Last weekend demonstrated the affection the public has for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
She’s been a beacon and unfailing source of strength during an enormous period of change.
As I’ve listened to constituents talk about her 70 years on the throne, I’ve been struck by how much people focus on some unwelcome changes in our society. On the positive side, it’s good that people are more aware of their rights and that opportunities have improved for many from humbler backgrounds but the public also worry that we’re less at peace with ourselves, less honest and less respectful.
Her Majesty’s Jubilee isn’t the only recent anniversary. It’s also 59 years since the resignation of Tory minister John Profumo for deliberately misleading the House of Commons.
As the Minister for the War Office, at the height of the Cold War, he was having an affair with a 19-year-old woman who was also sleeping with Captain Yevgeny Ivanov, a Soviet naval attaché. Profumo’s behaviour offended many but the greatest outrage was reserved for the fact that he deliberately lied to the House of Commons, where MPs are referred to as honourable members because we’re supposed to be able to rely on their word. While thinking about these events, I’ve been reflecting on this week’s confidence vote of Tory MPs on our current Prime Minister. He just scraped home but it’s debatable if he has the authority to carry on as the man in charge of our government.
Mr Johnson also stands accused of breaching and then trying to water down his own ministerial code and of deliberately misleading parliament over the shenanigans in Downing Street, at a time when everyone else, including Her Majesty, was observing Covid restrictions affecting funerals and final goodbyes. If this was 1963, Boris Johnson would have resigned by now but this is 2022 and our standards are not the same as when a young Elizabeth came to the throne.