The rain may have been unwelcome, but only the most curmudgeonly of souls could fail to be moved by the outpouring of emotion celebrating the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
You didn’t need to be a fan of superannuated showbiz cheese in the shape of creepy old Cliff Richard or one time underwear target Tom Jones to appreciate that this was indeed a special occasion for the nation.
You didn’t even need to be an ardent Royalist (it’s difficult after all to find too much to admire about the Duke of York or Prince Edward) to realise that the Queen’s 60 years on the throne is one hell of an achievement.
For any individual to have survived all those stuffy state banquets and endless ceremonial occasions with their essential humanity intact over a period of 60 years defies belief.
Some satirical commentators have observed that the Queen has heroically refused to say a single interesting thing publicly in six decades. But she’s not there to get us all laughing in the aisles. She’s the Queen, not Tommy Cooper, and she unites the nation like nothing else on the occasion of Royal Jubilee anniversaries.
Longevity in any walk of life is to be celebrated, by and large. Clearly there are exceptions to the rule, such as the appalling Robert Mugabe, and recent events might indicate that even Rupert Murdoch may have overstayed his welcome in his attempts to colonise the world with satellite TV and maverick news-gathering tactics.
Coincidentally, closer to home in the week of the Royal Jubilee, Birmingham Chamber of Commerce announced a series of events to mark next year’s 200th anniversary.
Still the biggest business organisation in the region, the Chamber plans a gala dinner with Royal and Government attendees, a CBSO concert at Symphony Hall, two business-related debates at the Town Hall and Birmingham Science Park Aston, and other events.
The Chamber may have had its critics, often for obdurate fence-sitting, but you must be doing something right to survive for two centuries in the harsh world of commerce.
Business benefits from long-term stability, especially at the top. Alex Ferguson, love or loathe him, is not the UK’s most successful football manager for nothing. Murdoch’s image may be tarnished right now but only a fool would deny his other multiple media achievements.
And only a bigger fool would deny the Queen’s diamond qualities.