By Leon A Smith
June 8, 2012

Even if I wanted to it would not be possible to write my weekly blog without a reference to the Jubilee. Albeit at the time of writing (Thursday) life is beginning to get back to normal. It really was an exceptional weekend where the whole country seemed to have become caught up in a significant level of hysteria – I mean excitement! The only parallels that one can draw are indeed with other Royal occasions – the death of Diana, the death of the Queen Mother, and the Wills & Kate marriage – all occasions that the vast majority of the population threw themselves into with enthusiasm and gusto. Some of the residents living here at Nightingale House have lived during the reign of other monarchs but primarily they have grown up with the Queen. Everybody remembers how young and beautiful she looked on the occasion of her coronation and indeed today she is both immaculate and dignified in her appearance.

Notwithstanding all of this, one senses that had there not been a Jubilee that our newspapers over last weekend and this week would have been very thin. If one were to remove all the pages dedicated this week both in the serious and the popular press there really would not have been much left.

We now have a very brief pause before we enter into period of euphoria which may exist only for a couple of days in the European Football Tournament. And once that’s over it will be full on into the Olympics build up and then the Olympics and then the Paralympics. Then around about September life might start reverting back to normal – albeit we’ll be on the slow build up to Christmas.

All of these occasions are very exciting, very interesting and naturally bring people together mainly in a positive way – which cannot be a bad thing. Unfortunately, however, such events could potentially be considered to be a form of escapism. Whilst we are waving our Union Jack flags on the banks of the River Thames, shouting on our football team in the Ukraine (or at least in our front rooms) we’re certainly not focussing on the far more difficult and harsh realities that face most people on a day to day basis.

Governments and particularly this government must delight in the opportunity for all of this escapism. A nation which is happy because of a Royal event or because we won a football match or because we successfully hosted the Olympic Games is one that is not focussing too much on all of the problems which our government is either having to grapple with and/or indeed in some cases causing.

A euphoric and happy nation will I am sure by definition add a couple of points to any government’s poll rating – albeit this may be short lived. I am sure that if Gallup or Populus had carried out a market research survey at 11.00 pm last Monday night after the Jubilee concert, ratings would have been soaring!

Unfortunately however we must keep coming back to reality. The government has many problems, some of which are of its own making. One problem I am sure which is of its own making is the avoidance of some of the harsh issues and problems which need to be addressed in relation to funding of older people. It may well be that David Cameron and Nick Clegg may not have this issue coming back to haunt them but rather a future government of a different colour. Collectively governments seem to be of the view that if they avoid problems for long enough, the problems will somehow go away. I don’t think, however, this bears much semblance to reality.

I strive always to be diverse in the content of my blog. And this week I want to move onto a totally different subject. I have been unable to find any link between what I am about to write and the above. And this is the subject of Cliff Richard. When Cliff Richard recorded Summer Holiday and the Young Ones he was indeed a very young man. Today he’s not quite so young. In fact he’s considerably older. If one would have watched the Jubilee concert with the volume on mute then Cliff would have been very impressive both in terms of his own movement and more particularly the movement of his accompanying dancers. If one were then to turn the sound back on, one might have a bit of a shock. Cliff’s voice is no more. He does not have the voice which he had when he originally recorded the Young Ones. He needs to recognise it. He cannot carry on forever. I would not limit these comments of course to Cliff – much the same has to be said about Elton John and a number of other singers that I can name of similar vintage. Notable exceptions from the Jubilee concert, ie people that do still have the wherewithal to carry it off are Stevie Wonder and Tom Jones! Basically some people need to know when to call it a day. Some do. Some don’t.


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