Queen’s speech: Images from today’s Royal opening of Parliament as Cameron talks of ‘blue collar Conservatism’

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David Cameron’s aim to stick up for working people has set tongues wagging with talk of “blue collar Conservatism” to consign Labour governments to the history books.

But as the Queen delivered the Tory Government’s plans with characteristic pomp, surrounded by bizarrely titled men and women, there were few blue collars in sight.

Picture of the royal procession making it's way back to Buckingham Palace after the State Opening of Parliament. (Picture: Cpl Georgina Coupe/MoD Crown Copyright/PA Wire)

Picture of the royal procession making it's way back to Buckingham Palace after the State Opening of Parliament. (Picture: Cpl Georgina Coupe/MoD Crown Copyright/PA Wire)

Instead, the monarch was flanked by peers carrying the Sword Of State and the Cap of Maintenance and watched by the Master of the Horse and the Gold Stick in Waiting.

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The House of Lords was filled with peers, peeresses and dignitaries resplendent in ermine, robes, turbans, keffiyehs and more tiaras than a sixth form ball.

The Queen was routinely faultless in her delivery, although some of the political buzzwords written into her Gracious Speech seemed to jar with the surroundings.

With grandees like the Fitzalan Pursuivant Extraordinary present, it is odd to hear the Queen setting out commitments to a “long term plan” and a “northern powerhouse” - normally uttered by a Cabinet minister in a hard hat and hi-vis, not a monarch who genuinely dazzled in crown and gown.

But the messages were delivered and tricky passages referring to “psychoactive drugs” passed by without trouble.

Indeed, the speech itself is rarely a source of great drama and this year’s excitement happened across Parliament’s grand central lobby in the House of Commons.

As the Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod had the Commons door customarily slammed in his face before being allowed entry, the MPs he was sent to gather probably felt they knew what was coming next.

But veteran Labour man Dennis Skinner, the Beast of Bolsover, the normally reliable provider of a caustic State Opening wisecrack directed at Black Rod, sat in silence as MPs filed to the Lords.

And as a tradition ended in the Commons, a commoner managed to break it in the Lords.

After MPs gathered in the upper chamber, new Lord Chancellor Michael Gove shunned the traditional wig as he handed the Queen her speech.

But even worse for the purists, he declined to walk backwards away from the monarch as his forebears had done, instead turning his back on her.

Then it was over to the Queen who, with her innate composure, set out the Government’s legislative programme with no hitches.

With the Duke of Edinburgh sitting regally in uniform at her side, and the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall watching on and glimpsing their probable futures, she delivered in eight minutes the first Conservative-only plan for the country since 1996.

And while there may not have been a blue collar in sight, the cobalt streak in Tory frontbench peer Baroness Neville-Rolfe’s hair reminded all present that the Government is truly blue again.

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