Sunday, 13 December 2009

The Price of Pomp

Above is a photograph of the swearing in of the eleven justices of the Supreme Court, housed at Middlesex Guildhall. (There are 12 justices - one was absent).

The Supreme Court replaces the Law Lords as the last court of appeal in all matters other than criminal cases in Scotland. The court is independent of Parliament and will hear the most important cases. Lord Phillips (right), President of the Supreme Court, said the change in form was important for judicial openness. The judicial function of the House of Lords, whose powers had evolved over centuries, ended with the swearing in of Lord Phillips on the 1st October.

The justices wore black robes threaded with gold, replacing the full-bottomed wigs, robes and breeches of the lords.

Handsome robes aren't they? They should be, they cost us more than £11,500 each and they will only be worn on ceremonial occasions.

The total bill for the finery was £139,000.

The robes are only part of the expense which has been foisted on us taxpayers. The Court features carpets designed by Sir Peter Blake, huge glass panels etched with Magna Carta quotations and bathrooms fitted with Dyson hand-dryers costing £700. Even the bill for its new logo, based on the national flowers of Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland,, reportedly came in at more than £50,000. The total cost of the Court is said to be £59 million.

Scotland's supreme criminal court remains the High Court of Justiciary.


Great Big Billygoat Gruff said...

It appears that Mark MacLachlan's blog is up and running again (aka Montague Burton)

Anonymous said...

When it comes to spending on pomp and ceremony the Brits come fairly high up the list. Mind you, they say that the more of a basket care the country is the more that they waste money on this sort of nonsense.

Wasn't there an article recently in some paper about how much money the MoD spends on dress uniforms. That would be fine if they could find enough money for the lads going into war to get a decent pair of boots.

I hope Scotland is paying a disproportionate amount towards these carpets and stain glass windows, not to mention the robes... given our limited use of their facilities.

Robes, in the 21st century!!!

Anonymous said...

PS... the carpet is hideous. And at that colour it will soon be filthy too, so get ready to stump up for another one pretty soon.

Hammer said...

I feel I have to step in and defend one of the purchasing decisions: the Dyson hand-dryers are the only hand-dryers that I've ever used which actually dry your hands. Worth every penny.

I wonder how much the pomp there costs in comparison to the state opening of Parliament and the Queen's Speeches? All a lot of nonsense these days. I'd much rather see a more modern affair in Westminster, as we have in Holyrood.

subrosa said...

I did find a photo of the carpet Tris but as you say it's hideous.

subrosa said...

I admit I'm a Dyson fan too Hammer but I've yet to use one of his hand dryers. Much prefer paper towels myself.

I too would like to see it moderised but that won't happen for years. You see the politicians just love the pomp and encourage it.

What would they do with all these coaches? Would William sell them off and give the proceeds to charity?

subrosa said...

Thanks Billy.

brownlie said...

How come all these Law Lords can get away with swearing and yet swearing by the peasants is not acceptable.

As a wee free I find their conduct quite disgraceful!

Demetrius said...

On Thursday 24 May "Did Magna Carta Die In Vain". I doubt if the Supreme Court will be doing much English law, it will mostly the latest regulations from Brussels.

eric said...

Don't some folk think judicial robes quite fetching - although obv the colours won't suit everyone. Plus, you have to factor in the extra value of the robes as fancy-dress costumes for the grandchildren. And also plus, don't the judiciary in Scotland and in the European courts wear this kind of stuff? In the latter case, there's a bit of masters of the universe about it. See

Observer said...

Shouldn't these kind of robes be handed over from one incumbent to the next? Give them a good shot of flea spray and they should last for hundreds of years. I thought that was the point of tradition, it was old.

Also when it comes to kitting out Offices etc what is wrong with going to IKEA or places like that? Get any Office furnishing catalogue and look at the prices it is ridiculous.

subrosa said...

Brownlie, one rule for our masters ...

subrosa said...

Yes Demetrius that's true. I had an email from a German reader saying exactly that.

subrosa said...

Aye Eric. Pity they didn't have to do what the military has to do - buy their own fancy dress kits. That would sort them out wouldn't it?

subrosa said...

The article says that will happen Observer, but of course most will disappear over the years.

I've no idea why the likes of Remploy couldn't be used for furnishing government offices. Their goods were of good quality.

Like you I get angry at the way other people's money is spent.

Anonymous said...

It's the assumption that they must always have the best that annoys me. Most of the rest of us have to make do with cheaper things.

I noticed, while looking at the MPs' quite legitimate expenses that the Dundee MPs felt that it was perfectly OK to buy, for second homes, cd palayers at £250+ (McGovern), and picture frames at £30 each (Hosie). Why? I bought a £30 cd palyer and it does the job fine, and picture frames come in a lot cheaper where I shop.

They are easily pelased with the very best that lot.

Specially designed carpet? How far up your own backside can you get?

Great Big Billygoat Gruff said...

I am reminded of the establishment of the Bank for (Eastern) European Development, an EU organisation.

In typical EU horsetrading London got the bank and there had therefor to be French President!

One of the Atalli twins was chosen, can't remember which one. They were very close to Chirac, ENARCS and French so that was all that was necessary.

Incidentally the other twin was in charge of Air France which during his tenancy received the two large government subsidies of any nationalised industry anywhere.

The bank one spent more money on the marble cladding in the entrance hallway than the bank loaned to Eastern Europe in its early years.

Plus ca change?

subrosa said...

Let's face it Tris, if you had a choice of travelling first class or second class and someone else would pay regardless, which would you choose?

subrosa said...

Billy, you bring back memories of that. Plus ca change right enough.

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