W e would be surprised if the idea to give every school child in Portsmouth a commemorative mug to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee provoked too much of a debate.
Of course, our politicians should not be profligate with public money, and neither should they make unacceptable cuts in essential services. So Labour leader Jim Patey should not be criticised for wanting assurances on those points after the proposal from Lib Dem city council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson.
But the anticipated cost of up to £5,000 should surely be within the authority’s spending powers, even in these days of stringency.
And of course, realising the ambition of finding a suitable sponsor for the project would be ideal.What concerns us more is the timing of the proposal.
The Diamond Jubilee bank holiday celebrations are now just a matter of weeks away and, if children are to be given commemorative mugs, surely it would have been better for them to have been handed out in time for them to be filled with a cool, refreshing drink at one of the many street parties planned for Portsmouth.
As it is, the council is only just at the stage of writing to the Queen asking her approval for her portrait, in a Portsmouth setting, to be used as the design.
We hope that there is an early reply from Buckingham Palace, a swift resolution to the search for a sponsor and, if necessary, the release of public funds.
Children from this era will undoubtedly carry in their minds memories of a momentous celebration, just as those of other generations still recall and recount the silver jubilee parties of 1977, the Coronation celebrations of 1953 and even the VE and VJ knees-ups of 1945.
But along with those memories, we hope that children can also treasure in later life a tangible memento of a moment in time, in this case a commemorative mug.
Many from previous anniversaries and milestones in history still hold pride of place on mantelpieces and in cabinets in homes around the area. A Diamond Jubilee mug would be a welcome addition.