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Kate's cuts are a wed herring.

Byline: Tony Parsons

KATE Middleton will arrive for her wedding in Westminster Abbey in a regular car rather than a gilded royal carriage - a sweet, sensitive gesture by two sweet, sensitive young people.

Yeah, but what's wrong with the bus? And the Northern Line runs quite close to Westminster Abbey - thinks she's too good for the London Underground, does she? And come to think of it, if Kate's staying at Buckingham Palace on the night before her wedding, then it's not such a long walk

to Westminster Abbey - shouldn't a royal bride be using Shanks's pony in these hard times? But seriously, folks, full credit to Kate and William for doing a spot of cost cutting on their wedding plans. There will be cars instead of horse-drawn carriages - at least on the way to church. There will be a buffet rather than a state banquet. There will be some light disco dancing rather than hordes of Nubian slaves dipped in honey and doing the Lambada until dawn.

I find it touching that Kate and William want to keep their big day simple - as far as any royal wedding can ever be simple. The kind of people that will gripe and moan about the royal wedding would gripe and moan about it if the bride arrived perched on the handlebars of Boris Johnson's bike. But I can't escape the feeling that we are becoming obsessed with empty gestures.

I can't shake the suspicion that there is a lot of hard times humbug knocking around.

Why shouldn't Kate and William go hardcore with glitter on the floor on their big day? How many times do you get married in a lifetime? Four or five at the most.

Kate and William's impulses are noble. But that does not change the fact that in these dark days - when we should be thinking about creating jobs and wealth, and getting the country off its knees - we are becoming hooked on the way things look.

It was news - actual hold-the-front-page news! - this week when Labour's Alan Johnson had lunch at the Savoy Grill. Why? Where should the Shadow Chancellor be eating his lunch? Hooters? KFC? The park? The Savoy Grill is an entirely appropriate place for Alan Johnson to sit down. It has always been where politicians go - for years you could not swing a beef wellington in there without knocking off John Major's glasses.

It was more genuine news when George Osborne told us that we are all in this together, and then swanned off to Klosters.

Just as Kate Middleton is being sweet and sensitive by almost taking a cab to Westminster Abbey, Osborne was stupid and insensitive to go to one of the most expensive skiing resorts in the world just as VAT, income tax and the national blood pressure was all going through the roof.

With his pink, pampered, chinless chops wrapped up warm against the mountain air, Osborne seemed to be bending over backwards to make the Government look like a bunch of rich kids who are out of touch with the rest of the country. But going to Klosters did not alter Osborne's economic policies. If the Government are cutting too fast, and if they are slashing the public sector without setting the private sector free, and if they are wrong, then they are wrong if Osborne goes to Klosters or Clacton.

I want to hear the hard, detailed economic arguments from Alan Johnson about why what the Government is doing is wrong. I don't care where Alan Johnson has his lunch - although if he is going to the Savoy Grill, then I can recommend the smoked mackerel for a starter.

Let's focus on what truly matters - and not mere image. Let's ditch the hard times humbug.

I think it is right and good that Prince William and his bride want to show that they understand what the country is going through.

But these are rich, posh people.

The bride will not even be pregnant. Are we still allowed to spend our money how we like? Let them enjoy their big day. And let the rest of the country enjoy it too. Most of the British people will give them a cheer when Kate arrives in her cab.

But I bet they will cheer even louder when she leaves as a married woman in one of those golden carriages.

Would we really prefer the number 73 bus?
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jan 8, 2011
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