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Roger Pugh explains that whenever he runs into the Queen his life seems to come to a complete standstill.
The Queen’s lifetime of service to her peoples is exemplary in every way except one, traffic management.
Her Majesty’s impact in this sector is most noticeable in the West End of London where her regular motoring excursions cause road closures, re-routing and interminable traffic jams. Her impact on the bustling streets of London is similar to that of a union on a building site.
In my days as an advertising executive perpetually racing to meetings in taxis ’round the West End, I was obliged to spend countless hours in traffic jams waiting for the Queen to sweep by on her way to shopping at Harrods, opening something or other, the Chelsea Flower Show or an orgy for the corgis.
If she was putting on a show trotting round with a head of state in a carriage, I simply gave up and stayed in the office.
At one stage the Queen was impeding my progress so regularly it crossed my mind she suspected me of being the Head of the UK Republican Movement and had instigated a diabolically cunning plan to shut me down.
The preferential right-of-way treatment she was accorded on West End roads once caused an enormous jam outside the Palladium in London resulting in me being late for a Royal Command Performance. As a result whenever I was scheduled to be at the same knees-up, punch-up or nosh-up as the Queen I declined to compete with her for road access and travelled by tube.
I looked forward to freedom from royal traffic congestion as a key benefit from migration to Australia. During my first week in Sydney, however, I was apoplectic to be caught in a huge traffic jam caused by the Queen’s visit. I’ll bet she had a chuckle to herself.
To mark the sixtieth anniversary of her accession to the throne the BBC produced a documentary illustrating the Queen’s great achievements. I was astounded it made no mention whatsoever of the thousands of traffic jams she had caused.
Prince Charles and Camilla have recently been touring Australia on royal traffic disruption duty. He should become our King only on the strict understanding that he doesn’t visit Sydney before they’ve fixed George Street and the Second Harbour Tunnel is operational.
I know I shouldn’t read too much into all this, but I can’t help wondering whether the royal impact on government is similar to the one they have on traffic.
If Australia became a Republic perhaps it would not only ease the traffic flow but the flow of government business as well.