The start of a new session at Westminster is heralded in by the Queen’s speech. The name is a misnomer as it is not actually the monarch’s speech at all, the Queen reads out the U.K. governments proposed bills for the coming session. For some unfathomable reason this involves a procession from Buckingham palace of royals and hangers on, the wearing of ermine robes, jewelled tiaras, fanciful military attire and the utilisation of gold thrones. This year, due to the Queen’s advancing years and poor health her sprightly 73-year-old son got to read out the speech. As I said, it is not his speech, but it does rankle with me that someone born into a position of immense wealth and privilege, wearing a ridiculous ruritanian uniform and sitting on the fore-mentioned gold throne is imparts such vacuous nonsense, none of which is designed to help those most in need during these trying times. The Queen’s speech was void of any substantial bills that will help lift people out of poverty, support people in old age, or stimulate economic growth. The pantomime of black rod banging on the door, the procession of MPs up to the Lords and all the accompanying pomp and circumstance is an affront to the seriousness of the austerity crisis that faces the U.K. today. These occasions only serve to support the concept of a class system. The bowing and scraping to the aristocrats and doffing of caps should be consigned to the rubbish bin along with the regal trappings and faux military attire. How can we applaud a 73-year-old man that has not seen one day of military action in his life, dressed up like some conquering hero being lauded for reading out loud while so many ex-military personnel sleep rough on our city streets, while casualties of PTSD struggle to get the help and support they deserve? We need to change our priorities and start focusing on the most needy in society and not be dazzled by the pantomime of royal privilege.