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

Nick Robinson Article written by Nick Robinson Nick Robinson Political editor

What a difference a day makes

In just 24 hours, Sir Malcolm Rifkind went from angry defiance to a grim-faced acceptance that he would have to quit his job as an MP and chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee.

Read full article

More on This Story

More from Nick


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 61.

    53. Its been a very long time since there has been even a semblance of representative government.

    The BBC if it wishes to support the idea its reporting is unbiased should question the relevance of a party system in a progressive democracy.

    I think a delegative system in which parties have no place is the way to go. But it will be a long haul to educate citizens to become participants.

  • Comment number 60.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 59.

    I thought your coverage of the State Opening very chippy, Nick. Every opportunity was taken to trivialise the traditional side. I am surprised no-one has demanded to know the cost of it all.... Same old BBC....

  • rate this

    Comment number 58.

    #44. jon112dk
    "After years of successful oppression, a non-nazi party openly raised the issue we are not allowed to speak of.
    I'm not that keen on UKIP as a national government - but well done for this."

    Is that the sound of a closet door opening?
    Your old adversary Steve_M-H will be chuffed.

  • rate this

    Comment number 57.

    Come on, let's not scapegoat Nick for the BBC's lack of hard news and analysis:
    But with so many goats around, he should be able to count to three with a calendar. Even if he doesn't use his fingers, goats have four legs so that should have the Fri, Sat, Sun, Mon count from the elections sorted. ;-)


Comments 5 of 61


Features & Analysis

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • Audi R8Best in show

    BBC Autos takes a look at 10 of the most eye-catching new cars at the 2015 Geneva motor show


  • Kinetic sculpture violinClick Watch

    The "kinetic sculpture" that can replicate digital files and play them on a violin

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.