Star comment: Jubilee is a time to focus on the good, not the bad

You don’t have to be a royalist to celebrate over the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee over the next four days.

The coming Bank Holiday Weekend is a chance to celebrate Britishness and being part of the community in which we live. It’s a chance to embrace modernity and tradition, diversity and nostalgia, to celebrate our difference, our uniqueness and the ties that bind.

After a torrid time with Covid, after the horrors of Vladimir Putin’s ongoing war in Ukraine and as the cost of living crisis plunges millions into poverty and leads to lower living standards for more, it is a chance to take a break and party.

We can spend time with friends, neighbours and colleagues as we come together to let our hair down and throw off some of our cares.

The Jubilee is a unique and remarkable occasion; truly a once-in-a-lifetime event, much as the Millennium was. Through it, we can look at the overwhelming good-heartedness that surrounds us. In a world when headlines are almost all bleak, the vast majority of people are good. For all the dismay caused by a fractured and divisive politics where double-standards rule, we can see that our society is peopled by those who are decent, kind, law-abiding folk who want to get on and make the best for themselves and for others.

Those principles are reflected in today’s Queen’s Honours, where many ordinary folk doing extraordinary things are recognised. They deserve their moment of recognition We live in a remarkable country and while it is right that those who err are held to account, the Jubilee gives us a natural opportunity to focus on the good, rather than the bad.

Today’s headlines will inevitably be dominated by the celebrities who have picked up awards from the Queen. They will have their day at the Palace and many of them will end up on our front pages, medal in hand.

Many of the real heroes, however, are to be found further down the list, under the heading British Empire Medal.

These are largely members of the community who have dedicated their lives to helping others or running groups for children or the elderly. They include workers and volunteers who worked tirelessly through the pandemic to ensure those who were vulnerable could be kept safe or made more comfortable.

British Empire Medal winners don’t tend to get a day at the Palace. They instead get a local ceremony, where they are rightly made a fuss of. But maybe now is the time to put that right. These ‘ordinary’ people are the real heroes today.

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