Monday, 18 December 2017

18/12/2017 A trip to Westminster

The Dark Lord finally takes his seat in the House of Lords? Not quite, but I had a most interesting tour the House of Commons courtesy of my local MP. No politics involved I'm glad to say. As you might expect these days, security is very tight. There were airport style scanners and the expected searches among other things. Much interest was taken in the contents of the pockets in my leather jacket, and I had to take my belt off to be scanned due due it's metal buckle. I was most disappointed that the equipment didn't start bleeping due to the metal plate I now have in my wrist! Maybe it's calibrated to ignore certain things.
The place is absolutely fascinating - this part is nearly a thousand years old and still in use. The Great Hall has seen countless significant events in our history from trials to weddings and funerals - it's quite something just standing there trying to take it all in.
The tour includes places that are regularly seen on the TV news like the famous lobby where politicians get interviewed. Photography is only allowed in certain places though, so there is much that I can't show you...
The atmosphere of the place is amazing. I didn't take many pictures as I was more interested in just soaking up the feeling of history. There are those who say that it should all be torn down and replaced with something more modern and efficient, but I think if those people had actually visited the place they would think differently. It does cost a huge amount to look after and much work is needed to maintain it and fix problems that have appeared due to past neglect, as well as bomb damage from WW2 - some parts aren't actually as old as they may appear. I think you ignore history at your peril. Some may think that history isn't important, but ignorance of it only insures that the mistakes of the past will be repeated again.
I finished my visit by going to the House of Commons to observe what was going on. No photos are allowed there, but it was fascinating to sit quietly and watch the debate in progress. It was quite something to sit there so close to the scene that appears on the 6 O'Clock News populated by famous (and infamous) politicians both now and back over hundreds of years of history. To actually be almost in touching distance of the benches, despatch boxes and the famous mace. Although the actual debate taking place was concerning a finance bill and rather dull, I stayed there for quite some time soaking up the history and atmosphere of the place. If you ever get the chance to go I can highly recommend it.

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