Ed Miliband wants to get rid of ceremonial dress. He is badly wrong. Such dress emphasises the office, not the holder. A lot more of that emphasis is exactly what we need. In the words of Peter Hitchens in The Broken Compass:
“It is not a coincidence that the country with a Gold State Coach, Erskine May, a Lord Chancellor and a Black Rod is also a country without a secret police force or torture chambers, where the police cannot stop you and demand your papers. Or so it was.”
So it was, when the Welfare State, workers’ rights, progressive taxation and full employment were delivered by a political movement replete with MBEs, OBEs, CBEs, mayoral chains, aldermen’s gowns, and civic services. That movement proudly provided a high proportion of peers, Knights of the Garter, members of the Order of Merit, and Companions of Honour. And those worthies had rejoiced in their middle periods to be Lords Privy Seal, or Comptrollers of the Queen’s Household, or so many other such things, in order to deliver those goods within the parliamentary process in all its ceremony.
So it was.
And so it can be again.