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WHAT A STATE

07-11-2007

Let's abolish the State Opening of Parliament, says Andy Goff. And while we're at it, why not do away with the family whose job it is to front the whole ridiculous ceremony.

So, the annual farce of the state opening of Parliament has been concluded with its usual pompous nonsense.

The Queen arrived with her vast entourage, elegant in white fur - genuine one presumes - accompanied by the handy Duke, the only one of the bystanders permitted to offer his ageing wife a helping hand out of the state coach (the Irish one, we learn.)

All very impressive, imperial and mind bogglingly expensive.

But just who is this ridiculous ceremony aimed at these days? Are we trying to overawe our European neighbours with our impressive cavalry? Threaten our Commonwealth friends with imperial might if they step out of line? Or just draw in some dosh from the few tourists around at this time of year?

All the Queen does is read from a script, in a flat monotone voice delivery so as not to show any expression of support or disapproval, prepared by the government of the day, and then go back to Buck House.

And what of the speech? To paraphrase: "My government will do lots of things for lots of people, spend lots of money on some things, keep us all safe at night and try and ensure you vote them back in when they call an election.

"Right, now I'm orf 'ome. Get on with it."

London grinds to a halt for a few hours, little old ladies can cluck about how wonderful the Royal family is, police marksmen get to watch from vantage points and then the party is over and normality returns.

What is the point?

Let's do away with this farcical state opening tradition. It makes not one jot of difference to the way our parliamentary system operates and adds nothing to a sense of national involvement for the population.

Personally, I'd do away with the whole darned bunch. I'd rather take our chances with a republic any day than continue with this dysfunctional load of animal killers.

An American friend of mine once said: "If you didn't have the Royal Family we would have to invent it." Maybe a Disney version would do for the tourists instead of us trying to blend fantasy with reality in the seat of government.

Do we need the State opening of Parliament?

And do we need the Royal family?

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