Day 5 – Thornham to Burnham Overy

Here we are two old gits, not two pounds of us hanging straight, minute figures wandering along the Norfolk coast under a vast pale blue canopy of sky. What a wonderful world and what a privilege to be alive at this hour.

God Save the King!

It’s inevitable in our free society that republicans are bound to make a fuss about the cost of monarchy, and some would even glue themselves to the roads to make nuisances of themselves. But what they’ll find is that it’s far easier to moan than establish a decent alternative.

Okay, republicans don’t like the class divisions that the monarchy is said to generate, and they disapprove of non-elected people exercising even modest influence in our democracy. Yet the vital quality of the monarchy and the stability it brings were tested when, between 2016 and 2022, the revolving doors of 10 Downing Street saw five prime ministers taking office across a period of just over six years. While our democracy bent (though failed to break), our magnificent queen ruled calm and serene above the fray bringing a non-political stability to our affairs.

We pray it will be the same under King Charles III.   

Rites and Rituals

The monarchy may look strange in our modern democracy – rather like the bumble bee, it shouldn’t fly but it does.

We will never know the value of ancient ceremony, ritual and traditions until they’ve been destroyed. Imagine, if you will, that the monarchy was swept aside, and we faced our first presidential campaign. The candidates would all proclaim to be “non-political”, but we all know that is simply impossible.

It’s a racing certainty the redoubtable Diane Abbott would appear as the first woman candidate of colour – any accusation that she’s far too stupid to be seriously considered would generate shrieks of “racism”. Her candidacy would be contested by Nigel Farage, furry collar, fag and pint at the ready. Then Peter Tatchell might be paraded by Stonewall as LGBAEM (Lesbian, Gay, Black, Asian, Ethnic Minority), as the first LGBTQ+ president, and Blair would face Corbyn.

You think I am wrong? Want to take a bet? But sanity will prevail, and I can’t see republicanism being introduced here. 

Britain’s Greatest Brand

Most people realise that the UK’s monarchy is one of the biggest brands in the world. It’s the thing we do best that no other country can match. The brand beats Facebook, Virgin, X (Twitter), Rolex, Trump, Amazon and Chanel into cocked hats. The cost is small, but the value in terms of soft power and influence is beyond price.

Twenty million people in the UK watched the coronation on television and many hundreds of millions more looked on from around the world. From Tasmania to Toronto, from St Petersburg to Nairn, and from Newfoundland to Perth, viewers watched in awe as the best of British pomp and pageantry went on display. I bet many of them would love to have taken part and wished their country had even a fraction of our style and chutzpah. 

What other world event could generate such favourable publicity? Not even the Olympics pulls that number of viewers. What monetary value can you attach to it? It’s priceless. What positive effect do these figures have on our tourist industry? How much benefit do these viewing figures bring to our worldwide businesses, the financial arena, and our goods and services?       

God Save King Charles III!

O, to be in England

Here’s a definition of what it is to be English – and one that will not find its way into newspapers:

“Basking in our garden over the weekend, celebrating our temperate climate, a passive spirit, cricket at Lords, tennis at Wimbledon, sports day and the egg and spoon race, the village fete, a car boot sale and real ale. These things are in the English DNA and are a way of life. Those who wish to destroy it cannot understand it, and yet it is the very essence of why they will fail.”

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