April 30, 2002
Latest opinion polls indicate that President Jacques Chirac should beat far right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen in the battle for the French presidency.
With the socialist candidate beaten by Le Pen and removed from the last round of the presidential race, it would seem that the far right wing views including immigration policies of Le Pen within the last few days have thankfully worked against him in the latest polls.
This brand of politics especially from a G8 and pivotal European country has no place in the twenty first century.
The fact that this “brand” of politics has found itself reported on the international stage does little to reflect the common decency of majority of French voters.
Readers of London Chimes will probably recognise that I am a royalist and remain loyal to the royal family of the country of my birth. Following from my blog yesterday I am adding edited text from the BBC News web pages.
"Today, The Queen addressed both Houses of Parliament in the historic Westminster Hall with a Golden Jubilee speech which sought to encapsulate the age in which we all live. "Change," she declared "has become a constant. The way we embrace it defines our future". Great institutions are never exempt from such change, but the monarchy, she pledged, would meet that challenge by evolving. She, however, would continue to rule to the best of her ability throughout the changing times ahead, she pledged. The speech signalled an awareness that the institution of the monarchy itself cannot remain static if it is to maintain its relevance. It remains to be seen whether that means an enhanced role for Prince Charles. But it also finally settled the question which has dominated talk about the monarchy's future since the death of the Queen Mother.
Whatever else may change, Queen Elizabeth II is not going to abdicate. Her words painted a picture of a country whose institutions and character have enabled it to weather all the momentous events of the past half century. And reference to the fairness and tolerance of the British people combined with the growth of a tolerant, multi-cultural and multi-faith society, appeared to be a direct rebuff to the far-right extremists who often claim only they represent the true British character. With the shock electoral success of Jean Marie Le Pen in France and fears of a BNP revival in Britain, it was a timely reminder of the natural tolerance of the British nation.Survived war The setting for the speech - the ancient hall which has witnessed some of the most dramatic and poignant events in the country's history - could not have been more appropriate for such a message of change.
The half century during which the Queen has ruled has been as momentous, and often bloody, as any age before it. Even 25 years ago, during her silver jubilee, Britain was a country far from at ease with itself - or even its monarchy. Industrial and social strife was endemic and the "stuff the jubilee" movement struck a chord, particularly with disaffected youngsters. A quarter of a century later and things look hugely different.
Britain is far from trouble-free, but it appears a distinctly calmer place. The Queen clearly felt relaxed, even confident, about her own position and the future of the institution. Republicanism may be a more respectable policy than it was 25 years ago, but there were no hints here that the Queen senses any growing desire to abandon the monarchy. If anything, events of the past few years appear to have strengthened its position, allowing the Queen a more relaxed, outward looking view.
And one overwhelming message was delivered back to her from MPs, Palace of Westminster staff, Lord Chancellor Derry Irvine and Commons Speaker Michael Martin - two people from opposite ends of the class system. It was that they see the monarchy as a unifying point of reference in the changing world. Fifty years on, and this monarch looks as secure and as central to British life as any before her." Ends.
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April 29, 2002
"DING" In these times of international tension I hope to unravel and provide a different perspective on the issues of the day.
"DONG" but first what is all this DING DONG? The former ITV news program News at 10, used to start each evening bulletin with the chimes of Big Ben. Hence the twisted title of this blog the London Chimes. A traditional piece was "and finally" a shaggy dog or similar meaningless story to pad out the 40 minute news bulletin. So here is the fluff as I see it.
The Queen has dined in Downing Street as Tony Blair brought together her previous prime ministers to celebrate her 50th anniversary on the throne. The event marked the start of the official Golden Jubilee celebrations and comes ahead of her address to MPs and peers on Tuesday. This historic evening included former Prime Minster's who have held the position since 1970 in order Edward Heath, and Jim Callaghan, Maggie Thatcher, John Major and the host Tony Blair.
The full story can be read through this link.
A remarkable evening to mark the start of the Golden Jubilee celebrations.
Feedback always invited, please email me.