If 2012 confirmed one thing, it's that we the British are still suckers for a bit of pageantry. In our thousands we braved sodden jubilee garden parties or shivered in cagoules along the banks of the Thames, waving our plastic flags – even those of us who might previously have balked at the thought of being pro-monarchy.
Amid all the benign pomp and patriotism of the summer, anyone who dared to grumble about hereditary privilege and antiquated feudal power looked like a scowling killjoy at odds with the mood of the country. To object to the jubilee celebrations was like saying you hated Christmas. Then came the Olympics, with the Queen gamely doing her bit in Danny Boyle's gloriously irreverent opening ceremony, and here was more reason to celebrate Britishness. We could do pomp and we could subvert it,