For 70 years across the British Isles, Queen Elizabeth II has had her initials marked on lamp posts, post boxes, stamps and coins. And, for the last 30 at least, there’s never been a Big Issue vendor too far away.
As we approach the official Platinum Jubilee for Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor, to give her her birth name, we asked our vendors what they would do if they could trade places. Fix the cost of living crisis? A housing programme that actually works? Or just abdicate and lead the country forth into a bright, blue republican future? Here are their answers.
Lawrence, M&S, Chiswick, London
I’d put in a programme to provide housing for everybody, everybody should have the right to have a key to a front door of their own. And I’d pay myself a lot of money.
Bless her. You’ve got to respect her for her longevity and standing for her principles, I have a lot of respect for the Queen. Not necessarily for the royal family, but for the Queen. I’ll raise a glass of elderflower for the Jubilee.
Lee Welham, Round Church, Cambridge
I suppose I’d get rid of this Tory government. I’d start fresh and get some youngsters in charge. Start a whole new revolution! It’d have to be something political because right now we’re in such a mess.
My mum was always a bit of a royalist, but for me personally I just say good luck to them. They’re just people to me. To be honest, I’ll probably have a barbecue with some friends and family because we’ve got all the extra days off, so I’ll probably make it a bit of an event.
Ian Duff, Union Street, Bath
Where do you start with that? What would I do? I’d decree it illegal to be homeless. That’s a good one.
I think she’s great. The monarchy stabilises our country and I think they’re a good figurehead. If we only had the government to look at, it wouldn’t be so great, would it? I’ll be celebrating the Jubilee – I’ve been invited to my neighbour’s place for a little party in the afternoon.
Nick Cuthbert, M&S, Lemon Quay, Truro
I think free food for the day would be a good idea right now.
I won’t be celebrating the Jubilee, but that’s not the best thing to say is it? I’ll be working and I’ll just have a big smile on my face while I do it. We’ve got a few things happening on Lemon Quay and that’s right on my pitch.
James Allerton, Wilko, Ilkeston
If I was in charge for the day I’d probably just do what I normally do, my normal day-to-day life. I don’t want to look like I’m higher up than everybody else. I don’t feel like I’d feel any different, you know? I’d just want to feel like a normal person.
I do follow her, I listen to her when she comes on TV and stuff like that. She makes sense at the end of the day. I’ll be celebrating the Jubilee but I’ll be trying to sell magazines as well. There’s going to be a party in Victoria Park in Ilkeston, so I’m going to speak to the council to see if I can stand outside the gate to sell the magazine.
Richard Cotterill, Morrisons, Totnes
Abdicate! I can only think of something humorous to say because I honestly wouldn’t want to do it. Someone else can do it, thanks.
It’s not that I’m not a fan, I’m just sort of ambivalent. I think it’s a bit antiquated. It seems like it was a normal and necessary thing in years gone by to have a head of state but now with so-called democracy I’m not quite sure what they’re there for. And there’s the negative stories coming out now with Prince Andrew. Some people are really heavily anti-monarchy. I’m not one of those but I guess I don’t see the point.
Alina Baboi, Lloyd’s Bank, Stratford-upon-Avon
I probably won’t be celebrating the Jubilee. I probably won’t do anything.
I do have respect for the Queen. She is a strong lady. I’m not really into the whole royal thing but I guess
John Williams, Waterstones, Swansea
I’d sort out the fuel and the poverty. That’s come to mind because it’s a sorry state of affairs for people at the moment.
I like the Queen because we need something genuine – especially now. She’s a great figurehead and there’s not so much politics with the Queen’s role as there is elsewhere now. The Jubilee is a big milestone so I’ll be celebrating.
George Anderson, BBC HQ and Oxford Circus, London
If I was sovereign for the day (or maybe longer), I would be aiming to invest and encourage things to do for regulation of the climate, not just in terms of climate change, but also climate manipulation. In the spirit of the legend of Camelot when it wasn’t allowed to rain before eight o’clock at night, I’d have sunshine every day. I think that would have a contribution to world peace. How’s that?
Will Herbert, Budgens, Upper Street, London
If I was Queen for the day, I would look after The Big Issue, and the homeless.
She’s a top lady. When I met her I thought she was fantastic. A bit small, but fantastic.
Jules Daniels, Pilot, High Street, Leicester
I’d want to get people working on climate change, picking up litter and recycling. I’d obviously want to sort out Ukraine and help all the refugees all over the world. I’m a people person so I like those sorts of things. It would be a busy day.
I do like the Queen. It’s understandable that she can’t do as much now as she’s 96. Look back to history, she was there in World War 2 driving people around. She’s very hands-on, isn’t she? She’s got on with it and not complained. I’ll be celebrating – I still remember the street parties as a kid. Everyone got their chairs out and they got together in the gardens and it was really nice. I’ve not done it since then so I’d like to do it again.
Dave Martin, Tesco, Hammersmith, London
If I was in charge for the day I would have all the homeless people moved into permanent accommodation with the support they need for a better life.
She has been a great ambassador for this country, and I think she is well-loved and is still dedicated to the people even now she is getting more frail.
Bernie Buxton, Mutley Plain, Plymouth
Give Scotland its freedom!
In Scotland you have a choice of swearing to God or to the Queen and I’m Catholic so I chose God. I’ll leave it at that.
Simon Gravell, former Topshop, Norwich
I’d give everybody a pay rise and halve the electric bills!
I think the Queen is probably one of the best assets in this country. She’s a stable figurehead. She might not be democratically elected. But would you rather have an idiot like Trump representing you? Or even Boris Johnson?
We’ll see what Prince Charles brings to the table after her but I think Prince William will do a fantastic job.
Paul Logan, Oxford Circus, London
I would donate many of my castles to the homeless and I would also give out at least 30-40 per cent of my money to the poor. She’s a lovely lady.