The Guardian had a classic piece criticising the street parties held at the weekend in honour of the Queen’s 90th birthday.

Journalist Dawn Foster clearly had a bee in her bonnet. Excerpts follow:

Friends of mine who live in areas where street parties are in the works have, without exception, reported that the people responsible are the perennially furious residents who spend most of their lives in a rage about parking. Shifting their attention from the contentious temporary ownership of asphalt, they have decided the neighbourhood needs to commemorate the birthday of a 90-year-old woman none of the residents have met …

The twee side of nationalism harks back to a bygone era of a “stiff upper lip”, and is intrinsically bound up with the legacy of boarding schools. Its practitioners have a tendency to suggest people have been too harsh when criticising our colonial history. Several years ago they would have been laughed out of the building, but now this brand of chummy nationalism is widespread …

The coming weekend will feature an assault course of men in red trousers telling you how “jolly good” it is that “our Liz” has reached the age people in her income bracket often do, as they wave paper Union Jacks …

It’s possible to be a good neighbour without indulging in these performative pastiches of community. Speaking to people on your street should be an everyday occurrence, not prompted only by an unreciprocated love for the unelected Queen …

Readers’ comments were mixed. I rather liked this one:

The article neglects the fact that the Queen has been in power for over 60 years, through periods of austerity as well as more lavish times. In none of those, though, did she really have any authority to do more than suggest a more temperate approach (should she have decided to do so). She also presided over periods when the middle class was in the ascendant and when it was losing ground. It is a bit of a ‘straw man’ argument to try to blame her for all the failed policies of the various governments that were in power during that period.

If we accept that the role of the Queen is essentially that of a figurehead (and perhaps a role model), rather than an actual person with authority, we must conclude that she’s done a pretty good job. Governments come and go and society changes, but through good times and bad, Her Majesty has always been around.

Indeed, and that is what and who Britons celebrated last weekend.

Advertisements