Sunny Westminster

Lord Norton

pict0140The photograph was taken shortly after 8.00 a.m. this morning, with the Palace bathed in sunlight.

It is a remarkable contrast with the same time last week.   I have a two-mile walk in to the Palace and on that occasion the pavements were covered in thick ice for virtually the whole of the journey.   Given that I am accident-prone (I am, after all, left-handed), I amazed myself by staying upright for the whole of the journey.

The weather last week also prevented me from engaging in my regular routine of spending a few minutes sat quietly on one of the benches in Victoria Tower Gardens overlooking the Thames – it is one of my favourite views, looking over to Lambeth Palace, and the best time to view the river is early morning.   I am a creature of habit and it is one of the two things I always try to do when at Westminster.  The other is to have lunch in the Bishop’s Bar.  I am easily pleased.

8 comments for “Sunny Westminster

  1. Bedd Gelert
    11/02/2009 at 11:10 am

    Just as well you’ve posted this picture, as Geert Wilders is never likely to see it.

    I’m absolutely disgusted that Lord Ahmed thinks he can have some kind of veto on free speech and democracy. Who the hell does he think he is ? Why is he in the House of Lords if he cannot get up and debate with people whose views disagree markedly from his own ?

  2. Bedd Gelert
    11/02/2009 at 11:12 am

    Much as I loathe Melanie Phillips, I am at least of the view that she should be allowed to express her views publicly. How long before her views are ‘banned’ as well ? Will all the Lords Spiritual soon be asked to confirm the supremacy of Islam in the House of Lords ?

  3. lordnorton
    11/02/2009 at 11:37 am

    Bedd Gelert: As the two stories to which you link demonstrate, the decision regarding a ban was one for the Government. It was not a consequence of any action by the House.

  4. Bedd Gelert
    11/02/2009 at 11:39 am

    Indeed, Lord Norton, and I am happy to make that clear – but whilst I disagree with Geert Wilders [and Melanie Phillips..] I am not in favour of ‘banning things’..

    Do evolutionary biologists get around the fact that they are not always getting their message across by ‘banning religion’ ?

    Do Christians who disagree with atheists ‘ban’ Richard Dawkins ?

    Well, there may be people who want to ‘ban’ those various different ‘bus slogans’ – but we do, still, live in a free country…

  5. David
    11/02/2009 at 11:42 am

    Let me first make clear that I do really not agree with Wilders or his politcis, but si it not parliament’s role to question the government in this respect? Imagine the fuss it would created if The Netherlands denied entry to a MP or a Peer? It is not only freedom of speech that is being threatened here, it is also the freedom of Peers (and thus of Parliament) to be informed by members of collegiate foreign assemblies. Specifically in this case, since both countries are members of the EU, the Council of Europe, the WEU, NATO etc., it really leaves a question mark on how Britain sees partnerships with allied countries.

  6. Croft
    11/02/2009 at 11:56 am

    You had better watch out, if you’re this much a regular feature of the Gardens the tourist buses will start adding you to their spiel. “…And on the right you can see the sculpture of The Burghers of Calais, a statue of Emmeline Pankhurst and Lord Norton sitting on a bench” 🙂

  7. lordnorton
    11/02/2009 at 3:04 pm

    David and Bedd Gelert: I take the point you make. i wasn’t arguing against it but rather identifying where the problem lay. I know a number of peers are pursuing the issue.

    Croft: I am not quite as permanent (or, I trust, as inanimate) as the Burghers of Calais or the statute of Emmeline Pankhurst. The tourists would have to be up reasonably early and to take their chances: though I am a creature of habit, I’m not necessarily there at exactly the same time each morning!

  8. Croft
    11/02/2009 at 4:40 pm

    I was going to avoid this issue but I do think that if an MP or Peer invites someone to attend parliament for the purposes of giving a speech or other presentation then it should be considered a matter of parliamentary sovereignty & privilege that the executive ought not to interfere with except in the most extreme circumstances. While I have no time for the views of the person in question I do think there is a principle at stake and that parliamentarians out to be concerned.

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