Monday, 2 June 2014
A New Session
This week the Palace of Westminster will see the State Opening of Parliament. This will mark the start of a new session of the 2010 Parliament - and its last. It will run until dissolution prior to the General Election.
There's an informative publication on State opening available here. If you are going to watch it, you'll learn the government's legislative programme for the session. (This has been heavily trailed - and the next few days will see newspapers, TV & radio analysing the announcements). But the best part of the day is watching the ceremonies - many rooted in events from British history. On Tuesday the palace will be searched - but it'll be more than the usual police and their sniffer dogs. The Yeomen of the Guard will ceremonially search the palace - a memory of the search which led to the arrest of Guy Fawkes in 1605. Sadly that may not be televised.
You will see the traditional slamming of the door in Black Rod's face as he approaches the House of Commons. He will have marched down the short passages between the Lords, where the Queen, seated on the throne, sent him to summon the Commons. To make the point that they will not do everything the Monarch demands the Speaker orders the doors closed. After the third knock, he relents. It is a reminder of the Commons' independence (from the Queen - sadly not of the Executive - Her Government.)