Thursday, July 06, 2006

Bowing and Doffing in the Lords

The House of Lords had its very first Lord Speaker's procession today. I reported the election here last week. Well the result has been approved the Queen and was announced on Tuesday. Once everyone had breathed a sigh of relief that it wasn't the technicoloured barnet of Baroness Fookes (pictured) who was to be made speaker, we discovered it was to be Baroness Hayman. Just on the subject of Baroness Fookes she is a dame, if someone could let me know whether that is in the pantomime sense of the word or the Dame of the British Empire sense I would be most grateful. Anyway I digress. So Baroness Hayman is the Lord Speaker and had her first procession. Since her £10k robe is at the tailors she was in a humble clerk's robe which resembled a fancy black dressing gown. As she processed round the Lord's corridors vantage points were filled with people wanting sight of this historic occasion. The charming Peer and part time magician Lord Janner was standing next to me. As the noble Lord Speaker paraded Security Officers doffed their hats and spectators bowed (the House of Lords is very keen on hat doffing and bowing). Lord Janner already excited that his friend was Lord Speaker bowed down so low he almost fell over. So dramatic was this bow that Baroness Hayman who had been stone faced up at to that point had to swallow a giggle. It was all very ceremonial and truly historic. However, it was not as historic as the 900 years of Lord Chancellor which Blair happily got away with in the first place.


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