Saturday, December 24, 2011

Date with the Prime Minister, David Cameron

My wife's foot was hurting again after our day out on Tuesday.  She decided to stay in the apartment and keep her foot elevated.  We left my wife to watch British TV, Olympic 2012 construction and boat traffic on Hertford Union Canal.  My son and I had a date with the Prime Minister.
UK Prime Minister - David Cameron
A few years ago, my son-in-law was a campaign volunteer for a candidate to Parliament.  He kept in contact with a friend he made back then, who is now an aide to an MP.  Every Wednesday at noon in the House of Commons there is an official session called Questions to the Prime Minister during which the prime minister spends half an hour answering questions from the members of parliament (MPs).  Tickets to the Strangers' Gallery (visitors' gallery) for Wednesdays PMQ are the highly sought-after.  My son-in law scored us tickets to this PMQ.
Portcullis House on the right
We needed to enter through Portcullis House, the PMs' office building, across the street from the Palace of Westminster, other wise known as the Houses of Parliament.  

Upon entering Portcullis House we spoke with a receptionist who allowed us to enter.  Once inside we went through a security scanner, were patted-down by machine gun toting officers, photographed and given a photo ID to wear.
We then talked with the inside receptionist who called up to the aide.  We were shown a bench to sit upon while awaiting the aide.  When the aide arrived it was already 11:58 and we were late.  We had to hurry under the street through a tunnel, through several hallways, then outside over a driveway, then back in more hallways 'til me were met by an usher outside the House of Commons.
House of Commons from the Visitors' Gallery
Source:Druid City Press
We rushed up a few flights of stairs, checked my camera bag and my son's backpack just before we entered the visitors' gallery.  Once inside, the usher requested the seat holders move to make room and seated us on the end of the row.

My first impression was, the room was grand but small.  My eyes wandered around the room.  There were seemingly 6" thick glass panels suspended from the beautiful old ceiling to shield us strangers from the MPs.  There must have been some serious structural changes to allow these panels to hang from the ceiling.  They looked heavy.  

The proceedings were full of partisan politics; patting the prime minister on the back, requesting praise for helping constituents and of course attacking the ruling party by the other side.  I almost felt as though I was in a Philadelphia City Council meeting.  I guess all  representative democratic politics are alike, no matter what level.

12:30 arrived quickly and so our date with David Cameron ended.  I don't believe we made any impression on him.  Mr. Cameron, my son and I departed the House of Commons, by different doors, together.  We were on our way to meet my daughter outside Westminster Abbey.  I can only assume David Cameron had something scheduled for the remainder of his day.  

©Damyon T. Verbo - all rights reserved

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