Seventy years is a long time, for anything. Over the past 70 years, the Queen has seen 14 prime ministers govern. She has watched Britain grow postwar, seen it make pleas for workers from around the Commonwealth to power that growth, then watched as those people and their relatives were shown the door.
She has seen the NHS become one of the pinnacles of national pride and then be allowed to slip and slide as it gropes for a firm future. She has gone from the illustration of absolute wealth to a figure who is no longer in the top 50 richest women in Britain. Posh Spice is richer.
All through this the Queen has said little. The lack of comment has become a signifier of dignity for many – through the slings and arrows, she retains a stoic silence, like Kate Moss, never apologising, never explaining.
We are at a moment when she could change all that and an incredible legacy would be built. The Queen has potency in Britain. If she didn’t, this Jubilee would be a much smaller affair. So many people with issues around the monarchy don’t hold animosity towards the Queen.
Imagine if, as her 70th anniversary gift to the nation, as a genuine gift, the Queen spoke up. The level of fear about the future in Britain is huge, and growing. Foodbanks are emptying because there aren’t enough donations to keep up. We shouldn’t need foodbanks at all.
The privatisation fetish of a large section of Britain’s elected representatives over the last 40 years – more than half the period of the Queen’s reign – has seen such a race to private ownership and profit that the government can’t bring any pressure to bear on energy providers to hold down apocalyptic bills.