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Saturday tours of the Houses of Parliament

There have been tours of the Houses of Parliament during the Summer Recess for some years – but did you know they are now available all year round? Trawling through the House of Commons Early Day Motions (as you do),

The Queen’s Speech and a Coalition Government – of 1854
The Queen’s Speech and a Coalition Government – of 1854

On this day, marking the first Queen’s Speech delivered by a coalition government to Queen Elizabeth II, I take time to reflect on an earlier Queen’s Speech, when there was not so much a Coalition Government as a single-party state.

A Declaration of War
A Declaration of War

You may recall that just a few weeks ago I attended the formal reading of the Proclamation for the Dissolution of Parliament as it was read on the steps of the Royal Exchange in the City of London. Such a

The Proclamation for the Dissolution of the Present Parliament
The Proclamation for the Dissolution of the Present Parliament

With the traditional cry of Oyez! Oyez! Oyez!, the Cryer read out the formal document, written in that wonderfully old fashioned language that never changes.

Rehearsing the State Opening of Parliament

Although the State Opening of Parliament happens every year pretty much without fail, the people involved in it tend not to be there every year, so the huge precession needs to be practiced before the live event. While a fair

Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance

Let me tell you a story – was how a talk this lunchtime by Prof. Steven Levitt started as he gave a talk about economics and some of the weird but true facts he has come across in his research.

V for Vendetta – Live in Westminster
V for Vendetta – Live in Westminster

If you had been in Westminster today, you might have seen a group of distinctive looking people striding purposefully down Whitehall to Downing Street. Today, on the 5th November, is the day that political blogger, the Old Holborn takes a

The Internet: Saviour or Corruptor of Democracy?

Wandered over to a debate in Parliament yesterday evening entitled “The Internet: Saviour or Corruptor of Democracy?” with a panel of various new and old media types. The panel was made up of Nick Robinson (BBC Political Editor); Peter Kellner

Jubilee Line tunnels under Big Ben

A few months ago, I went to a lecture on tunnelling technologies, given by Professor Robert Mair FREng FRS, and specifically on what is known as compensation grouting. Meant to write up about it at the time, but it was

The arrival of Big Ben at Westminster in 1858

I have a small hobby of collecting old copies of the Illustrated London News – a venerable newspaper which was first published n 1842. I acquired a few more copies last week and scanning through the collection this weekend, came

Climb up Big Ben – a video

A somewhat speeded up video of the climb up the Clock Tower to stand next to Big Ben when it bongs the hours. I suspect the sound of feet on the steps is not real. The video was mentioned by

Pastafarainism is recognised by the government!

From House of Lords Hansard: “Baroness Warsi: To ask Her Majesty’s Government which religions and faiths are officially recognised by the Equality and Human Rights Commission. The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Royall of Blaisdon): The Equality and Human

It’s illegal to use a slide on the snow

I was reading the LordsoftheBlog and posted a comment from there onto another chat site – commenting on the rather polite way the Lords reacted when part of the ceiling collapsed in the 1980s. Another chap over there then asked

How to win friends and influence people

As one of my hobbies is reading the Early Day Motions in the House of Commons (yes, I am that sad), some of which are serious and some can be quite amusing – I came across this one which was