Tuesday, November 23, 2004

May the blessing of almighty God rest upon your counsels

No, that's not me coming over all full of fervent piety after my recent admission that I swear far too much. It's what the Queen said at the end of her speech at the state opening of parliament today, and I'm really rather struck by it. You can take the Queen or leave her as you choose, but isn't that just a really nice thing to say to her hard-working minions? Maybe I'll say it to all my hard-working minions in class tomorrow!

Anyway, this week's link is to the full text of the Queen's speech, as it's a fascinating example of a very highly ritualised form of public language. Don't imagine for a second that this is how Elizabeth Windsor "really talks", or that she sat down with her laptop and a cup of PG Tips and bashed this out herself. In fact, the government writes it for her, and she just gets to read it out in her fancy robes. But do have a close look at it, and think about all the ways in which the language used encodes power, authority, status and control. And then consider the view that it successfully asserts all of these things without, as one commentator put it today, swinging a single vote in the country.

Does that make it a good speech or a bad speech?....

The Queen's speech in full


Post a Comment

<< Home