Heavy responsibilities that sit on shoulders of the Queen

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From: Kenneth Hartford, Durham Mews, Butt Lane, Beverley.

AFTER all the pomp of the Diamond Jubilee, the Queen, poor lady, has a somewhat declining and aged husband to care for and millions of people all over the world relying on her powers of leadership to guide them politically and economically until she feels she must pass on the responsibilities to whoever is prepared to take them on.

It would seem that either Prince Charles or the elder of his two sons William and his wife will be landed with the horribly frightening task (worse than any “action” in the “fields of battle” they have so far experienced). Whether their lives can be risked in such a way is very much a moot point.

The Syrian situation certainly needs solving, as do relationships in many other spheres, but these are the five questions I ask myself every day. Who? What? Where? When and How? These questions are fairly and squarely on the shoulders of the Queen at the moment.

Being only four days her junior, I am at a loss to even guess how she might respond from deep within her wonderful self.

Her father left her “holding the baby” and now the whole country is going to. Dissolving Parliament will be easy for the present Prime Minister and his assistant – especially with the summer break approaching, but what happens after that? Mr Clegg has gained a lot of respect and popularity and if he courted Labour assistance this time, he might, possibly, get it. Certainly, his recent speeches have been very “Liberal” with words. Whether the words would match the actions which might follow is questionable as is the Labour Party’s real support of some of the policies he has and as a Liberal, always claimed to hold.

Personally I was disgusted by the quickening of his step towards Parliament – away from Gordon Brown as fast as possible, without appearing to be hurrying.

Fortunately, Mr Brown had one more card to play – and it was to repay the whole of the remainder of the American debt lent for the disastrous “Peanuts Scheme” and the accumulated interest running into millions. Few people were old enough to understand that, but by being 18 in 1944, I was conscripted (quite against my faith as a Quaker) to go to India, and on to Malaya and Singapore for the next three-and-a-half years.

I saw no action, thank goodness, but I was made to do normal guard duty at night and “look after” (care for) and discipline Japanese PoWs with some other British help, admittedly, including Yorkshire lads, God bless them.

Following on from those years, there was Palestine and then where are we now? Oh dear, youngsters are still dying in battle.

Am I angry? Yes.

From: John Watson, Hutton Hill, Leyburn.

SO William Hague is contemplating sending British troops to Syria. On whose authority?

I can’t see the House of Parliament voting to do so after the Iraq and Afghanistan fiascos where our young men, some barely 20, were led like lambs to the slaughter to pacify warring factions whose ideas on human rights and civilised behaviour differ so fundamentally from our own. The aim in Afghanistan, of course, was to do away with the poppy fields but recent research suggests that the heroin trade is greater than ever and I can also see a return of the Taliban once we withdraw.

The Syrian problem is becoming increasingly sectarian, so who is the enemy? It is becoming a religious conflict as are most skirmishes nowadays.

Why are the Iraqi people having to put up with so many deadly explosions? It is because there are two religious factions, the Sunni and the Shia who can’t live together. The trouble in Sudan was sectarian as is that in Bahrain, and nearer to home of course the dispute in Northern Ireland. If we all worshipped the same God, the world would be a more peaceful place.

Why is it always Britain that gets involved in other wars? There are about 190 members of the United Nations and on the peacekeeping side it is becoming more like the League of Nations and we all know what happened to that.