June 3 Britain will celebrate HM The Queen’s 60 years on the throne. Communal parties will be part of the feel-good factor sweeping the streets and their likely number and participation could well be huge as people try to forget the financial crisis in the eurozone and back home in debt-ridden Britain.
It is likely that the number of street parties this June will be at least 10,000 – double the number for Kate Middleton’s marriage to Prince William in 2011. Official figures suggest it might even match the Coronation of 1953.
Already the union flags are everywhere, with a fetching glitter effect across fashionable Carnaby Street in London. Shopkeepers are looking to cash in on the trio of the Diamond Jubilee, London Olympics and Euro 2012 soccer tournament in Poland and Ukraine. The latter because of the football fanatical following in Britain.
But for ordinary consumers the Jubilee event also marks a chance to be briefly liberated from the out-of-pocket everyday crisis that has imprisoned us since 2007.
What we may witness is that street parties will be a big hit this year, as they have been anytime we have been in or just coming out of a crisis, political, social or economic.
Street parties started as “Peace Teas” in 1919 after the signing of the Peace Treaty of Versailles following bestial World War One.
There were Silver Jubilee parties for King George V in 1935 and for coronations of successive monarchs. But the highest point for street party attendance and proliferation of street parties in the UK was in 1977 for HM The Queen’s Silver Jubilee. Back then we suffered a horrific stagflation problem, albeit rather dwarfed by subsequent crises.
In 1977, 10 million people took part in street parties. By 2002 for the Golden Jubilee, that number shrank and there was a lot less “fuss” around Her Majesty’s 50-year milestone. The only blemish was last year’s Royal Wedding of Kate Middleton to Prince William – few parties and in places like Hull none even registered.
Now in 2012 the Diamond Jubilee looks like it will be a hit again as the crisis carries on.
The 1977 jubilee: