Why so coy Mr Corbyn?
Why not just tell Liz, aka Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, Ireland and the British Dominions beyond the Seas, etc, also known, to Private Eye, as ‘Brenda’, that as a Republican you cannot bend the knee to a Monarch, nor kiss her hand?
Why not just explain to the great British public that you feel this is a ridiculous, outdated ceremony which is an insult to the beliefs of a substantial proportion of the electorate, and that if, by refusing to go on bended knee, you are subsequently excluded from the inner sanctum of the Privy Council , then people can make-up their own minds about whether we have a free and fair system with the highest offices of government open equally to all? Why not?
Why, instead, make a bunch of mealy mouthed excuses about a packed diary, being tired after a long speech, or that no-one has explained the ceremony? It’s really not that difficult and there are 600 Privy Councillors who could give you tips. So either do it properly, find a way to do it without bending the knee, or don’t do it and be brave enough to say why.
I once met the Queen, and jolly nice she was too for the 6 seconds I was in her presence at the British High Commission in Islamabad. I’d been instructed to bow, shake hands, and say ‘Good Afternoon Ma’am’ but instead I gently inclined my head towards her, as I would anyone to whom I wanted to show respect, especially someone with seventy years of exemplary public service. I shook hands, and said politely ‘Good afternoon’ before moving on. The foundations of the state were not rocked, but this did not prevent a flunky chasing after me and hissing in my ear that I had not done as instructed. I told said flunky that Mrs Windsor probably didn’t mind in the least and that all three of us had better things to do than worry about it. I have not subsequently met her again, but then again, neither has she subsequently met me.
Indeed, that was hardly as important an event as that of becoming an advisor to the Head of State, but I survived, and Mr Corbyn would survive not kneeling as it is certain an accommodation can be found whereby he goes to the ceremony, nods politely at the Queen, shakes her hand, swears allegiance (as he has already done upon becoming an MP) and then gets on with more important things.
The Parliamentary Labour Party would rather move past this simultaneously theatrical and yet coded display of dogma, and the majority of Labour voters will not take kindly to it just as many were puzzled at his failure to sing the national anthem of his country.
It is self-indulgent to carry on with this prevarication, and dishonest not to either get on with it – or explain why he won’t do it.