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January 2013

News Letter - 6th January 2013


Most of the comments of this article will be of interest to U.K. and Commonwealth citizens along with Anglophiles.  For this I make no apology!

The year 2012 has seen the Western World continue to be immersed in the worst economic recession in living memory (the 1926 Crash is virtually beyond anyone’s living memory) with the EU near collapse due to overwhelming debt of the Southern European countries, the U.K. being in a similar situation, the U.S. struggling to come out of recession and even China’s output faltering.  Recovery is forecast as anything from 2015 (most optimistic!) to as late as 2020 (the most hard-headed and probably more truthful time frame!)  With this dismal situation along with one of the wettest years on record for the U.K. is there anything we can be up-beat about?

There were several major events in London during the year which captured and held the world’s attention and helped to lift much of the “doom & gloom”. These events commenced with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations.


On 6th February 2012 Queen Elizabeth II achieved a 60 year reign over the U.K. and Commonwealth making her the second longest reigning monarch in British history – only Victoria has reigned longer. The present Queen has only another 3 years 216 days more to reign to beat Victoria’s record – or as of the end of 2012 – approx. 2½ years more.  Although the reign of 60 years was achieved in February the actual celebrations really took place throughout much of the summer.

In June the celebrations really grabbed attention when a waterborne pageantry procession along the River Thames took place with approximately a thousand boats and barges involved. The Queen, Prince Philip and much of the royal family were on board the Royal Barge – Spirit of Chartwell, for the occasion with music by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra throughout the procession.

The following evening saw one of the greatest pop concerts ever take place outside Buckingham Palace (fondly known as Buck House!) with many of the biggest names in the music industry performing.

The final day of the bank holiday saw a service of Thanksgiving in Westminster Abbey followed by an open carriage procession back to Buckingham Palace and a fly past by the RAF.

Throughout the year the Queen visited various towns and cities of the U.K. and dispatched a number of her family (The Firm) to visit the Commonwealth countries on her behalf.


The major part of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations had barely died down before the opening took place of the 2012 London Olympic on 27th July.

The games commenced with a spectacular opening ceremony with a global audience of around 4 billion people – over half the planets population! One of the greatest scenes of the opening ceremony had to be that of James Bond “jumping” out of the helicopter with the Queen (people will talk about that scene for years to come!)

Approximately 10,500 athletes competed over the 19 days the games lasted. The event went off very smoothly  and has been hailed as the most successful Olympics to date – this despite the doomsayers, transport Unions, other left-wingers, the press generally and various pressure groups forecasting, a terrorist attack, traffic chaos, event venues would not be ready, the rail services and bus services would collapse, insufficient hotel space etc, etc. Do these doomsayers not stop and think we – the U.K. – put on some of the world’s greatest spectacles on a regular basis and have a proven record to be good at this. It would seem that a large minority of people in this country are not happy unless they are “rubbishing” anything and everything about the country! The press, particularly in this country – are not happy unless they are printing “doom and gloom.” Good news it seems does not sell newspapers!!

In the 2012 Olympics Team GB won 65 medals – 29 of which were gold and placed the U.K. in 3rd position in the medal table behind China (second) and the USA top with 104 medals.

London is the only city to have been host to the modern Olympic Games three times – in 1908, 1948 and 2012: although the 1908 games were awarded to London through default! They were awarded to Rome but in 1906 there was a massive volcanic eruption of Vesuvius and Rome felt they could not afford the Games – hence London got them instead.


Seventeen days after completion of the Olympics the most successful Paralympics to date commenced in London. The TV stations totally misjudged the popularity of these games and had to hurriedly change programme scheduling. Again Team GB did very well winning a total of 120 medals – of which 34 were gold and again placed the UK in 3rd position in the medal table behind Russia (second) with China top with 231 medals. In these games the USA were 6th in the medal table. Does this latter statistic not leave some questions?

We were the country which put together the idea of Paralympics and this has now grown into the great success and it continues to grow in size and popularity. It gives those people less fortunate than the majority of the population the opportunity to participate, sometimes with the assistance of technology, at a high level in a chosen sport which a few decades ago would have only been a dream.  May the Paralympics continue its growth from a small beginning in 1948 at the Stoke Mandeville Hospital. They were then known as the Stoke Mandeville Games.

Apart from the economic crisis faced by the World including the U.K, along with the U.K. experiencing the second wettest year in the last 100 years it has been a great year for the U.K. The people who did the planning and organising of the above mentioned events did a superb job but even so what really made it all successful was the support and enthusiasm the Jubilee and the Games received from the public at large along with the assistance freely given by approximately 70,000 “games masters” – without the latter the Games would not have been the success they were! HATS OFF TO THE ORGANISERS AND THE ARMY OF VOLUNTEER STAFF!


Editors Note

Something a little more upbeat for a change - all the best everyone...