Now I don’t want to sound like I’m angling for a knighthood, but I'm a great admirer of the Queen. I think she stands for lots of very good things, including wise leadership. Strictly speaking of course, she hasn't led the country, but nevertheless she's shown great leadership in the way that she has been a figurehead for the nation and the Church of England for a remarkable 60 years and in the way that she has advised an extraordinary succession of prime ministers.
Now I have no doubt that her sense of dedication and duty, and wisdom as a leader comes from God and hard work, but I do want to suggest that she's got something working in her favour. And that's the fact that she doesn't have to be elected. The problem with being a politician in a democracy is that you are accountable to the electorate. If the voters are unhappy with you, all too soon you are an ex-politician, clutching your P45.
This need to have your eye on the ballot box and be popular with the people really doesn't help you in making the sort of difficult decisions that leaders need to make. Of course we can all point to ‘leaders’ in history and around the world who haven’t cared at all about popularity, and steadfastly disregarded the needs and cries of their people with disastrous consequences, but, in a democracy, people are always going to vote for Santa rather than Scrooge. Someone once asked a politician why he always followed public opinion. ‘I have no choice’ he said sadly ‘I'm their leader.’
The wisdom of being a monarch is that you are utterly independent and are not, in that troubling phrase, ‘answerable to the electorate’. That independence gives you a great deal of freedom; most importantly, the freedom to do what you believe is right, rather than what is popular.
Several times in the Bible we read that ‘The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom’ and I take it to mean that true wisdom comes from taking your bearings from God, rather than anyone or anything else and it is obvious from the Queen’s attitudes and actions that she does that. The beauty of lifting your eyes to heaven is that you are able to take your eyes off the opinion polls and ballot boxes.
Oh and God bless you Ma'am.
Revd. Canon J.John