The argument that Britain can’t afford the downturn that, it is alleged, will result from the Diamond Jubilee is beyond parody. The event, which now has more momentum behind it than the obscenely expensive (and heavily publicly funded) Olympics, is historically unique, and will unite people in the biggest public celebration for two generations. The knock-on effect in raising national morale will be incalculable and, as with last year’s royal wedding, “brand” Britain will be at the centre of the world's attention, which must be good for long-term business and the national image. Sir Mervyn King might ponder Oscar Wilde's quote: “A cynic is one who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.” Over sixty years, the Queen’s value as national figurehead and Britain’s chief ambassador abroad has been immense – good for political relationships, but also for the business that flows from these relationships.
Peter Whittle is director of the New Culture Forum.
Whatever you think of the monarchy, the millions being spent on the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee is an extravagance too far. Britain is broke. We can’t afford it. There is a huge deficit; plus vast job losses and cuts in health, education and other public services. The extra Bank Holiday will hit economic output at a time when we need all the output we can get. In addition, while I have no personal animosity towards the Queen, I find it curious that our democracy celebrates an unelected head of state who inherited the position as a result of being born into a privileged aristocratic family, rather than by election based on merit and virtue. Monarchy is not compatible with democracy. It is a relic of feudalism. I won’t be celebrating. I still dream of a head of state who is elected by the people and accountable to them – like the Irish president: elected, low-cost, modest and purely ceremonial.
Peter Tatchell is a human rights campaigner.