Brian Monteith: Elizabeth has been a queen like no other

Picture: John Stillwell - WPA Pool/Getty Images
Picture: John Stillwell - WPA Pool/Getty Images
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EVEN the most radical republican must recognise that Her Majesty the Queen has, by the standards of British or international monarchs, done exceptionally well.

She has presided over as great a period of change as her distant relative, Queen Victoria. Indeed, the scale and speed of change has possibly been even greater.

Such is her perspicacity and calmness in the face of wittering from politicians, if she were to wear a pair of Ray Bans she would be the coolest person on Earth.

When she was born most people were only just getting acquainted with the wireless. Her coronation some 25 years later – after the most cataclysmic of world wars – was the first to be televised, even though most people did not yet have a TV. By the time her silver jubilee had come most people had seen man set foot on the Moon, and enjoyed the growth of popular culture with Elvis, the Beatles and Rolling Stones – before the arrival of punk rock that year.

Then there was the arrival of not just personal computers but the miniaturisation of technology that means our smartphones are far more powerful than what took man to that Moon. The Empire has become a commonwealth of free nations with more sovereignty than we now enjoy as members of the European Union. Still, she and her subjects have never yet seen Hibs lift the Scottish Cup!

Prime ministers have come and gone, some will be forgotten, some will be remembered but through all of this Her Majesty has been a constitutional rock, she has shown great diplomacy and she has displayed amazing sang froid. Such is her perspicacity and calmness in the face of wittering from politicians, if she were to wear a pair of Ray Bans she would be the coolest person on Earth.

In truth if we wanted to define how a monarch should be or design a new model then her character and performance would be the obvious blueprint.

I don’t write all of this as some gushing hagiography, I am sure the dear lady has her own faults, but let’s be honest she manages to keep them from most of us.

True, there was a time when many of us thought her raising of children left something to be desired, but now that I’ve gone through that test myself and seen others do it up close I recognise it cannot have been easy with all the public attention that she and her consort had to handle.

It is true also that she and her family have not had to want for anything, that they lead a privileged life, but such a comfort is no protection from all that ill-health and family troubles can throw at you. So while hers may not have been an ordinary life, her commitment to serving us by providing the gold standard of service to the people and our country has been extraordinary.

She is welcome to celebrate her birthday in style, and after such solitary sporting landmarks as seeing England winning the World Cup, of Virginia Wade and Andy Murray win Wimbledon and countless Olympic medallist – not least in London during 2012 – what a birthday present it would be were she to see a team like Hibs lift the Cup in this her 90th year.

For whatever the divisions within our country, Elizabeth has been a queen for everyone, and even the most grudging of republicans must thank her for that.

Obama’s a hypocrite and has no right to tell us how to vote on EU

What right does Barack Obama have to tell us how to vote in the EU referendum?

He has been no great friend of the UK and the “special relationship” has never been special to him. He removed Churchill’s bust from the White House and attacked “British” petroleum when it had become half American and changed its name to the initials BP. We all got it. The US would never accept a common currency with Canada and Mexico or have its supreme court in Acapulco or open its borders with its neighbours. Why then should we not reclaim our independence – like the US claimed it from us? The man is a walking hypocrite and not worthy of his office.

Covering all the angles with a bet on Blues

After attending the last three cup finals in which Hibs have appeared – and lost – I do feel at times that my middle name must be Jonah.

Fortunately I have seen them lifting five other cups at Hampden to know it is not impossible for the team to get their hands on silverware.

So, I will make the trek to Hampden once again, more in hope than anticipation – but this time I intend to splash out and take a hospitality package and put a bet on the Blues.

At least that way if my team loses I’ll have had a slap-up meal and won’t have paid for it – and (when) Hibs win it will have been worth every penny!

Treasury of scaremongers

This week’s Scaremonger of the Week is a slam dunk – it has to be Her Majesty’s Treasury – for the outrageous idea that we will all be £4,300 worse off in 2030 if we leave the European Union

Aye, right! The figures are nonsense, as they only consider the risks and not the benefits of leaving the EU. They also are wrong, because the GDP of 2030 is divided by the number of households in 2015, so as the population will increase by well over three million it should be a far lower figure. More importantly the Treasury document is based upon 3.3 million more migrants arriving in the UK – is that really what we want when ours schools, hospitals and housing are already over stretched?