How the Queen's Speech got my goat
- 8 May 2013
- From the section UK Politics
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