and generously through most of the adult lives of most of us here.
'We are marking six decades of living proof that public service is possible and that it is a place where happiness can be found.'
After the service, the Queen left the cathedral to a huge cheer from the waiting crowd as the bells rang out loudly. She stopped midway down the steps to wave to the public.
It's not the first time Dr Williams has been controversial.
Last year he spoke out about how society is paying for the 'errors and irresponsibility of bankers' - yet in the City it remains 'business as usual' with 'still-soaring bonuses and little visible change in banking practices'.
And in the most brazen political intervention by a head of the Church of England for more than two decades, Dr Williams questioned the democratic legitimacy of the Coalition in an article for the left-wing New Statesman magazine.
Dr Williams, who was selected as Archbishop of Canterbury in the Queen's Golden Jubilee year in 2002, has a reputation for being liberal and controversial.
Many voiced doubt before he took the role as he backed the separation of church and state in England. He has been critical of the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq in political statements he has made over the years.
He was also in the reformer’s camp on both the issue of women bishops and openly gay clergy, but in the face of huge opposition from the conservative element of the church he has been forced to sit on the fence, pleasing no-one.
In 2009 he was forced to defend his controversial comments about the introduction of Islamic law to Britain.
The THING that this unfortunate woman encountered is a living definition of what the British call a "jobsworth"
Britain is full of them
A woman in a wheelchair who asked for a key to the disabled toilets was horrified when council staff told her to provide proof that she really had spina bifida.
Nicola Parnell, 32, visited East Staffordshire Borough Council’s customer services office to buy access to the facilities at her local shopping centre in Burton-on-Trent.
But she said jobsworth staff demanded she produce evidence of her chronic illness - despite the fact she was in a wheelchair and her body is the size of a 10-year-old's.
'She said I’d need to go home and come back with some identification; either my blue badge or a letter showing my disability living allowance.
'What more proof did she need than me being in front of her in a wheelchair? I clearly look disabled. 'My body is about the same size as a 10-year-old’s - surely that is enough proof.'
Ms Parnell claims she asked a receptionist to look for her details on the council’s computer system as she had been to the office a month earlier to update her blue badge. 'She told me she couldn’t access my details and she could no longer help me unless I had proof of my disability', she added.
'I was completely stunned and upset by what happened. I was shocked. I felt discriminated against. 'I want to raise awareness of how disabled people can be treated. I’ve never had to prove that I’m disabled before, especially just to buy a toilet key.'
Ms Parnell has now lodged a formal complaint about the incident.
A spokesman for East Staffordshire Borough Council said: 'The council prides itself on good customer service and it is unfortunate that Ms Parnell’s experience was not a positive one.
'The issue with the key has been resolved and the customer has been contacted.
'Our staff are well aware that, while there are guidelines to follow, they can, and in the majority of cases do, act with an element of discretion, as should have been displayed on this occasion. 'This message has been reaffirmed to all the staff.'
Discrimination against men?
Doctor, 73, 'kicked out of U.S. bookstore for being alone in children's section'. What harm could he have been doing anyway? One hopes that the staff members responsible have been fired
Barnes & Noble has apologised to a 73-year-old man who was kicked out of one of its stores for browsing the children's section on his own.
Dr. Omar Amin, from Scottsdale, Arizona, said he was asked to leave after a female shopper told a worker she felt uneasy about his presence.
But the man, who is a world-renowned researcher of infectious diseases, said he was buying books for his two grandchildren.
'This is an insult to all men not just to me,' Amin told Azfamily.com. 'I left the store. I was upset like hell because I've been so insulted and humiliated in public for the charge of being a man.'
In a complaint to the store he wrote: 'I did not break any rules. There was no sign posted that said men are not allowed in the children's book area.'
Amin said he had been looking for books for his five- and seven-year-old grandchildren when his phone rang.
He sat on the floor by the store's windows so he could talk to his friend, which he did quietly, he said. But a store worker interrupted the call and told him to leave, he said.
Amin said he was humiliated when the employee 'escorted me out as a potential sex offender'.
He is reportedly now considering legal action following the May 4 incident. Arizona State University law professor Charles Calleros told the Arizona Republic that Amin could have a case for gender discrimination. If women without children are allowed to shop in the children's section, 'then we arguably have gender discrimination', he said.
Barnes & Noble vice president Mark Bottini released a statement on Monday apologising to the man. 'We want to apologise to Dr. Amin for a situation in which Dr. Amin was asked to leave the children's section of our Scottsdale, Arizona store,' he said. 'We should not have done so. It is not our policy to ask customers to leave any section of our stores without justification. 'We value Dr. Amin as a customer and look forward to welcoming him in any of our stores.'
Amin, the director of Parasitology Center Inc. in Scottsdale, wrote to Barnes & Noble to complain. 'It's not enough. I want my honor restored,' Amin told msnbc.com. 'I want to walk back into the store with my head held up high. I did not break any rules. My pride has been scratched.'
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.