To robe or not to robe?

by Stephen Tall on July 13, 2007

That’s the question in Edinburgh, where Lib Dem Provost George Grubb is seeking to revive the tradition of councillors wearing cermonial dress for civic occasions.

Full story over at The Scotsman.

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In Kingston the Lib Dem councillors stopped wearing the blue ceremonial robes many years ago, and Labour followed suit. However, the Tories still wear them for civic services etc.

We just feel that the robes are inappropriate and identify councillors as leading citizens of the town (ie bigwigs) rather than the servants of their electorate.

The Mayor does still wear robes on civic occasions, but the Mayor represents the whole Borough and is a genuine VIP, so we feel it is fine for him/her to wear them.

by mary reid on July 13, 2007 at 2:12 pm. Reply #

I remember you raising this in connection with the Oxford Remembrance service, Stephen. It is amazing how much excitement the question of robes and hats can generate. It caused a serious split in a council group of which I have knowledge. All I can say is the absence of the subject of robes and hats from my life is one of the reasons I thank the Lord that I am no longer a councillor. I personally loathe and detest hats and robes because they make councillors look pompous and over-inflated. I can just about handle a robe, but having to wear a bicorn hat? Whenever I did it I could never resist a quick chorus of “I polished that knob so care-ful-ly that I now I am the ruler of the Queen’s Nav-ee”

by Paul Walter on July 13, 2007 at 2:16 pm. Reply #

Indeed I did, Paul – even used the same headline. Ahem. (I won’t tell anyone, if you don’t.)

by Stephen Tall on July 13, 2007 at 2:20 pm. Reply #

I’m with Paul. Just makes councillors look like they are setting themselves above everyone else. In Abingdon they still don fancy dress for meetings. Mind you I take the same view on ‘academic dress’ too.

by Neil on July 13, 2007 at 4:16 pm. Reply #

On a related point, it was announced this week that as of 1/1/2008, English and Welsh judges and barristers will no longer wear wigs and bands (the white things worn around the neck) in civil courts.

However, on the same date solicitors will start wearing wigs (like barristers and judges) in criminal cases for the first time.

High Court judges’ robes are going to be made plainer as well. I’m told an American style plain black zip up the front job is on the cards but I’m not sure.

by Antony Hook on July 13, 2007 at 7:28 pm. Reply #

In Westminster, not only does the Lord Mayor wear robes, she also gets driven around in a £90,000 Rolls Royce (you should see the mpg) with its own WE1 registration that has been independently valued at £75,000. Not bad!

by Stuart on July 13, 2007 at 8:10 pm. Reply #

In humble Rochford we are only a district – not a borough. The idea of wearing robes seems amazing. As for a bicorn hat – Paul, you are pulling my leg , aren’t you?

Mind you , we have prayers before every full council meeting. Do other places have those?

by Chris Black on July 13, 2007 at 8:54 pm. Reply #

Yes to ‘prayers’, though they can be in Sanskrit, Hebrew, Arabic as well as English, or indeed just an uplifting thought from a humanist.

by mary reid on July 13, 2007 at 10:49 pm. Reply #

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