Claude Monet's The Houses of Parliament, Sunset (1903)

A gorgeous Gothic landmark with a famous Clock Tower,
I was really excited to see inside the Palace of Westminster

Once a royal medieval palace and now a major center of politics,
this building holds a lot of dramatic history
including the unsuccessful Gunpowder Plot in 1605,
a gruesome ending for Oliver Cromwell in 1661,
a major fire in 1834,
and many bombings during World War II

The interior of the Houses Of Parliament
is just as stunning as its exterior

After my tour, I was inspired to contact my local Member of Parliament (MP)
to request tickets for Question Time

Every Wednesday for thirty minutes,
MPs fire questions at the Prime Minister in the House of Commons

Wow - we have nothing like this in the US

Reminding me of a schoolyard,
fingers are pointed,
the Speaker of the House yells 'Order!'
gasps, cheers and outbursts come from all political parties
in response to David Cameron's answers

And they do it every week

Ranging from housing benefits to Alzheimers to poaching in Africa to Syria,
it made me realize how numerous and vast the issues are
and that these are mere mortals working on the state of affairs
within the same 24 hours the rest of us have

Interestingly, David Cameron often referred to other politicians by saying,
'As my friend ___ rightly said...'
which made me realize

these (mostly) men have been groomed to be politicians from an early age,
often attending the same boarding schools and universities
(Oxford or Cambridge)

Which means, there is not a huge diversity in upbringing
and it means they have known each other a long time
perhaps with old lunchroom grudges
or as dorm room buddies

It made me appreciate the diversity of our US politicians,
many whom have not met each other until their first day on Capitol Hill
and cover a wide scope of professional backgrounds

I was very impressed how solid David Cameron was throughout Question Time
He seemed very prepared and did not seem flustered by the jeers

It would be fascinating to see American politicians grilled the same way
in such a format

While the debates were lively, I'm not sure how much was accomplished
as they moved to the next topic quickly

it was a huge privilege to see
including the three gentlemen wearing old-fashioned white wigs :)

For anyone interested in history or politics,
the Houses of Parliament tour is a must see

If you are looking for amazing verbal jousting and quick comebacks,
Question Time is a must do

Images 2-4 via Parliament website
(A non-sponsored post)