Paul Bristow MP: God save the Queen! Let’s have a really enjoyable time

Her Majesty the Queen is an extraordinary example to us all. For those of us under the age of 70, she is the only monarch we have known. She is fused into our sense of identity.

Queen Elizabeth is marking a historic reign of 70 years Photo by Stuart C.Wilson/Getty Images
Queen Elizabeth is marking a historic reign of 70 years Photo by Stuart C.Wilson/Getty Images

It’s easy to write phrases about her that sound like hagiography. As the secular head of the Church of England, I’m guessing sainthood is a non-starter, although her personal faith is evident.

But the Queen really has shown a selfless dedication to duty, rarely putting a foot wrong. I can’t think of anyone else, so exposed to attention, in such an important role, who could rival her.

Obviously, the symbolic function of the Crown helps to protect against the controversies that her many governments have necessarily faced. She has appointed 14 prime ministers, beginning with Churchill, of whom Margaret Thatcher alone made it to 11 years.

The internet suggests the figure for appointments rises to over 170 PMs, when the prime ministers of Commonwealth countries are included, as they should be.

For appreciating how much the Queen has done, and how deftly, the Commonwealth is the supreme example. It takes no imagination to grasp how differently the decades could have gone.

Even now, those intent on constitutional revolution find themselves largely undone. For the occasional Barbados, compare Canada or Australia.

Symbolism is not enough to steer the winds of history. For what we value to stay the same, many things have to adapt, change or cease.

The Queen has always understood this fundamental truth. It’s why she is not just respected, but loved.

Across Peterborough, we are coming together to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee. Streets will celebrate together. Neighbours together. Communities together.

Whatever our backgrounds, wherever we were born and – for the most part – whatever political party we support, the monarchy is the great unifier. She is our Queen.

A national holiday and celebration is overdue. It’s been a tough couple of years and there’s no better reason for a universal knees-up than marking the reign of the longest-serving monarch in our nation’s history.