The Sketch: This tradition would be even better with sponsorship and a good tune

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The Independent Online

The best line on the Queen's Speech says, "check against delivery". What's the thinking there? She might get carried away? "My government wants to introduce a stricter school inspection regime, but I don't think they should, do you? And as we've all become used to trial by jury I say let's hang on to it?"

The best line on the Queen's Speech says, "check against delivery". What's the thinking there? She might get carried away? "My government wants to introduce a stricter school inspection regime, but I don't think they should, do you? And as we've all become used to trial by jury I say let's hang on to it?"

There was more constitutional modernisation promised in the Gracious Speech. There could be advantages here for her Majesty's Loyal Sketch writers.

The bar service in the Lord's press gallery is useless. Two thirds of the way through the speech I really fancied an apple. But if you ask the doorkeeper for what you want you get quite an old-fashioned look.

And there's far too much silence going on. When the Queen walks to the Lords she does so in silence. It's eerie. It's disturbing. You don't get silence these days.

If anything turns people off politics it's silence. Why not some inspirational theme music? "Don't Stop'' (Thinking About Tomorrow) has always worked before?

The policemen could move to the music to help achieve the target for engaging young people in the democratic process. And if you could get Sainsbury's sponsoring space on the Queen's robe, the whole thing could pay for itself.

Very droll, very amusing. Oh, my aching sides.

We all gathered to sit and wait for the best part of an hour for the Queen. She takes her time every year. We don't seem to resent it, even we who are paid to resent things. We look through the ceremonial sheet as we do every year, smiling at the names. Rouge Dragon Pursuivant. Maltravers Herald Extraordinary.

A bonus: the Lady of the Bedchamber is the fragrant-sounding Diana, Lady Farnham, while the Woman of the Bedchamber is Susan Hussey. I bet she is, I bet she is.

The hubbub bubbled away. I moved seats the better to be able to look down a fabulous snug-in-satin cleavage (I'm honestly trying to rise above these things).

The lights dimmed slightly and at once a Big School silence descended. The thrones glowed a bit more mysteriously. The silence went on for no obvious reason. The Queen was coming.

Prime ministers usually feel themselves to be the most important person in the room but it must be hard when the Queen's there. When prime ministers' mothers die there aren't five-mile queues to see her coffin.

Some ass from the Commons said, "It's all very Gilbert and Sullivan." These traditional forms aren't easy to defend: no one knows what they're for. But imagine this: a Palace fire. We're trying to get out through the fire door.

Our electronic swipe cards have warped in the heat and our hand-held retinal scanners have melted . . . Then, wrapped in cloths of red and gold, Fitzalan Pursuivant Extraordinary strides through the smoke with a rusty, clumsy key that hasn't been used for 150 years.

That's what tradition's for. Joni Mitchell says so, it must be true.

simoncarr75@hotmail.co.uk

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