Saturday, January 31, 2015

House of Commons - Thug Life

Some context for non-Brits:
This is taken from Prime Ministers Questions: a weekly event that takes place in the House of Commons (the lower chamber) where Members of Parliament ask the Prime Minister, David Cameron, questions. Questions are fielded from all parties, and are selected randomly from a list prior to the start, and also you'll see Members stand up during the session and some will be chosen to ask off-the-cuff questions which the PM hasn't prepared in advance for.
The highlight is generally when the Opposition Leader, Ed Miliband, get's to ask six or so questions that are designed to ruffle the feathers of the PM on policies, or on events happening in the country or world that week, and the PM get's to snarkily reply and defend whatever it is is being mocked or criticised.
You notice that no one actually speaks to each other directly; they all refer to each other as "My Right Honourable Friend". The questions and answers are all directed at the Speaker of the House John Bercow or Deputy Speakers when applicable. Talking directly to the person asking the question is seen as a breach of Parliamentary customs.
It sounds rowdy, and it is. Questions and answers from all sides are booed and cheered accordingly. It's seen as a chance for MP's to let off steam, somewhat, and show verbal animosity or praise for various policies or decisions.
Again; this only happens once a week and it lasts around half an hour. All the other sitting sessions of the House of Commons are nowhere near this exciting or loud. [Explanation source]

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