Diamond Jubilee: Armed Forces Tribute

The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations really kicked off at Windsor Castle today with a pageant involving over 2,500 soldiers, sailors and airmen and airwomen. In addition to all the service personnel, an estimated 20,000 members of the public lined the streets of Windsor to celebrate the Queen’s 60 years on the throne.

The musical celebration was led by six military bands and began with an RAF flypast involving nine Typhoon jets in a diamond formation (below). It culminated at a specially built arena in the grounds of the royal estate (above).

This country is the best in the world at pageantry and pomp. The armed forces tribute today was truly impressive and very stirring. I’ve always been very patriotic but I think any British citizen watching today’s spectacle would have been extremely proud to be British.

Today’s celebrations come after a new poll by Ipsos MORI shows that support for the monarchy is at a 20-year high. Only 13% of the population are in favour of living in a republic while in 2005 this figure was almost twice as high. Before the Royal Wedding last year 75% of those surveyed supported the monarchy but a combination of the “Kate effect” and the Diamond Jubilee celebrations has pushed this figure up to 80%. Support for the Queen is highest amongst the over 55s, with 88% being in favour. However, even in the 18-24 age group 73% want to remain subjects of the Queen. Ipsos MORI believe that the increased coverage of the Royal Family over the past year has significantly contributed to this surge in their popularity.

Although the Jubilee celebrations officially started in March with the commencement of a UK tour by the Queen which will continue until the end of July, today saw the start of the major events. I’m terribly excited about the Diamond Jubilee weekend in a couple of weeks’ time, particularly as my birthday falls on a Bank Holiday. The Queen will be coming my local area on Saturday 2nd June when she attends the Epsom Derby and I’m hoping to get to the Thames on Sunday 3rd to see the flotilla. I was disappointed not to get tickets to the Jubilee concert outside Buckingham Palace on the Monday, organised by the lovely Gary Barlow but I’ll be having my own celebrations at home instead.

I think it’s extraordinary that our Queen is the second longest-reigning monarch in British history, second only to Queen Victoria who managed 63 years and 216 days. I’m almost certain that in 3 and a half years’ time Queen Elizabeth II will become this country’s longest-serving monarch.

God Save the Queen!

HLAD

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25 thoughts on “Diamond Jubilee: Armed Forces Tribute

  1. “Today’s celebrations come after a new poll by Ipsos MORI shows that support for the monarchy is at a 20-year high. Only 13% of the population are in favour of living in a republic” you do realise that’s a fallacy right? Argumentum ad populum. Popular support/belief has no bearing on whether is something is right or wrong.

    • Well I know you said neither way if you agreed that argumentum ad populum is a fallacy. But would you agree that it is a fallacy? And if so, I’m just curious how it’s relevant to whether if something is right or wrong if it is a fallacy.

      • I’m aware what argumentum ad populum is and that it’s a fallacy. I’m not saying that monarchy is right, I’m saying that, in this country, it’s popular.

      • Good good. And I can also recognise that the Monarchy is currently (sadly) popular. But I’m just wondering how it’s relevant to whether the Monarchy is a good thing (which is the overall theme of this post, right?).

      • No, I was just commenting on the pageant today and the Jubilee as a whole. I am saying that pageantry is good thing though.

  2. Absolutus bollockum I think is the technical term Max will understand. The Monarchy is not a power-exercising core institution – it IS a populist ceremonial one FOR the people because the people want it. Democracy is inherently populist – how else do you think labour got into power? Because they were somehow morally right ? haha – labours very existence was funded by populist knee-jerk vote winners. We can get onto a debate on the pros and cons of democracy another time though. No-one, not even the monarchy themselves advocate that their role is somehow divine, god given or morally right. The historic function of the monarchy has been dead for years – it exists now purely for tradition, ceremony, pomp, pageantry and populism. And as long as it remains popular among the people is therefore entirely legitimate. When and only when the majority of the population want the end of the monarchy should it end.

    Until that day, let the people enjoy some mild distraction from useless politicians and the grey bore of everything else the left have sucked the enjoyment out of.

    • So if something is popular then it’s automatically right? You should write an article on that for a journal, have it published and peer reviewed. By that obscure logic we wouldn’t have legalised homosexuality in the 60s or desegragated Southern US Schools in the 50s.

      • That’s a ridiculous comparison! Having a monarchy does not directly harm anyone like those do. If it did, then I’d be the first to be with you in opposing it. The only real opposition to the monarchy is a chronic case of egotistical stick-up-arse-ism.

      • What i’m trying to say is that the case against the monarchy is nothing more than a technicality. A “view” that it is morally wrong and should therefore be ended. Its a valid view, true, but pales in comparison with the legitimacy of the vast public support in favour of the monarchy. With something like the monarchy populism IS the important thing. I’m not saying thats true of everything – like homosexuality or desegregation – but in this specific case its the moral views of a minority over the populist views of the majority. And there is no tangible argument against the wishes of the majority being respected – where that was not the case in for example segregation in the South USA.

  3. “That’s a ridiculous comparison!” I know, having a consistent world view sucks.

    And the reason why I personally oppose the institution of the Monarchy (while we’re on the subject) is for one simple reason. I think we can all agree that treating everyone equally, giving no particular privileges to any one group or individual and determining an individual’s self-importance and value can not be based merely on the family and circumstances they just happened to be born into. I think we can all agree with that almost without saying/typing and by extension regardless of whether is is class, race, gender, etc.

    Now I personally like to have a consistent a world view as possible. I think we can agree that previously said value is the basis of meritocracy and creating a truly equal world. On the whole, in a nutshell, we all aspire not to judge people on the family they just happened to be born into.

    So to value the Queen, any other Monarch or member of the Royal Family has having the privileged position of being the only people to have the chance to become the Head of State goes against such a basic and foundational principle and morals.

    Now you may whack out that the Monarchy “brings in £x every year” or that “it makes people feel good”. But ultimately these are side issues and merely excuses. The fact that you may use such excuses is simply called ‘special pleading’. You’re trying to claim a special exemption in one particular area that suits your own particular ends. Others like to be more consistent in their views.

    • “So if something is popular then it’s automatically right?”

      Isn’t that your case for a presidency? Democratically this country wishes to remain a constitutional monarchy which presents republicans with something of conundrum.

      In practice our judgement of the royals is hardly purely based on the position of their birth. Throughout our history, monarchs who have fallen well short of the mark have suffered consequences.

      • So non-members of the royal family are given the same starting chance at becoming head of state as those members of the royal family?

      • “Isn’t that your case for a presidency?” Not at all. What is right or wrong has no basis on popular support or opinion.

  4. “So non-members of the royal family are given the same starting chance at becoming head of state as those members of the royal family?”

    No one has the same starting point as anyone else.

    “Not at all. What is right or wrong has no basis on popular support or opinion.”

    Agreed. But are you going to make the ‘democratic case’ without suggesting that popular support for the head of state is important? I cannot think of any other head of state in the world who commands the same level of support as ours.

    I don’t believe that US supreme court justices should be elected and I feel the same way about our head of state. Election is not always the best way to select the best person for the job. Monarchs are trained many years in advance for their role and can retain a character that suits the role of head of state because they don’t have to become careerists. People who slime their way into student politics, battle for council seats, charm selection committees, para-drop into safe seats, get union/1922 committee backing and the do deals with Rupert Murdoch can never really be unifying or ceremonial figures. To put it simply: I don’t want my head of state to be a politician. And I don’t want our head of government to be a figurehead any more than is already the case.

  5. “No one has the same starting point as anyone else.” – True, but that doesn’t excuse denying certain rights to the overwhelming majority of the population while granting rights to an incredibly small part of society. And the fact that no one has the same starting point as everyone else ensures that we take steps to rectify it.

    “I cannot think of any other head of state in the world who commands the same level of support as ours.” – Well then she has every right to stand in any Head of state election that could hypothetically happen. But regardless, you’re still advocating the fallacy of argumentum ad populum.

    “I don’t believe that US supreme court justices should be elected” – I agree there but there’s a distinct reason why the Supreme Court is not elected. You can’t have the Chief interpreters of the Constitution and the laws not be subject to partisan pressures and interests.

    “Election is not always the best way to select the best person for the job.” – I agree, but an even worse way is the archaic hereditary principle of succession that favours individuals on the families they just happened to be born into.

    “Monarchs are trained many years in advance for their role” – With the greatest level respect, that’s complete bull. I don’t go to a particular dentist because said dentist had a father who was a dentist and was “trained many years in advance for their role”. I’d much rather have the dentist who had the qualifications and the experience. This is a simple and foundational principle we apply in everyday life yet you’re claiming a special exemption.

    “I don’t want my head of state to be a politician. And I don’t want our head of government to be a figurehead any more than is already the case.” – A world you want to live in gives no bearing on the world we do live in. I’m guessing you haven’t read my largest previous comment as that’s my principle reason for not determining an individual’s value on the family they just happened to be born into. This is a fundamental principle we all aspire to. Yet when it comes to the Monarchy people claim special exemptions on many of the excuses you have given. Yet again, that’s ‘special pleading’.

  6. “Well then she has every right to stand in any Head of state election that could hypothetically happen. But regardless, you’re still advocating the fallacy of argumentum ad populum.”

    No, I’m simply pointing out that it is the will of the people that we retain the monarchy. This is not an argument for the monarchy per se, but it is a counter argument to the republican assertion that it would be somehow democratic to hold presidential elections that no one wants.

    “Well then she has every right to stand in any Head of state election that could hypothetically happen. But regardless, you’re still advocating the fallacy of argumentum ad populum.”

    No, I’m simply pointing out that the principles of republicanism are self defeating. Democratically this country does not want a presidential election every five years or the inherent weaknesses of a presidential system.

    Your reasons for opposing the election of supreme court justices are similar to my reasons for opposing the election of a national figure head.

    I’m sorry but monarchs are trained in advance; from day one in fact. Prince Charles has been the Prince of Wales since 1958 and he has been preparing for the role of head of state since before our current PM was born. If my dentist told me that she had been preparing for the role from birth, I would be very impressed. (In elections, the least experienced candidate usually wins.)

    “Yet when it comes to the Monarchy people claim special exemptions on many of the excuses you have given. Yet again, that’s ‘special pleading.”

    The position of head of state has to have certain exemptions and does in most countries. Arnold Schwarzenegger can become a very succesful businessman in the US but can never become President. The laws prohibiting this are based on what is ultimatly in the national interest. I will elaborate further if you like, but there are good reasons for exceptions in these cases; as there are exceptions for almost every rule in the world.

    • In regards to your first points you still continue to advocate argumentum ad populum, in the greatest respect, I don’t think you quite understand the fallacy. I’m quite aware the people don’t want it, but popular opinion still has no bearing on whether is something is right or wrong.

      “Your reasons for opposing the election of supreme court justices are similar to my reasons for opposing the election of a national figure head.” – The difference is that theoretically ANYONE can become a member of the Supreme Court, a select handful of individuals can become head of state simply because we value the family they just happened to be born into.

      “If my dentist told me that she had been preparing for the role from birth, I would be very impressed.” – And I’d be inherently worried, I’d much rather a Dentist would have been able to perform to basic standards set by a consensus of the profession. This is something all professionals and professions expect. To say the Monarch is raised to do said role from birth is a. complete nonsense and b. if it’s true, I’d find that highly distressing, I’d much rather the head of state has lived a life in the real world, so to speak, as much as possible before taking possible, rather one that’s lived in a comparative bubble.

      “(In elections, the least experienced candidate usually wins.)” – Again, with the greatest level of respect, I’m not sure if you know what you’re talking about, you have heard of the ‘incumbency factor’ right? You have seen the blatant statistics (particularly in the US Congress) where incumbency is a huge benefit for re-election?

      In regards to your last point, I’d personally have no problem with Schwarzenegger running for President, the US is after all a land found on immigrants. Yes, exceptions can be made, but this such a base principle. Not judging someone on the family they just happened to be born into by mere accident is the basis of meritocracy and equality. I fail to see how any ‘exceptions’ can be made for valuing someone as genetically superior to the rest of society in the opportunities they are able to take. And then (if your training to rule from birth point is true), what a disgusting thing to do to a child. Continuously tell them that this is their ‘duty’ throughout all of their chilldhood. Call it what you like, but that’s nothing less that indoctrination.

  7. Any idea who wrote the music at 4:30 on this clip from the Armed Forces Tribute? Is it a new piece composed for the occasion? It seemed to turn a few royal heads when the combined bands/orchestra joined in after the fanfare.

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