I AM learning to appreciate our constitutional monarchy; a head of state, above and beyond politics. The carnage currently being wrought in America, where national leadership has degenerated into partisan point scoring, politics and big business self-interest, lies is a stark contrast to the Queen’s Friday night message to the country.

Once again Her Majesty nailed it. In calm measured tones she paid tribute to the national effort that, as a young princess, she had herself witnessed and to the ultimate sacrifice of many that brought us victory in 1945.

She reminded us that the fitting and lasting tribute to that sacrifice was that countries, once sworn enemies, now worked together as friends. She concluded, “when I look at our country today, and see what we are willing to do to protect and support one another, I say with pride that we are still a nation those brave soldiers, sailors and airmen would recognise and admire”.

Make no mistake. She did not say that the country was at war, or that the national effort to defeat Hitler made over six long, ravaged years, was in any way comparable to sacrifices we have been asked to make in the last six weeks. I was reminded of that when I heard an interview with a Channel Islands survivor who didn’t see her children, evacuated to England, for six long years. (Shameful, then, that the Government’s lockdown adviser couldn’t manage 6 weeks without a tryst…).

The comparison on which she drew was our country’s propensity to work for the ‘common good’. Apparent in wartime; evidenced in the social transformations that came in the wake of the first and second world wars, (Council ‘homes fit for heroes’ and National Parks followed the First World War, the Nye Bevin’s National Health Service and Rab Butler’s Education Act, the second) and firmly reaffirmed through our nation’s outright rejection of Mrs Thatcher’s assertion that there “is no such thing as society”. The recent stories of care workers going to work day after day, lacking adequate protective equipment, to provide vital care for other people’s parents and our most frail and vulnerable citizens, risking their own lives, puts paid, once again, to her infamous claim that “people must look after themselves first.”

I recently discovered that, through the circumstances of my father’s evacuation from Vienna as a child refugee, I could be entitled to Austrian citizenship. I was attracted at the possibility; at the very least, in the face of the Brexit debacle, it would give my son a continued option of studying and living in Europe if he so wished.

It’s looking less attractive. I still do not think our political masters of any persuasion have conducted themselves in a way that commands respect. But despite their efforts, I find myself proud to be living in a nation that “those brave soldiers, sailors and airmen would recognise and admire.”