After the ‘Bow Row’ widely published in the right-wing media yesterday, I became curious about the Queen’s Speech and the state opening of Parliament.
Of course, I found it on Wikipedia, discovering paragraph after paragraph of information, some of it interesting, some of it bizarre and some of it amusing, such as the grand opening being kicked off by the Yeoman of the Guard checking the cellars just in case of a repeat of the Gunpowder Plot.
Anyway, rather me copying and pasting, you can go here to read all about it but one of the things that stood out for me, was the following sentence.
‘On Black Rod’s approach, the Doorkeeper of the Commons orders that the doors are slammed shut against him, symbolising the rights of parliament and its independence from the monarch’.
That, in my opinion, is very important to remember as Parliament was formed, independent to the Monarch, to represent democracy and freedom from the fear of getting your head cut off just because the King or Queen didn’t like you.
By tradition, I think I am right in saying that it is only protocol for Black Rod and the Speaker to bow to the Queen whilst MP’s can do so if they see fit. It is not protocol for MP’s to bow and it could be argued that it goes against the tradition of independence to do so as it demonstrates subservience.
What I am saying is that the storm The Daily Express, The Sun and The Mail are trying to whip up is a non-story and how an MP chooses to react when seeing the Monarch, is totally irrelevant to the workings of Parliament.
Within parliament, those with a leaning to a monarchy or a republican state should be treated with equal respect. Whether they are one or the other is not a barometer of loyalty to your nation. France, Germany and Ireland are Republics and they are arguably more patriotic than the British, so it is a poor argument to suggest that if you are not a supporter of the monarchy you are some kind of traitor.
Personally, I don’t really care if we are Monarchy as long as parliament remains the main power in the country because, ultimately, it is voted in by the people and remains democratic; we saw that after Theresa May had to abandon much of her manifesto after her failure to win a landslide majority.
However, whilst the Queen and her family should be treated with a respect for tradition, I do feel that bowing is demeaning and an admission of subservience which should have been abandoned centuries ago.
That’s down to choice granted by freedom of course and whilst that freedom should also be granted to The Mail, The Sun and The Express to write what they wish, it would be useful if they got their facts right before they published.
If you were taken in by this nonsense, can I suggest you spend a bit of time on Wikipedia reading about the State opening of Parliament and the Magna Carta. They are really fascinating aspects of British democracy and testimony to those who created a parliament for the people.
I don’t mean to sound patronising when I say that, but when I hear people banding around words such as ‘traitor’ I do wonder if they know how Parliament came about, the creation Magna Carta, and what it all stands for.
Paul Dacre, Rupert Murdoch and Richard Desmond, judging by their comments, obviously have a desire for something entirely different.
A dictatorship perhaps?