Strange Brouhaha

Friday, October 29, 2004

British Parliament

I wouldn't want to live in Britain. I mean, you think we've got it bad here--over there, they've perfected the intrusive nanny state. And the worst parts of the vestiges of Empire still cling to them.

One thing they do have that's neat, though, is this thing that I was watching on C-SPAN2 yesterday. The Prime Minister sits in the House of Commons and all the MPs stand up and the speaker calls out a name and that person gets to ask the Prime Minister a question.

AND HE ANSWERS IT.

Now, you can feel free to love or hate Tony Blair. To me, it's all the same either way. But he took all of these questions, ranging from the global ("How can you be sure that we'll have a say in what goes on in Iraq?") to the national ("Why are you going to sign this treaty with the EU?") to the incredibly trivially local ("Will you make sure to extend the ban on fireworks so people's pets don't get scared?"), and HE ANSWERED THEM. He answered them coherently, cogently, and (or so it seemed) eruditely, and all in the atmosphere of an Oxford-style debate, where people can yell at you and try to drown you out and boo you.

At one point, after several minutes of hearing people yammer back and forth about things I care nothing about and yet would watch over and over again, I looked at Savannah and said "Can you imagine Bush in this setting?"

(I can: "Buh buh buh buh buh buh buh buh buh buh buh buh buh buh buh buh.")

2 Comments:

  • (Fj) I've watched that a few times and am amazed at how cool Blair is under fire, even answering questions or rebukes with a sense of humor, when appropriate. I remember seeing Margaret Thatcher do the same thing, too. I don't think many of our politicians could stand up under that pressure.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:00 PM  

  • Oh, we can dream.

    I've often thought that the combination of that kind of "no really, you have to answer the question" system, combined with Australia's "you are required to vote" system, would make a HUGE difference in the political process here.

    By Blogger david adam edelstein, at 10:00 AM  

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