PARLIAMENT is shut down again (legally this time, as far as I know). On the day this wee column is published there will only be a couple more days of quiet in the literally crumbling halls of Westminster , and then the State Opening of Parliament will happen.

The Queen will deliver a speech printed on goatskin from a gold throne in the unelected House of Lords, written by a Government headed by a man selected by a hundred-odd thousand Tory party members, laying out the legislation he wants to put down in front of a Parliament in which he has a working majority of minus 47.

Minus 47 that is, if the DUP confidence and supply agreement is still in place – and my maths isn’t wrong ... At this point, I don’t think anybody knows if it is.

In Westminster, where we vote by running to a door before it is locked after a seemingly arbitrary eight minutes, then walk in a circle around a corridor and have our name crossed out on a paper register, the State Opening of Parliament still manages to be one of the most ludicrous, pompous, unnecessary and antiquated things that happens in the place.

There’s a lot of frenzy – the roads are cleared to allow the Queen to pass by quickly in her horse drawn golden carriage, then there is the moment where she walks up to the robing room – or, as was the topic of much heated debate, speculation and discussion last time, she takes the lift up and gets ready to read out the speech – there are countless other bits of pomp and circumstance that place alongside but I really can’t remember them all. At some point while that’s happening a man with a sword comes over to the House of Commons, knocks the door and lets the Speaker know that the Queen wants everybody to head over and watch her read a speech from her gold throne. And so we do. The speech is read, some more pomp and circumstance takes place, and the House of Commons heads back to the green benches to begin debating the contents of the speech.

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I lay this out here – not just because it’s all so stupid, and not just because it’s a great example of how out of touch the London political classes are that they love all this stuff, and not just because I think the whole charade is a pretty compelling argument for Scottish independence on its own merit – because I really want to laser in on the fact that it’s an absolute waste of time.

The National: Waste of time: The Queen's SpeechWaste of time: The Queen's Speech

When Theresa May’s Brexit deal failed for the third time and she sought an extension of Article 50 from the EU, Donald Tusk, the president of the EU Council, sent a very clear message. He said: “Please, don’t waste this time”. It’s pretty tough to find a way to consider a full day lost to this pageantry as anything other than a waste of time.

All that the Government has done in recent months is waste time. And it could be a bit funny if it wasn’t so infuriating, since it is exactly what Theresa May did when it came to her deal. Run down the clock, talk a good game about leaving on X date with no chance of changing that date, and hope that MPs panic enough to blink and vote for the slightly less than terrible option. But MPs didn’t blink and so Theresa May’s career in high office disappeared. Boris Johnson is trying to do the same thing, but he doesn’t even have a deal agreed with the EU, never mind getting something through Parliament.

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The Government’s position is untenable. Johnson has stated that he would rather “die in a ditch” than request an Article 50 extension beyond the end of the month, but then his government’s lawyers told a Scottish court that he will honour the Benn Act, which was passed specifically to force him to seek an extension if he can’t get a deal by the end of October.

The Prime Minister was already found to have acted unlawfully when he last closed down Parliament, and the EU have called his new proposals a lot of rubbish (not a direct quote, but it’s the gist).

There’s a lot of talk of positive meetings between Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Johnson over the past few days, but the most the DUP could say about the things that the Irish and UK governments had tentatively said might work is that they won’t dismiss them out of hand.

The games have to end. Johnson needs to be removed from office, and a temporary PM has to be put in place to secure an extension and call a general election.

Labour and the LibDems need to stop playing games and figure out a way through their self-made stalemate about who should be temporary PM, because now the opposition benches are starting to look as guilty as the government of wasting the time which we were asked solemnly not to waste.