Street party UK

 

              Yesterday was a national celebration. In many communities street parties sprung up without official assistance, subsidy or guidance on how to do them. In many cases people probably just shut their side street and got on with, safe in the knowledge that the pettifogging Inspectors were likely to be having the day off. It was a day when the Union flag predominated and was flown with pride.

              What was so good was the celebration of the amateur, the work of the unsung heroine or hero locally who organised and arranged the party, and the loving hard work of the many who baked cakes, made sandwiches, assembled garden  tables and flat packed  chairs and converted their Close or Avenue into an out doors venue.

             It was a treat to have a day without money. The street parties were there  just to enjoy and to discover our common enthusiaism for our country and its ancient ceremonies. No colecting tins were rattled, no entrance fees requested. We knew we could rely on each other to supply our share of the fare and to enjoy the shared occasion.

               It was day for the amateur. It was a day for over the top home baked cakes, that lacked the mechanical precison of the shop cake but gave us something more precious – the love and flavour of home baking. It was day for party games and sports , a day to meet and talk to the neighbours, a day to put the car away and enjoy a slower pace of life. It was a day for colourful bunting and childrens’ drawings.

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30 Comments

  1. Nigel Rennie
    Posted April 30, 2011 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    Hi John,

    I absolutely agree with you. Nice to have good news almost all day. It does not happen all that often!

    Best regards,

    Nigel

  2. Pete Moring
    Posted April 30, 2011 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    Hey John, good to see you think like the rest of us when it comes to the over-zealous jumped-up PC brigade.
    Please rap David Cameron over the knuckles and tell him he needs to get this Country back to the Britain most of us remember with fondness and Pride!

    Yesterday (Royal Wedding) brought back that feeling for a fleeting moment, surely even ‘He’ must see the value of retaining that pride, not destroying it with nonsense PC rules and regulations, not to mention all the red tape/health & safety nonsense we have to contend with 🙁

    P.S. How’s John west doing these days?? 🙂

  3. Bill
    Posted April 30, 2011 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    not an EU flag to be seen!

    • lifelogic
      Posted April 30, 2011 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

      There was one on the back number plate of the Aston Martin (Prince Charles’s).

      • lifelogic
        Posted April 30, 2011 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

        I assume in view of Charles’s green agenda the Aston Martin had been converted to run of his estates composted hedge cuttings or something similar.

        • Ralph Corderoy
          Posted May 1, 2011 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

          Dear lifelogic, it has been converted, yes, to run on bioethanol made from a waste product of British vineyards.

          • lifelogic
            Posted May 2, 2011 at 7:55 am | Permalink

            Doubtless a more energy consuming method than just using petrol.

    • Peter Richmond
      Posted April 30, 2011 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

      I thought that too. But if you looked carefully at the number plates on some of the cars used………

  4. lifelogic
    Posted April 30, 2011 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    Cakes the “lacked the mechanical precision of the shop cake” and also thank goodness its usually fowl taste – designed as it usually is for long shelf life, cheap ingredients, shelf appearance and “endless regulations”.

    Oh for a world with far fewer pettifogging inspectors, tax collectors, regulations and politicians. Indeed fewer malignant parasitic pests in general would be rather good for every one. Even the people doing it cannot surely be happy in such pointless and counter productive work.

  5. Caratacus
    Posted April 30, 2011 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    Agree totally John (particularly about the absence of Inspectors…).

    Why do I feel, therefore, that I am witnessing the close of something that was once great? Like the final few pages of a splendid novel that one just doesn’t wish to finish, or the last episode of a particularly fine television series. It has the feel of a coda – hopefully a Beethoven one so that it’ll drag on for a few bars yet!

    The grey men have won; we are no longer a sovereign and independent nation. Our laws are made by another power and the political pygmies in Westminster are content – even enthusiastic – to oversee the process. I do not include you in their number, John.

    That having been said, I wish the young couple well. They appear sincerely to love one another and one may not hope for more than that!

  6. acorn
    Posted April 30, 2011 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    We Brits do this sort of thing so well. Nobody is going to beat that for a wedding. We even managed to educate some under thirty fives, on the correct way to fly the Union Flag both horizontally and vertically. (They don’t teach stuff like that in schools nowadays). We oldies even managed to explain the difference between an Abbey and a Cathedral; and, why the monarch’s Royal Standard Pennant is never flown at half mast, (remember Diana’s funeral).

    • de Villiers
      Posted May 4, 2011 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

      Something the Brits do so well? Where my parents live in France there are often community gatherings whether to celebrate 14th July, the new wine season, Catholic cultural festivals. The ‘Brits’ do a fraction of what is done in France.

  7. alan jutson
    Posted April 30, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    Not a Health and Safety or Environmental Inspector, or Ambulance chasing solicitor in sight !

    How did we manage it.

    This surely must be an example of how sensible we can be if we are simply allowed to get on with it, and put two fingers up to the fat controller.

  8. Damien
    Posted April 30, 2011 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    The successful celebrations show the British at their best.

    Looking forward we also have the Queens Diamond Jubilee next June shortly followed by the 2012 Olympics which will again showcase the UK.

    In addition to street celebrations it occurred to me how crowded St James Park and Green Park are in this fine weather, but also due to the increase in the population of central London. It would be a fitting and lasting tribute to the Queen if the 40 acres of Buckingham Palace were permanently open once again to the public as it was before 1911. Indeed serious consideration should also be given to opening up more of the 775 rooms for displays of art.

    The Monarchy play an important part of the heritage of the country and generate great interest from tourists abroad. Imagine how wonderful it would be if the millions visiting the UK for the Olympics could also enjoy the grounds of Buckingham Palace.

  9. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted April 30, 2011 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    It certainly looked a great party and very good for a feeling of nationhood.
    I DID hear the SUN’s editor make an irritating claim that “they were funding this event” and “should have had more access to Kate’s private life”. Hopefully the couple can have a private honeymoon, left alone by the Paparazzis

  10. Catherine in Athens
    Posted April 30, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    It was a truly marvellous day.

  11. Mike Stallard
    Posted April 30, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    And a day when we got back to being what we are – English.
    I thought that under the Socialist barrage from the DfE, the BBC, Tony and Gordon and the notEU LAW, we had lost the plot.
    Yesterday proved that it is all still there.
    Please could you lot make a note that it is. Royal Weddings are meant to last.

  12. Neil Craig
    Posted April 30, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    It was the day when the Glasgow mounted police with helicopter back up attacked a peaceful, if loud & popular, party in Kelvin Park.

    • twopennerth
      Posted April 30, 2011 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

      Not really peaceful was it….not really at all.

  13. Javelin
    Posted April 30, 2011 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    Surely not !! I’m sure New Labour had organised an army of helpers. I saw the adverts in the Guardian – “WANTED 100,000 outreach corordinators”. Who of course needed every adult at every party to be checked to see if they had any convictions. Then there were the health and saftey inspectors who need to visit each and every party and check for every thing from food saftey to road saftey. Then there wera ll the job descriptions for road transport corordinators needed to fence off the roads. The community outreach consultants would have need to hire thousands of bus drivers to move all those kids from main road out to suburbian cul-de-sacs in case they felt disadvantaged.

    I think at £175 million the cash was well spent. Of course if we had a Tory Government they would have cut so deeply ino the Budget those lovely parties would never have happened.

  14. Electro-Kevin
    Posted April 30, 2011 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

    Absolutely agree, Mr R.

    My wife organised our street party and it went with a swing. Pity I finished work just in time to help with the clearing up !

    Stuff the republicanists !

  15. BobE
    Posted April 30, 2011 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

    John you have gone soppy and British in your words. What you describe is my country which I hate to see being destroyed by the EU despots. Maybe that is the last time you will see your England, Britain before it becomes a region of the EUSSR.

  16. twopennerth
    Posted April 30, 2011 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

    It was a beautiful day and hopefully it was not the end.

  17. Johnny Norfolk
    Posted April 30, 2011 at 11:25 pm | Permalink

    It was a day when the real British people were out and about and came together. Not the British people the BBC think we are. We can see that this couple are our hope for the future. I trust them far more than most politicians.

  18. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted May 1, 2011 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    Possibly interesting for comparison to look at a Dutch royal party (“queensday – 30-4-2011)
    http://www.nrc.nl/inbeeld/2011/04/30/de-koninklijke-familie-in-thorn-en-weert/#
    Look at photo 2 (crown prince and wife) and 6 (queen): different way of waving, less distance between royals and the people. For the rest the mood is similar – celebrating a form of togetherness or nationhood.

  19. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted May 1, 2011 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    Luckily for us, the professional security men did not have the day off, so the Real IRA and Islamic terrorists were unable to spoil the day.

    • lifelogic
      Posted May 1, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

      It would appear that they did not try.

      It is simply not possible to stop terrorists in practise so many target and potential methods. The truth is very few exist despite encouragement from Mr Blair’s counter productive dishonest wars.

  20. Kenneth
    Posted May 2, 2011 at 12:36 am | Permalink

    Friends of ours used to bake cakes for a charity coffee-shop but were threatened with all sorts of sanctions under food protection legislation (go to Paris if you want to see the same legislation completely ignored and unenforced and with Parisians living healthy lives as a result).

    Our friends just buy the cakes in Tesco nowadays.

    I wonder how many cakes were baked in clandestine kitchens on the royal wedding day? As you say, the zealots took the day off so there was no need for lookouts.

    I love your post. It is England, perhaps even Great Britain, summed up in a few lines.

  21. de Villiers
    Posted May 4, 2011 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

    I’m amazed that the English are amazed at what is a community gathering and how this shows that that England is not Europe. In the southern EU – France, Spain, Italy – community events are not unusual and, on any event, are far more regular than here in England. They are also proud countries. France, from where I come, is a proud nation. It feels enhanced in power, rather than diminished, by it’s membership of the EU.

    Reply: You are right to point to a big difference in feeling between England and France towards the EU. The difference starts from the fact that the EU denies England its very existence, wishing to subdivide it into regions and not allowing it representation. I also remember that the French voted against the EU Constitution Mark 1, so it is not as pro integation as its politicians claim.

    • de Villiers
      Posted May 5, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

      The French did vote against the referendum for the UE Constitution but, as here, that was all political with it being a vote against Chirac and his total uselessness more than anything else. Also Fabius and others on the left opposed the treaty for being too pro-market (delocalisation).

      I would genuinely be interested in why you say the UE wants to deny England’s identity as I can see none of this with regards to France or other UE countries. . Although not entitled to vote Conservative in General Elections, I vote Conservative in the council and European elections – but fail to understand why it is so against the UE.

      Reply: The EU does not recognise England – the UK is the member of the EU and the EU does everything to deny England a voice or an existence.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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