How the Queen's Speech got my goat


Oh dear. The Queen's Speech has already got my goat. Let me explain.

I reported this morning that the Gracious Speech is written on vellum with ink that takes three days to dry so it cannot be amended at the last minute. True... until recently but, apologies, I now learn it is not any more. I regret to have to report that the goat has fallen victim to the age of austerity. This year's speech will be written on plain - or, in truth, rather posh - paper.

"Going goat" is still a phrase used in Whitehall to describe the moment when the Queen's Speech has to be finalised and sent to the Palace for Her Majesty's approval. That is several days before it is delivered.

This year that meant it was completed before not after the local elections which, as I reported, meant that the measures announced could not be a response to UKIP's triumph at the polls.

Analysis right. Fact wrong. Sorry.

PS I blame Fergie trauma for my error...

UPDATE 2pm: When is a goat not a goat? When does a mea culpa become not so culpa after all?

Just when you thought Goatgate had been cleared up, along comes the official line: It is not on vellum anymore. It is on "goatskin parchment paper" but confusingly it's not actually goatskin. However it is very high quality, thick paper, which is why the ink takes several days to dry, and it then needs to be bound into a booklet, before being sent on to Her Majesty for signing. So it did have to go to the printers last week. And the paper does have the watermark of a goat....

That's enough goats - Ed

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  • rate this

    Comment number 21.

    Very true we could single out the biggest threat to our National Security by association i.e. the United States and Israel!

  • rate this

    Comment number 20.

    Great comment. I do feel that you should check out this website as I know a couple of grad students who have just launched there site feel very much like your teasing them right now! haha. Great comment though. Thanks.

  • rate this

    Comment number 19.


    Stop acting the giddy goat!

    Tell us how much all the pageantry cost?

    This week in the news people are borrowing to pay for their food - how much did today cost?

    1000 or so people + their clobber + the rehearsal + security ~ £5 million? Or as meals for children - 10 million meals, eh?

    And you take the goat!?

  • rate this

    Comment number 18.

    What the Conservatives want is irrelevant as they are in a coalition with the Liberal Democrats and both parties have to agree the Government's legislative programme.

    Criticise the Liberal Democrats all you like but just think what would be happening if they weren't there to reign in the Tory back benchers.

  • rate this

    Comment number 17.

    Immigration policies are cursed with half measures and tinkering rather than wholesale change.
    We need cast iron no frills policies that make it very clear to our economic migrants where the goal posts lie.
    Personally I would only allow visa access from nations that pose no terror threat, in one move you could eliminate 10's of 000's of new comers based on national security.

  • rate this

    Comment number 16.

    What? You shed a tear for that long time harasser of match officials? That walking advert for Wrigglies? Prepare yourself to welcome the 'Special One'! Queen's Speech? Full of knee-jerk stuff I'm afraid, or is that just jerk. Re-inventing the wobbly wheels they've already cobbled together.

  • rate this

    Comment number 15.

    Perhaps when the vellum was dispensed with the reader likewise could also have followed! Time for an elected head of state as in other grown up democratic countries in the 21st century!

  • rate this

    Comment number 14.

    At the same time as some LibDem is claiming that the legislation will make all well, there's a news story about the bleak outlook for welfare. So, it's more of the same from the Tories - plenty for the haves; cuts for the have-nots - with the LibDems on hand to make the destruction of our society possible. Champers all round.

  • rate this

    Comment number 13.

    Her Majesty has been reading her speech from a typescript for years... even if the hand-scribed vellum version has been in the purse alongside it.

    The really beautiful thing is how a mediocre speech has been eclipsed completely by Sir Alex Ferguson's retirement!

  • rate this

    Comment number 12.

    Very sad today that the government has chosen the Queen's speech to deliver yet more negative propaganda about immigrants.

    For the last 20 years the UK has been in the forefront of anti-racism. Now it seems politicians are tripping over themselves to blame immigrants for everything from the pension defecit to the banking crisis.

    Please stop it now before you stoke up any more resentment.

  • rate this

    Comment number 11.

    Who cares what it is written on. It is the content that matters. We are bogged down by meaningless pomp and ceremony in stead of focussing on the job!

  • rate this

    Comment number 10.

    4 & 6 re

    Suspect it will be susceptible to trolls.

  • rate this

    Comment number 9.

    Fergie's never responsible for anything that goes wrong. You need to blame the ref.


  • rate this

    Comment number 8.

    Another Queen's Speech that puts more people in to the welfare pot but at the same time the welfare pot is been cut so how are they going to balance the books the only way this can work is for councils to increase council tax or and cut other council services
    The whole welfare is going to collapse under the weight of demand
    No mention of a bill forcing a vote on the EU on who ever wins next

  • rate this

    Comment number 7.


    that's a good idea, since the UK is facing a huge participation crisis at the moment, this helps.

    I'm not exactly one for the monarchy either. although they are a tourist attraction...
    personally i think that people who don't vote in the electiopns shouldn't complain about who is in charge.

  • rate this

    Comment number 6.

    Very good Nick! You really must check out the website just launched by a couple of students about political stuff that gets on your goat!. I'm sure it must feel very much like your teasing them! haha. Thanks.

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    Then you miss the apostrophe from your title. More fergie trauma?

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    Great turn of phrase Nick! Coincidentally check out a very cool site called, which is run by two young grads who want ordinary people to react to politics by talking about stuff that gets their goat. More goating, please! Politics can be so boring otherwise.

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    What would Tevye say?

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    Now we know!

    Or, do we?

    "Several days" for Royal consideration. Or just rehearsal?

    Do we know Her Majesty's criteria for "approval"?

    Have they changed, in any way 'evolved'?

    Have there been rejections?

    Of spelling, grammar, style, or content?


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