HAYES IN THE HOUSE: By John Hayes
Countries are defined by and shaped around time-honoured institutions which, by binding people together, forge a cohesive national identity. Though, sadly, it has become fashionable for those who should know better to disparage the great cornerstones of our society, the greatest institution of all, the Monarchy, is in rude good health – in fact public reverence for Her Majesty the Queen and her Royal Family has grown.
People around the world respect and admire Britain’s constitutional monarchy. Rising above ephemeral, topical politics, and at ease with both tradition and modernity, the Monarchy represents the best of the glorious past, a confidence in the present, and continuity for the future. It is a beacon of certainty in an increasingly uncertain world. At a time when society seems ever more fragmented, with Britons divided by so many things, the Monarchy unites us all.
Perhaps we take for granted the Queen’s constitutional role as the Head of State who oversees our Parliamentary democracy, so ensuring a smooth transition between elected Governments. It’s certainly instructive to look across the Atlantic at the increasingly spiteful and vulgar Presidential election in America - a race to the bottom in which, over a matter of weeks, one of two deeply divisive individuals will be elected Head of State. Who could sensibly want to replace what we here enjoy with such a system?
Our Queen’s enduring popularity owes much not just to her sense of duty to our country, but to her political impartiality and understated wisdom; indeed Her Majesty’s longevity makes the Monarch’s reign seem still more magical, only deepening Briton’s emotional attachment to the Crown.
The role of the Sovereign also reminds us that while Prime Ministers and Governments are fleeting stewards of the offices they hold, the institution of our constitutional monarchy is permanent. By personifying what’s best of Britain, our Queen holds each of us -and all of us- to a higher standard.
Reflecting on these fundamental, timeless truths, I was honoured when, at Buckingham Palace last week, the Queen placed the badge of the CBE - for political and public service- around my neck. It was humbling to receive such an honour from Her Majesty. Immensely proud of my work here in South Holland and the Deepings - representing those alongside whom I’ve made my home for over 19 years now - I know that my honour was made possible by the people and place I care for most.