The rain makes today’s Jubilee celebrations a truly British event. We didn’t want any of this continental sun, anyway. The flotilla is making its way through the drizzle, and as we have to celebrate indoors due to the weather then there’s the perfect accompaniment: the new Spectator double issue, out today, which is overflowing with holiday reading.
We have Robert Hardman saying how – policing aside – the bill for these four days of celebrations has been £1 million which works out as half an Olympic volleyball pitch. The queen is remarkable value. At my church this morning, we heard from a parishioner a little older than the Queen who was involved in making the dress for her coronation. The weather that day was just like this, she said, and they were still on food stamps, celebrating with the thinnest of resources. That’s the power of monarchy. As Robert says, the remote and overbearing Olympics chiefs could learn a thing or two from the queen.
Joan Collins, who has written &”The Queen and I” about their various encounters over the years. Sinclair McKay recalls the joy of being ten during the golden summer of 1977. Clarissa Tan remarks on the queen’s staggering appeal (you can bet that peoples all over the world have a severe case of queen envy right now. And countries that do have monarchies will look on in amazement at the two distinguishing features of ours: it sheer splendour, and its mass popular appeal).
You may as well read The Spectator because, as Simon Hoggart says, there’s nowt on TV. But it’s not all crowns and sceptres in the Spectator this week. Each of our regular columnists has written a piece to savour, and there are a range of erudite books and arts reviews to read, with contributions by A.N. Wilson, Nicky Haslam and Deborah Ross. In addition to those pieces, Melissa Kite reports that her sleepy corner of Surrey has been shaken by the Oligarchic chop of helicopters. Andrew Roberts names and shames those MPs who tweet the inane dramas of their everyday lives from the dignity of the Commons chamber. James Forsyth reveals that the government is preparing for a summer of discontent. Gabrielle Donnelly meets the actress Emily Blunt. Peter Oborne sends a dispatch from the frontline of Libya’s continuing conflict. Paulo Coehlo speaks of his brush with death. Rory Sutherland has a novel idea about reforming the EU: splitting it between those countries that subtitle English language TV and those that dub it. It’s stretching the definition of Anglosphere a little, but unlike most schemes you hear from Europe, this makes plenty of sense.
Subscribers, all this awaits you. Non-subscribers: try us free for two weeks on Kindle, buy a copy on the iPad or do pick up the 100-page edition for £3.95 in the shops. It really is the perfect antidote to this weather.