On the 2nd July, 2016, the Queen opened the fifth session of the Scottish Parliament, just eight days after the UK’s Referendum on membership of the EU returned an overall Leave vote but a reasonably strong Remain vote from Scottish voters. Clearly, the Queen could have been walking into a political firestorm but, as always, the Queen’s loyal Royal Communications team anticipated the possibility of embarrassing questions and accordingly met a few days before the Queen’s public appearance at Holyrood, the location of the Scottish Parliament. Following on from the tradition of reporting what takes place during meetings of the Royal Communications team (see also The Queen and the 2014 Scottish Referendum), here is the transcript of the meeting.
Sally Osman – Director of Royal Communications
James Roscoe – Communications Secretary to The Queen
Kristina Kyriacou – Communications Secretary to The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall
Jason Knauf – Communications Secretary to The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry
Osman: Hi people. Well, here we go again. Her Maj is off across the border to open the wretched Scottish Parliament and it’s barely more than a week after the Great British Public voted to leave the EU. Some little Scottish mischief maker is bound to ask what she makes of all this. We need to prepare her with a suitable answer. Come on; thinking caps on.
Roscoe: Jeez. Why doesn’t she just stay in one of her many palaces, watching and learning from Game of Thrones?
Knauf: Good point Jimmy lad…
Osman (interrupting): Oh yes, welcome to the show Jason. I noticed you’d taken over from young Ed. How is he by the way?
(Editor’s note: Ed Perkins used to be the Communications Secretary to The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry. His place has been taken by Jason Knauf, pronounced Naff by the way.)
Knauf: Oh he’s creaming it now. He’s joined some fancy corporate comms and public affairs consultancy called Portland; you know, the sort of people who get rich by making other people rich and famous, like Max Clifford used to do before his fall from grace. I wish Ed well but back to the question. As I see it, the Boss is between a rock and hard place. On the one hand, we have 62% of the Scots voting to remain in the EU, bucking the average 48% nationwide. On the other hand, we have wee Nicola Sturgeon sounding out the possibility of yet another bloody Scottish Referendum in order for Scotland to stay in the EU. I mean, she was seen schmoozing around the top dogs in Brussels last week. She could spell doom for all of us—the breakup of the Union, an SMP collective vote against Brexit in the Houses of Parliament, an alliance with Peter Dinklage to restore the rights of little people. Who knows what trouble she could stir up?
Kyriacou: You’re right Jase. We need something non-political and suitably bland for Her Maj to say before she gets nobbled by our Nicola. She studied at the University of Glasgow, you know. We don’t want her giving the Boss a political Glasgow kiss, now do we? And we certainly don’t want the Boss saying anything about Wee Jimmy Krankie look-alikes. That would be inviting trouble with a capital T.
Osman: Well said Krissie. So, come on chaps, and Kris: give me some words.
Roscoe: How about “Let’s all be friends and put these dark days behind us?”
Osman: Nah, too bland even for Her Maj. Gimme more.
Knauf: How about something religious, you know, something like “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it”? This is from John’s Gospel in the New Testament.
Kyriacou: Whoa, do we have a religious zealot in our midst? Nice try Jase but we used that in the Boss’s Christmas address last year. That’s normally where we park meaningless religious sentiments.
Roscoe: Okay, I’ve got it Sal. How about Her Maj saying something about “staying calm and collected in a challenging world”; maybe with an additional flavour of “making time for quiet thinking and contemplation”? Navel gazing stuff. I don’t think we’ve used that sentiment since the 2014 Scottish Referendum.
Osman: Brilliant Jimmy boy, absolutely brilliant. Yes. Let’s go with that. I’ll do the briefing, as always. You three can take the rest of the day off and go watch tennis at Wimbledon. I hear that Andy Murray is playing again this year. Let’s hope he wins. Oops, he’s a Scot as well. Damn; these Scots are all over the place. Ah well, that’s life. Thanks chaps, and Kris.
And with that, the meeting ended.
Here are the headlines on today’s BBC website plus a couple of national papers.