TO watch the ceremonial state opening of the Westminster parliament is to witness a spectacle of grim absurdity.

This year saw no horse-drawn carriage as Queen Elizabeth II, on the advice of her doctors, did not attend for the first time since 1963 due to mobility issues. However, we were nevertheless treated to the ridiculous sight of the Imperial State Crown being afforded its own chauffeur-driven car as part of the royal procession.

At least before, carbon emissions only came from the horses.

But climate change targets apparently don’t apply for the cars of crown jewels, especially a crown that contains, as the Historic Royal Palaces website breathlessly describes: “2868 diamonds, 17 sapphires, 11 emeralds, 269 pearls and four rubies!”

READ MORE: Large screens to be erected in Edinburgh's Princes Terrace Gardens for Queen's jubilee

Just don’t ask awkward questions about where the gems came from. That wouldn’t be proper.

The BBC’s Huw Edwards sonorously narrates the scene on the state broadcasting channel, in the seemingly totally sincere belief that this is some sort of sacred ritual that must not be questioned or, heaven forfend, mocked.

If this were North Korea (or indeed Russia), commentators would be falling over themselves to criticise such a slavish ceremony.

Yet any mild mockery of the sight of one of the British monarch’s hats being chauffeur-driven to parliament is just republican silliness, apparently.

Sombre reverence is the order of the day.

As the robed Yeomen of the Guard search the cellars for pesky Catholics with explosive ideas (no really), Sarah Clarke’s alter ego Black Rod marches toward the House of Commons, having the door slammed in her face for her trouble, signifying the Commons’ independence from the monarchy.

Three stout raps of the door with the eponymous rod grants her entrance to the august body that is the House of Commons, whereupon she summons Her Majesty’s Members of Parliament to the chamber of the House of Lords where they will listen to the “Queen’s” Speech.

Of course, this is all pantomime.

After all, the government of the day – Boris Johnson’s Conservative party people – know fine well what is in the speech given that they write it.

With his mother not in attendance, the duty fell to the 73-year-old King-in-waiting Prince Charles to act as the government’s ventriloquist dummy, suited and booted in full military regalia upon a golden throne.

Lest we forget, this pompous display of ostentatious stolen wealth takes place in the same country where Elsie, a 77-year-old woman whose story of riding around on buses all day to keep warm due to soaring energy prices, caught the Prime Minister off-guard during an interview with Good Morning Britain’s Susanna Reid.

Naturally, the Prime Minister resorted to his default position of being economical with the truth, claiming that he had brought in the Freedom Pass (he didn’t) that allowed Elsie to stay warm on the London buses all day, rather missing the point of the story as Reid pointedly asked: “So, Elsie should be grateful to you for her bus pass?”

The tales of two British pensioners, Charles and Elsie, serves as a grim metaphor for the disgraceful disparity between the haves and have-nots on this odd little island, more preoccupied with medieval cosplay than pensioners resorting to all-day bus journeys to avoid putting the leccy on.

In the bizzarro world of the British media, we are even expected to applaud Charles reading out a sub-10 minute speech that he didn’t write. The next day’s front page of The Sun invoked a nightmare image as it drippily intoned: “I hope I did you proud, Mummy.”

Someone pass the sick-bag, please.

The Sun’s seemingly low opinion of its readership shares similarities with that which Conservative MP Lee Anderson has of his constituents who use food banks.

The MP provoked outrage by suggesting that the surging rise in usage of food banks amid the cost-of-living crisis is not the fault of a government that has spent the last decade pursuing punitive measures against the poorest in society, but rather their financial fecklessness and inability to cook.

A cynic might say that the fact that Anderson claimed £220,000 in expenses suggests that he could use some budgeting lessons himself.

But patronising lectures are only for the little people without wealth in Britain.

The policies outlined in the speech itself provoked criticism from several quarters.

Labour Party led by Sir Keir Starmer said that the speech showed that the government was “bereft of ideas or purpose”, which is highlighted by the speech’s focus on so-called “culture war” issues such as the renaming of streets, conversion therapy and the privatisation of Channel 4.

The SNP object to the creation of a UK Bill of Rights that would legislate the supremacy of UK law over EU law, replacing the Human Rights Act.

Ian Blackford MP, the SNP’s Westminster leader, said: “The agenda of this Westminster government couldn’t be clearer – a hostile environment to devolution, to human rights law and to refugees.

“The reality is that people across Scotland are being forced to pay a heavy price for the cost of living with Westminster.

“The only way to protect our interests and households is to become an independent country.”

Green politicians such as Caroline Lucas MP criticised the government’s intention to further criminalise climate change protests by groups such as Extinction Rebellion and Insulate Britain through their public order bill.

Lucas tweeted: “This is not a public order bill - it’s a public oppression bill. Will be working cross party again to defeat. Our right to peaceful protest should be protected, not attacked. Shame on Government for bringing back these dangerous proposals.”

READ MORE: Royal Jubilee will make us all ask if it's TV or Torture?

This was a speech designed to appeal to the Tory base and nothing more.

Devolved administrations such as the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh have their own flaws and rituals, but the impression one gets from watching the day-to-day business of Holyrood is of a modern legislature that more accurately (if not quite closely) reflects the composition of a small European nation, embracing crazy things such as technology when taking votes for example.

The business of Westminster – when its green benches are populated at all – remains wedded to an archaic system of voting lobbies and letters, with more focus on following ancient conventions and the boorish spectacle of Prime Minister’s Questions than actually trying to reflect the reality of life in modern Britain.

While the sight of the future King Charles stepping into his mother’s role may well hasten calls for the abolition of the monarchy in the years to come, it seems that Britain’s addiction to meaningless pomp and ceremony shows no signs of ending any time soon.

This article was written as part of a collaboration between The National/Sunday National and City of Glasgow College in which we are seeking to find and support the journalists of the future