This column is indebted to the historian Henry Cobb for drawing attention to one detail in the State Opening of Parliament. When the King enters the Lords Chamber, observed Cobb, “the lights of the House, which have been dimmed, are turned up in a theatrical manner”.

Watching yesterday’s proceedings, perhaps theatrical was putting it too mildly. The only way yesterday’s ceremony could have been more theatrical is if Mariah Carey, accompanied by the Strictly dancers, had been carried into the Lords singing All I Want for Christmas is You, while lightly-oiled attendants distributed puppies to the crowd. Maybe next time.

Ah, but don’t we do this sort of thing well? Where else in the world could you see a ceremony involving a Gold Stick in Waiting, the Cap of Maintenance, the Sword of State, the White Wand of office, and a crown studded with 3,000 precious stones?

Tourists and visiting dignitaries love it. Not half as much as the media, mind. On BBC1 Nicky Campbell, broadcasting from a room in the Lords where the wallpaper was definitely not from B&Q, promised viewers “a spellbinding mix of symbolism and spectacle”.

The Scot was what BBC high heid yins might call an interesting choice of presenter for the State Opening of Parliament. Campbell had done his homework though, and I thought struck the right tone. He was confident and informed, admiring of the spectacle but not awed by it, and he was as keen to talk politics as pageantry. Even so, I bet there will be complaints about him not being sufficiently respectful. Can’t wait for the next Points of View.

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Over and over on radio and television we were told that this was history being made, right before our eyes. Firsts were everywhere - the first King’s Speech in more than 70 years, the first by King Charles, the first with Rishi Sunak as Prime Minister.

This was the state and the Union rebooting itself after a sticky spell when the wrong sort of chaps, and one chapess, if only briefly, had been in charge. For a while there was something rotten in the state of British politics. At times it is hard to believe what happened, and came close to happening. But every now and then the past returns in flashbacks. Yes, those people really were in power, chaos really did take hold, and the consequences truly were appalling.

Now those rogues have gone or are busy elsewhere, either giving evidence to the Covid inquiries, signing up to be television presenters, or in Liz Truss’s case dreaming of a comeback. With the coast clear, British politics could get back to how it used to be.

Not so fast, though. There are times when the distance between Westminster and the rest of the UK seems only too obvious, and the State Opening of Parliament is one of them, particularly so this year.

The world outside those walls is one where wars, inequality and injustice rage, where children go to bed cold and hungry, where nature is being battered by climate change. Inside, meanwhile, a hereditary monarch was promising to end “the scourge of unlicensed pedicabs in London”, because that is what keeps most of us awake at night. The line being spun by Downing Street is that this was a sharply political King’s Speech, designed to expose weaknesses in Labour and force Keir Starmer into making mistakes. That is giving yesterday’s effort far too much credit. The only controversial measure is the granting of new licences for oil and gas exploration, but if the Conservatives are relying on that to deliver a victory they are more deluded than we think.

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This was a back of a fag packet King’s Speech from a government at the fag end of its life. It was like the “any other business” section of a parish council meeting. Bits and bobs of legislation, most of which either won’t happen or have not been sufficiently thought through. Listening to it in Scotland, the overwhelming feeling was, “Who’s your wee pretendy parliament now?”

This was certainly the last King’s Speech before a general election. When that election might be is the question. The Autumn Statement, and reaction to it, should provide a steer. The idea that this Government should cling on to autumn 2024 or beyond will fill most with dread. In Scotland we have had domestic politics to keep us busy and so may not have noticed how empty the Commons has been in recent months. Others have taken note, however. Look at the chamber now and every day is like a Friday afternoon, with acres of space on the green benches.

It is not quite the last desperate days in the run-up to the 1997 election, but it is getting there. Nadine Dorries’s claims that a secret cabal ousted Boris Johnson would in any other times be laughed out of existence. Now a national newspaper is running extracts from her book.

On hearing the former Culture Secretary’s conspiracy theory I’m reminded of the Humbert Wolfe poem, The British Journalist: “You cannot hope to bribe or twist, thank God, the British journalist. But, seeing what the man will do unbribed, there's no occasion to.” In the case of Boris Johnson there was no need to engineer his downfall. He made his own way into trouble, always has, always will. It is his only claim to a talent.

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As for Rishi Sunak, the State Opening was yet another chance for him to make his mark, to show the public that he did deserve his place in office and was not just the quickest plotter off the blocks when Johnson finally fell. He has had a year in office to show what he can do. Admittedly he has succeeded in making politics boring again but that gets, well, boring after a while. What else does he have to offer?

At times he looks like a man who thought he had landed his dream job only he is not so sure any more. The happiest he has looked in public since becoming Prime Minister is when he was interviewing Elon Musk recently. Wonder what Musk, a man who knows his way around a business plan, would have made of Mr Sunak’s attempt at its political equivalent. Not much, I’m guessing. An empty box is still an empty box, no matter how fancy the wrapping.