The Week in Politics: Diamond Jubilees are a PM's best friend

Next year, incidentally, is the diamond anniversary of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
Next year, incidentally, is the diamond anniversary of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
Alex Stevenson By

After it had all wrapped up, David Cameron was asked whether he thought the Diamond Jubilee bank holiday would prove good news for the next quarter's GDP figures. "Not good for the economy," he replied, "but good for the soul".

Normal politics seemed to have been suspended over the long weekend. Instead of the usual prospect of the government and opposition tearing pieces out of each other, the main event was instead a celebration of that one part of our ruling set-up which isn't partisan: namely, the monarchy. It was 60 years of utter neutrality that we were applauding throughout the Diamond Jubilee weekend. The Queen, who is now so well-respected she gets plaudits for simply standing up for ages, is a truly unifying figure.

At least, she's supposed to be. There were inevitably some grumblers who were unimpressed by the whole shebang. The British enjoy nothing more than an adverse situation, so it was cheering to see the republicans being appalled at the celebrations with admirable gusto. Nothing is going to change, of course. So perhaps it was appropriate that the river pageant, which also featured a protest from Republic, was something of a washout.

Politics had taken a backseat. How appropriate, for the political tone this week has been one of a bunch of ill-behaved children squabbling in the back. Much of the focus has been on the fate of Tory co-chairman Sayeeda Warsi, who faces not one but two ever-so-slightly damaging allegations, about her expenses and an accompanying lobbyist. It is a mark of their irrelevance that David Cameron referred her behaviour to the independent adviser on ministerial conduct, Sir Alex Allan. As Labour pointed out, the contrast with his refusal to do so over culture secretary Jeremy Hunt was somewhat strange.

Presumably Cameron was relieved when he was able to escape to Norway, where he could actually get something done to help the economy, or even to Germany for some more eurozone crisis chit-chats.

We were all starting to think about next week, though, when the Leveson inquiry returns with its biggest week yet. Politics' biggest names of recent years are being packed into a dramatic few days, as we've previewed. Parliament, almost as an afterthought, is returning, too.


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