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Smooth sailing?

The state opening of parliament once again crammed in all the pomp and ceremony you can expect from a BBC costume drama.

29 May 2015

But this wasn't Sunday evening and, although the lines the star spoke were written by someone else, this was no Stephen Poliakoff fiction.

The main players were nearly all there: Cameron, Johnson, Grayling, a handsome prince, and the evil stepmother. Unfortunately, the role of Ed Miliband was played by an understudy at this performance. When the star arrived in the pumpkin carriage, everyone was in place, men in tights and lace, ladies in ermine and pearls. The vast community cast - more a 'who's that' than 'who's who' in their first outing - made its way from the wings to the main stage to lay claim to a barely glimpsed view of Her Majesty.

Notwithstanding a majority in parliament, this was the shortest speech in the Queen's reign at 737 words. Many of the principal Conservative manifesto points were covered, of course, but some were less well developed than oth...

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