The Queen deflates the pomposity of Edward Heath and upholds the Commonwealth of nations
First a bit of background.
Bluntly, we believe the evidence, which shows that Prime Minister Edward Heath lied to Britain's people in 1971 when he told them they had nothing to fear from what we now see is the big mess of the EU. He knew of secret plans to create an ever-tighter union, to supplant Britain's laws with EU laws and Britain's flag with the EU flag and Britain's freedom of action with diktats from Brussels and Berlin.
Joining the Common Market and later the EU was completely unnecessary. Britain could have continued trading with Europe without being part of the EU, and without paying its huge annual bill, as Switzerland and Norway have done.
When HM's Prime Ministers would have abandoned the Commonwealth, The Queen stood by the Commonwealth nations, visiting them in her role as head of the Commonwealth, shaking, it is estimated, two million hands.
The Queen alone had the sense to ask, why abandon Britain's trading partnerships with India, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, the Caribbean, South Africa, Nigeria, Malaysia, and Canada?
Joining the European Union with its trade barriers, tariffs, and taxes meant discriminating against Commonwealth nations. Yet Britain's ties with the Commonwealth were friendly, of long-standing, and immensely profitable. It is in this context that John O'Sullivan recently wrote about The Queen in the Wall Street Journal -
At a Buckingham Palace reception for G-7 leaders in the run-up to the first Gulf War, Edward Heath, a former prime minister, was lecturing Secretary of State James Baker on his duty to visit Saddam Hussein in Baghdad.
Baker demurred: [citing] security, etc.
Heath insisted: "I went to Baghdad."
"I know you did," said the third person in the conversation, "but you're expendable."
He had been neatly deflated—and by no less a personage than the Queen.
Not many Americans have seen Queen Elizabeth II in this light: relaxed with heads of government, plainly conversant with great issues, slyly witty. Her constitutional role imposes a highly formal style on her in public. But this private reality explains why her Diamond Jubilee is a world event rather than just a British one.
For the Jubilee is being celebrated in former colonies at least as fervently as in Britain and the 15 other countries of which she remains "Queen Regnant." The 54-nation Commonwealth, which she heads, is expanding. Countries never ruled from London, such as Rwanda and Cameroon, have recently joined. What the Canadian writer Mark Steyn described as "the first multicultural identity—the British Commonwealth one" is not a witty paradox but a durable, even resilient, reality.
Another reason to hail The Queen, and to hope that this Prime Minister or the next understands and advances Britain's true interests.