The Jubilee weekend was undoubtedly an awe-inspiring event. Across the globe commentators praised The Queen’s steadfastness, poise and compassionate command of the Commonwealth. It was a chance to show off the United Kingdom, to put aside our differences and communally party like in the ‘good old days’. Bunting and balloons. Face-paints and festival food. Proper pomp and circumstance.
Hours of TV coverage dedicated to the flotilla, the concert and the Westminster Abbey service sapped ink away from unaffiliated headlines. Our gaze was united in one direction and for one weekend we were all on the same side, singing the same songs and flying the same flag.
But to be truly united inevitably means to fight against a common foe. By participating in the festivities we were championing our country, its historic values and the myriad of factors that define whatever it means ‘to be British’. The Jubilee weekend was a fantastic excuse to fight against people that aren’t like us and to challenge people that aren’t proud to be British to try and pull off a better party.
Like with supporting a football team, it didn’t and doesn’t matter why we were enjoying the weekend as long as we wore the right gear, turned up to the right events and pretended to know the words to the anthem. Football works best when a team has something to champion and consequently something to rally against. This weekend is testament that nationally we’ve re-ignited the former, but where’s the latter?
The Olympic games, yet another chance to show off, are just around the corner. Euro 2012 will again bring all together before Wimbledon offers yet another collective opportunity to avoid disappointment.
Political headlines will always fill the gaps between major cultural events. While the Cabinet will be hoping that the 2012 omni-celebrations will give some much needed media cover, now is the time to find and create a new foe for the nation to tackle. While spirits are high we need to start identifying a villain, an ‘other’ to stick on the national dart board.
Broken Britain can be healed; this weekend conclusively demonstrated that the patriotic heart of the country is still beating strong. Passion and pride has been re-awoken and directed towards a singular goal, this must now be harnessed and turned towards tackling a new enemy.
Squandering such a rare opportunity may just be the worst legacy imaginable for a Conservative-led administration.