A Visit to the House of Lords

This is an extraordinary week to visit the British parliament as Great Britain faces a genuine constitutional crisis — whether and under what conditions to leave the European Union. On Tuesday, the House of Commons voted to reject the agreement Prime Minister Theresa May’s had struck with the EU on the conditions under which Britain would leave. On Wednesday, it voted to refuse leaving the EU without a new deal (of some kind). And on Thursday it is scheduled to vote on extending the deadline for officially leaving. Fascinating for historians and political scientists, but all very confusing.

The British certainly know how to protest around the Houses of Parliament. The first two pictures below shows protestors eager to Remain in the EU, easy to identify as they carry the EU flag. The third is a picture of Leave supporters, eager to reclaim British identify and willing to accuse those determined to remain of treason.

The picture below shows James Harvey trying to stay out of trouble outside the House Of Lords as Leave supporters march past wearing the Union Jack.

The Houses of Parliament, known formally as the Palace of Westminster, were rebuilt following a fire and re-opened in 1852. The nearly 200-year old Palace, one of the great, iconic buildings in the world, is in urgent need of refurbishment. Last year, Parliament agreed that it should plan on moving out of the 1,100-room Palace for five years so that it can be rebuilt, at a cost estimated to be between $4.6 and $6.6 billion.

Roundtable executive director James Harvey and his wife Anne Paxton joined long-time education analyst Alison Wolf, now Baroness Wolf of Dulwich, for lunch and a tour of the House of Lords. Photos, unfortunately, are not permitted within the Palace of Westminster. Undaunted, Anne managed to sneak a few in. The first, showing Jim and Baroness Wolf on a Lords’ staircase, offers a hint of the elegance of this great building. The second is taken in a reception pavilion alongside the River Thames.

Smack up against the river and Westminster Bridge, the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben certainly make a handsome sight.

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