Very busy Monday/Tuesday this week. First up, I had a Medway Youth Parliament visit to the Houses of Parliament. The group set off at 8.45am by coach to Westminster Abbey. We arrived about an hour late, but met briefly with Paul Clark before beginning our tour of the Palace of Westminster. We walked through the Queen’s dressing chamber and the Royal Gallery and went into the chamber of the House of Lords. We were given a running commentary of how the Parliament system actually works and the functions of the different buildings as we went. The oddly peering busts and blank but dynamic statues along the way were quite interesting. We even saw a statue of the Earl of Chatham, William Pitt, to whom Fort Pitt School credits its name.
The House of Lords was elaborately decorated in red and gold, and we were forbidden to sit down anywhere. We were told that, in order to take place in a debate, the Lords and Ladies must be seated on the relevant side; left of the speaker for the opposition, and right of him/her for the Government, I believe. The House of Commons is decorated with mainly green and more polished wood visible than the House of Lords. There are two red lines on the floor, which are ‘two swords lengths apart’, supposedly in history so that if the two sides were to draw swords, they could not injure one another without crossing the line. Okay. So nobody had thought of throwing something..? o.O;
Anyway, we also visited Westminster Hall, where the Queen Mother lay at rest for a while, and apparently where Henry VIII last played tennis, as there were some old tennis balls found in the rafters during cleaning at some earlier point in time ^_^;. There was also an amusing model of (Lady) Margaret Thatcher’s head in a cabinet down the corridor to the cafe, which had been dramatised with huge eyes and an even larger nose than usual :P.
I also learnt that a bill must pass through three stages to be made into legislation. It is debated at the House of Commons first, before being passed to the House of Lords to be more rigorously checked. That is, only if it makes it through the House of Commons… And finally, it must receive the Royal approval. It was also interesting to find out that, because the House of Lords is non-elected, and therefore they cannot refuse a bill indefinitely, but merely ‘delay’ it. The elected House of Commons could eventually pass a bill that was not approved by the House of Lords, *cough cough* fox hunting *cough cough*. The other mildly cool things were the function of ‘whips’, who are basically politicians required to always vote for their party, and encourage others to do so (basically to safe-guard the government from losing power that may result from a majority voting against them over a minor issue). Also, the history behind the Usher of Black Rod’s role. That is, he has the door to the Commons slammed in his face during the opening of Parliament every year, and must knock 3 times using the Black Rod to gain admission. This symbolises the right of the Commons against interference from the House of Lords.
As I’m sure you’re all positively *thrilled* having read that – unless you skipped, in which case, be a pox on you uncultured swine! – I’ll get on with the festivities from yesterday evening…
Myself, *Jenni*, and *Dave* went to a Monty Python video fest at Wai-sun’s house. Much Python was engrossed; pretzels, sweets and pies were eaten. We met more of Wai-sun’s friends there, Blake, Jade, another Dave and Amanda who all seemed as madly fanatical about Cleese and co as we all were ^_^. There was some sort of tally going on to guess the number of cats injured in the making of Monty Python movies. I really think beating a cat out like a rug in ‘The Life of Brian’ brings a whole new dimension to swinging the cat ^_^;. Suffice to say, it was a long, but very gratifying day.
I have a committee meeting for the Murder Mystery and Publicity group on Thursday, and the second half of my Duke of Edinburgh’s Residential this weekend. I’ll unfortunately have to miss Lianne’s gathering tomorrow to get some school work up to day :\ Shame. I have, however, acquired my domain name now and I want to do some more work on my personal site and Portrait In Time in the near future.
Yea, I know. Although not an inventive title and no content as of yet, I figured I could snatch it up now and put it to good use in the future. Plus, I have the flexibility that I’ll never get tired of it like I might have done if I had tried to give my site a name…