Imagine that Harry has one of the hereditary peers in the House of Lords, a membership in Parliament that he could care less about. But Kingsman encourages him to attend their sessions, as they are good opportunities to gather intel, something a spy organization could always use.
Imagine Eggsy’s reaction when he learns this. Imagine him making only-slightly bitter jokes about himself, saying that Harry is slumming it with the House of Commons.
Imagine Harry leaning in to kiss him so sweetly. “You are anything but common, my dear. You are the only one for me. That makes you a unique singularity.”
This is the menu in the restaurant in the House of Lords. The cost of the food served is subsidised by tax payers to the equivalent of £84 per week per Peer. That’s more, just for food, than unemployed people on Jobseeker’s Allowance get to live on each week, which is £71. That is, of course, on top of the £300 per day attendance allowance that peers receive just for turning up.
This menu is set by the House of Lords refreshment committee, on which sits Baroness Jenkin, who recently suggested that the reason so many poor people are using food banks is that they’ve forgotten how to cook porridge, which only costs 4p a bowl. Clearly she’s not always quite so frugal when it comes to her food budget. Indeed, the House of Lords refreshment committee recently rejected a proposal to combine catering services for the Commons and the Lords to save money due to concerns that it would result in Peers having to drink inferior champagne.
It’s essentially a case of, “Let them eat porridge,” says Baroness Jenkin, while feasting on Foie Gras, Calves Liver and Compote of Berry Fruits, washed down with the finest champagne, all at our expense.
Lots of people tell me that politics is boring and irrelevant. This makes me sad. Voting turnout in the UK has gone down massively and lots of my friends (who will be old enough to vote before the next General Election) tell me that they don’t care about politics or that they’re basically clueless. They scarcely know who the Prime Minister is in some cases. I’ve decided to try tackling this with a quick whiz around the best bits of the British political system!
I have a question about the United Kingdom? They still have kings and queens and stuff but they also have prime ministers and politicians and stuff? What roles do they play?
The monarchy doesn’t have any political power here. They are, however, still very wealthy and lead very privileged lives on account of their ancestry. They are celebrities, almost, and there is still a lot of interest in the monarchy. Many people here still support it because it is traditional.
The Prime Minister has to be invited to step up to that role by the monarch (so right now Queen Liz 2), but that’s a formality really. The Queen is required to do that. She can’t really say no. The royal family sometimes do charity work and meet members of the public and tourists, and some can be vocal politically, but they don’t have any official power in politics. (Thank goodness).
I still think it’s wrong that we have a monarchy but at the moment they’re still about. I wish them no ill-will at all and I think Elizabeth 2 has done an excellent job, but it seems outdated and unfair that people can still be born into such privilege. It goes against what I want to see in modern Britain. I also think it’s pretty awful for those born into the royal family because they have no choice in the matter and instantly their whole lives take place in the public eye. They are instant celebrities. The unwelcome/illegal press attention led to the death of poor Princess Diana, so that’s an example of how awful people can get over the monarchy over here.
Okay so then we get to the politics. Our UK parliament is made up of two separate houses or chambers: The House of Lords and a House of Commons. Together they make up all law/hear appeals/debate various issues.
The House of Commons is for elected representatives, so the MPs we’ve chosen in each constituency. Right now we have a Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition government. This means that the Conservative Party achieved the most elected seats in the House of Commons. (Our system is currently flawed so the Liberal Democrats, who were actually the third most popular party, had to decide whether to join with Labour (the second most popular party) in a coalition, making Labour the party in charge of the Commons, or join with the Conservatives (the most popular but without quite enough seats to be given an absolute victory). In choosing the Tories (that’s the Conservatives) the Liberal Democrats formed an alliance with the Conservative Party and therefore both parties currently run the country.)
I think they run it very badly, but that is just my opinion, of course. I’m a raging lefty!
But other parties still have some say depending on how many seats they won in the House of Commons. For example the Green Party is exceptionally well represented by Caroline Lucas, who was voted in as the MP for Brighton Pavilion. (Caroline is an absolute heroine and inspiration and you ought to look her up. She does brilliant work.) There are also various Labour Party MPs that won seats (rather a few, second only to the number of Conservative elected MPs). Unfortunately UKIP (a party I find xenophobic) also have two seats in the House of Commons. That scares me, but it’s democracy I suppose and if the people voted for them then that result has to stand.
So there are a fair few parties mixed in there and all of the MPs that are elected may have their voices heard in the House of Commons.
This is all vaguely democratic (although flawed and if I was in charge I would tweak the system for sure).
But then you have the House of Lords, the second parliamentary chamber. They are not elected. For some reason I cannot fathom, whatever the House of Commons decides has to be okayed by this lot as well. If there’s real friction the Commons win the argument since they are elected, but I still find it all quite immoral. Now a lot of these members are good people and work hard. Many are ex-politicians. But there are still hereditary peers and Bishops that have their say here. That’s those born with a title, and obviously you know what Bishops are.
I personally believe the House of Lords should be entirely elected, otherwise there is no point at all. And there certainly shouldn’t be hereditary peers making laws and being allowed into the very heart of government!
Anyway, I am sorry, I interrupted my explanation with my opinions. But I feel strongly about them so there we go.
So what I am trying to say is that our parliament is made up of two Houses. One is the House of Commons. The other is the House of Lords. Together they make laws and govern Britain.
The Queen has no political power. She is the Head of State. Technically she does have to approve every law before it is implemented, but she wouldn’t say no to a law. It’s more of a courtesy/tradition to ask her to approve it. No monarch has exercised their right to veto in 300 years, so there is little danger of that happening.
I hope this helped in some way! British politics, eh! It’s a mess!