STATE OPENING OF PARLIAMENT – MUCH FUN HAD BY ALL
Today the ancient ritual of the state opening of parliament was performed as it has been in this kingdom for so many years. As with many of the ceremonies we hold in the
After having a jolly nice breakfast and a read of the morning papers the reigning monarch – in this case her Britannic Majesty Queen Elizabeth II by the Grace of God, may God Bless Her and All Who Sail in Her – makes their way to the Houses of Parliament. After a robbing ceremony in the Lords section of the House, where she is surrounded by enormous artworks depicting our Glorious British History (such as Arthur, Merlin and other important aspects of our national history) the monarch proceeds towards the House of Commons.
The Commons is, of course, the chamber where the elected representatives of the People (those folk Prince Charles likes to keep in their place apparently) meet to hurl obscenities at one another. Some cynics say that it is just a chamber where Fat Cats fill in endless slips demanding money from the Gravy Train of Public Funds, but this is simply not the case – they have their offices for that. Since the 1600s, although the Sovereign is still the Head of State, the supremacy of the Parliament has been paramount (indeed this was made explicit by a rather vulgar man called Mr Cromwell who had a disagreement with Charles I about the exact role of the Head of State, which lead to the aforementioned Head departing from the Shoulders of State. He was a vulgar man, and if alive today would almost certainly be subject to penalty under the anti-yob legislation). As such, although Queen, she must ask permission to enter the chamber.
This has been done for centuries in the same, simple but dignified manner: her Majesty has her servant Black Rod knock on the Chamber door three times. For those unfamiliar with the archaic terms used in the British Parliament, the Black Rod is a public office from the Tudor period. Its exact origin is unclear but it is thought to come down to us from the time of the famous Queen Elizabeth and involves a large, strapping, black manservant and a very large Unicorn horn. Even Virgin Queens need some fun, you know. Why do you think the Unicorn is on our coat of arms? After Black Rod has knocked three times the Speaker of the House will open a slot on the door and whisper: “who’s there?” To which the Queen will reply with a most carefully crafted Knock Knock joke. Each new Opening requires a fresh new Knock Knock joke and the Queen’s Jesters in Extraordinary labour for many months to ensure a new punchline for each occasion.
This is followed by the Sovereign raising their voice and calling, “little politicians, let me in or I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your House of Commons down.” It is worth noting that in the long centuries of parliamentary history here this threat has never, ever been carried out – even Henry VIII balked at it; it is more in the form of a ritualistic rather than actual threat. The Speaker of the House will now defend the rights of the House over the Monarch by answering, “Not by the hairs of your inbred chinless chinny chin chin.” (This part of the dialogue is most unfortunate given the age of the present Queen since it is well known many elderly women suffer form unsightly facial hair problems and are sensitive to the problem, although not, it should be noted, sensitive enough to shave). Having thus established that Parliament is therefore supreme over even the Monarch the ritual is concluded, except for several hours of procession in glittering costumes (well, Dimbleby has to have something to witter on about on the BBC coverage), a light lunch at which the Monarch shows there are no hard feelings over the old Civil War and Charles I head thing by supplying all the Members of Parliament with a Steak and Kidney Pie (or two for John Prescott) and a pint of Newton and Riddley’s finest (or four for John Prescott). There then follows the Queen’s Speech, which is not actually written by the Queen or anything she actually has any say in whatsoever as it is written by the government and details what they are going to do in the next session of parliament (well, maybe, if they get round to it – it’s kind of like electoral promises you see, some of it may be quietly dropped if found to be inconvenient or if Tony doesn’t like it).
THAT QUEEN’S SPEECH
As the full Queen’s Speech takes seventeen hours to conclude in full (including encores) and is as dull as a religious broadcast on Radio Belgium we thought we’d bring you the highlights. Her Majesty’s Government (by which we mean Tony and his select few unelected mates, we wouldn’t let those buggers in the Cabinet have a say, scruffy lot) shall introduce new Terror Legislation. This is designed, as the name implies, to Terrify the People in order that they will happily sign away more civil liberties, erode human rights legislation and deflect attention away from the quagmire of