Today, the Diamond Jubilee celebrations have started. As with the day of the Queen’s Coronation in 1953, it has been raining in London (if only they’d chosen the usual late May bank holiday weekend, eh?). But this has failed to put a damper on the fawning, overbearing and incessant coverage. The BBC set the example with live coverage of the Thames Pageant, and the papers had to follow.
The press has been scrabbling to show who can grovel the lowest, with Gordon Rayner at the Telegraph leading the way in forelock-tugging shamelessness. In his parallel universe, the Queen “beamed with delight as she greeted cheering crowds” which is complete and utter crap. HM did her best – one has to do one’s duty – but looked bored and cold. But she did wave a bit.
Over at the Mail, readers are told “Hundreds of thousands of cheering crowds throng the banks of the Thames as Queen sets sail on her glorious Jubilee river pageant”. I think someone else did the sailing, and HM just stood and waved, but the Mail hacks are already on to outfits, especially Kate’s. She was wearing red, y’know (thus proving that nowt gets past the Dacre press).
At least the news sites can take a break during the long, long time it has taken for hundreds of boats to make their way down the Thames. The Beeb took the decision to cover it all live, and that meant a lot of Phil Space journalism had to take place. Many commentators talked up the “atmosphere” which was inferred to be something special, although it was the same atmosphere as usual.
John Sergeant on Westminster Bridge hammed it up magnificently. Sian Williams appeared occasionally under an umbrella. Someone momentarily rediscovered Anneka Rice, who in turn rediscovered her ability to be over-enthusiastic while broadcasting from m’Lord Rogers’ Wobbly Bridge (tm). Dan Cruikshank was also enthusiastic but with a lot of knowledge. But the gaps showed.
So is it a day that will live long in the memory? Here in Crewe, only because it’s rained most of the day. And because of the howlers (HMS Belfast even with its armour was never much more than 14,000 tons, not 91,000), and the Express telling that the Queen was “joined by her ‘six’, Prince Charles, Camilla, Prince William, Kate and Prince Harry”. That’s five – they missed Prince Philip!
And where all these street parties are going on is, well, not here. But that would be to sound insufficiently patriotic and royalist, and that is something that the media cannot be seen be doing on this occasion. There will be more tomorrow, and then more the day after that. Never mind the bad economy, the lack of jobs, the chaotic Government (or lack thereof), just get celebrating.
Yes, let’s hear it for Liz. Gawd bless ‘er!