February 25, 2020
The Hysterical, Mesmerizing British Parliament
We bet you think the British Parliament is confusing or maybe boring, at best. Right? Wrong!
With the correct attention and focus, it can be amazing! Hysterical! Mesmerizing! Lots and lots of fun! To get you in the right mood and prepare you for what you will encounter if you decide to pay a visit, here is a little background information for you:
IN A NUTSHELL—
The word Parliament comes from parler, Norman French for talk.
THE HOUSE OF COMMONS
is publicly elected. The party with the largest number of members in the House of Commons forms the government. British citizens have no direct say in who becomes Prime Minister. The best they can do is vote for their party’s Members of Parliament (MP—stands for Member of Parliament). After the results of the general election have been announced, the leader of the party with an overall majority (ie. The party with more MPs than all of the other parties put together) goes to Buckingham Palace and asks the Queen for permission to form a government. Luckily for them, there is sort of an unwritten agreement that the Queen will never say "No" to the leader of the biggest party.
Members of the House of Commons debate the big political issues of the day and make proposals for new laws. The House of Commons alone is responsible for making decisions on financial Bills, such as proposed new taxes. The House of Lords can consider these Bills but cannot block or amend them.
THE HOUSE OF LORDS
is the second, upper chamber, of Parliament. It complements the work of the House of Commons. It debates and ratifies all bills successfully passed through the House of Commons before they become law. The Lords can and do reject bills!! The membership of The House of Lords is mostly appointed by the Queen on recommendation from the current government and from the 26 prominent Bishops of the Anglican Church. It includes experts in many fields.
The formal title of the House of Lords is The Right Honourable the Lords Spiritual and Temporal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament Assembled.
Got it? Or maybe you would like a teacher/guide to join you on your visit to help make sense of it all! We know of some really good ones!
Now, when you visit—
Listen for these words/sounds
- "I spy strangers"
- a door being slammed shut
- "Mr Speaker"
- "Madam Speaker"
- "Mr Deputy Speaker”
- "Madam Deputy Speaker
- “aye” or “no”
- “content” or “not content”
- jeering—Yes, jeering!
Look for these
- a long gown
- a white wig
- a red line on the carpet
- collapsible top hats
- the red woolsack
- a golden mace
- people half out of their seats
Definitely expect the unexpected!
WHAT ELSE HAVE YOU LEARNED?
True or False—The British monarch may not set foot in the House of Commons. Hmmm!
Does any other country have a ruling body called Parliament? Are you sure?