hutch0 (hutch0) wrote,

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rotten boroughs

I sometimes wonder what goes through the Queen's mind as she reads the speech at the State Opening of Parliament. The speech is always written by government speechwriters, not by her, so the language is that of the government of the time. I can't remember the Blair-era speeches, but hearing the Queen today using Brown phrases like `global economic downturn' sounded very odd. Incidentally, is it just me or was the State Opening very late this year? They'll only get a week or so's work done before they all go off on their Christmas holidays. Unlike myself, who as usual will only get Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's Day off.

After the State Opening, everyone went back to their jobs, and the Speaker of the House of Commons read out a statement about the circumstances behind the arrest of Damian Green and the search of his offices at Westminster. Basically, the Speaker knew nuffink - it was all the fault of the Serjeant-at-Arms (the official in charge of security at the House of Commons) who let them in without a search warrant.
There was something of a sharp intake of breath at this point, when MPs heard that Special Branch had turned over Green's office without a warrant, but apparently under the Police And Criminal Evidence Act they're allowed to do this if the person in charge lets them in by filling in some kind of form. The Serjeant-at-Arms was entirely within her rights to send them away with a flea in their ears, but she, in common with 99.9999% of the British populace, seems to be ignorant of the small print in PACE. Whether the police officers neglected to say to her, `Oh, by the way, you could just tell us to sod off' or not, may come out in the `urgent' inquiry into the police handling of the affair which was announced yesterday. Anyway, it looks as if the Serjeant-at-Arms - the first woman to hold the post in four hundred-odd years - is being lined up to take the fall. This one will run, but I suspect it will run in more and more constitutionally-arcane circles, until nobody but the most nitpicking Parliamentarian cares any more.

I spent this afternoon plastering around the doorway of the Little Room With All The Boxes and sort of half-listening to the debates and the news commentators, and at one point I swear I heard one commentator say that one of the proposals listed in the Queen's Speech was a new Bill making it against the law `to cause a nuclear explosion.' I've been looking for this and I can't find it, so maybe he was making a joke. Surely it's already against the law to cause a nuclear explosion. Isn't it...?
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