I spent a delightful day yesterday in London, sharing the company of Mark Wadsworth, The Boiling Frog, The Talking Clock, Katabasis and Harry Aldridge amongst others. Having previously assembled on College Green where a demonstration of defiance was staged by Ukip against the impending debate and vote in the House of Commons, processed around Parliament Square, it was time for a drink or two prior to queuing to lobby our individual MPs. Having waited for two hours, the queue being allowed entry in groups of 30, it was our turn, where security is akin to that at airports. Never having visited Parliament previously it was an intriguing experience - on entering one has to obtain a green card on which it has to be stated the MP you wish to see, your name and address and the subject matter to be discussed. From 'the lobby area' a short corridor leads to another vestibule area beyond which are the doors, opposite the Speaker, into the chamber. The short corridor is guarded by two members of Plod to ensure that those members of the public who do not have the requisite piece of paper cannot proceed further. After two hours, during which my MP appeared not, I approached one Plod and requested whether it would be possible for him to go and finger the collar of my MP and inform him he was wanted for questioning. This met with a wry laugh from Plod and, needless to say, a refusal.
At 6:15pm it was necessary to leave as The Boiling Frog and I wished to attend a debate held by the Bruges Group, the debate being entitled "Euroscepticism or Secession". The speakers were supposed to be Peter Hitchens and Mark Pritchard MP, however with the parliamentary debate having been brought forward obviously Mark Pritchard was unable to attend and his place was taken by David Campbell-Bannerman MEP who had, a few months ago, defected from Ukip and joined the Conservative Party. Peter Hitchens was on good form and tore into the Conservative Party and Cameron to the extent that both were left in tatters. At one point Campbell-Bannerman made the statement, in answer to a question, that he did not believe in 'renegotiation' and preferred a 'free trade' type of association with the EU. This prompted me to ask him the following question (verbatim):
"It would be agreed by most people gathered here that a most important deficit in our democracy is the lack of principle and honour of politicians. Bearing this in mind I would like to ask Mr. Bannerman whether it was political principle that made him join a party with whose views he was at such variance"
Needless to say the question was not answered. There will no doubt be a video of the proceedings produced by the Bruges Group and when available I will post a link to this. It was also a delight to make the acquaintance of Helen, Your Freedom and Ours, a most delightful lady and one whose views I hold in high regard.I am now going to listen to the debate in the HoC and will be posting on that later today.
Update: The Bruges Group have made available videos of the speeches by Campbell-Bannerman and Hitchens: