Commonsense from the Circus

Lord Tyler

Though I mean no disrespect to Her Majesty, I cannot bring myself to get cloaked up in ermine each year, to hear her tell us what “her” government will do.  The scene of peers all huddled in their red dressing gowns is endlessly recycled in the media – whenever the Lords is mentioned – despite the fact that for all but this one day of the year Peers wear simple, smart business attire.  Indeed, even this afternoon for the set-piece debate on the “Gracious Speech” suits, not gowns, are the order of the day.

Parliament Street / Millbank at 1pm today

Abingdon Street / Millbank at 1pm today

However, once all the pomp and ceremony is out of the way, there is one sane side-effect left behind by the circus:  the scene outside Parliament once it is all over.  The great ugly barriers there to protect us from car bombs, together with a messy car park, are removed, opening up the whole space known as “Old Palace Yard” opposite and around the famous statue of King Richard III.  They can be removed because the traffic, too, has gone.  And yet the world keeps on turning, and London keeps on moving.

If this became the norm, alongside serious renovation and part-pedestrianisation of Parliament Square, visiting Parliament would be a more welcoming prospect for the British public, for whom this is the iconic centre of our constitution.  The Square, bounded by Westminster Abbey, the Supreme Court, the Treasury and the Palace of Westminster, should be a place for people, not a glorified roundabout.  In London, such a change could also turn the area into a far more democratic space, for visitors for home and abroad, with the potential of a new Speaker’s Corner.

What do you think?



21 comments for “Commonsense from the Circus

  1. 08/05/2013 at 5:39 pm

    I absolutely agree with this. The square as it stands is a disgrace and gives such a bad impression to visitors. You can go there any day of the year the pavements are covered in tourists, often dodging across the busy roads. Quite apart from the bad impression it gives them, I’m amazed there aren’t more serious accidents as tourists step in front of cars with their eyes glued to their cameras. We have the Queen’s speech once a year, but the rest of the time the car is king and that has to change – not just here, but in many parts of all our cities.

  2. 08/05/2013 at 10:13 pm

    Incidentally, I didn’t think it was possible for many of you to attend the State Opening in a particular year due to the limited number of seats. In fact, don’t you have a “ballot” for places?

  3. MilesJSD
    08/05/2013 at 10:50 pm

    I support your outspokenness,
    but not necessarily every inferrable point that my ‘common-sense’ could ‘read between the lines’.

    So what I think, under whatever de-Bono coloured hat happens-along, is:
    1) Some Lifeforms on this Earth-One appear to need natural gaudiness, flamboyancy, overawing-showmanship, intimidating power-displays, and even snarls, bared claws, and teeth already digging into any creature that ‘steps over the line’;

    but Human-Civilisation is no longer such a Divine-Righted-Super-Power that it can afford to be so artificially and aggressively wasteful, tower-of-babel-like, and unholily-haughty;
    especially claiming or allowing itself to be claimed as ‘participatorily-democratic’, ‘in the name of The People’, ‘rule-of-law-constituted’, ‘Environmentally-Friendly’, ‘Ecolonomically Sustainable’ and ‘Exemplarily Emulably Led’.
    Further, the Westminster Houses and Palaces have long since lapsed anachronistic;
    neither of them are even up-to-the-job with electronic communication advances, so that even its de-facto ‘Benign Oligarchical’ top-down government, in full-truth and analysis merely hollowly posing as a ‘fully participatory democracy’, is hobbled and rendered delusorily over-expensive and wasteful,
    deadly-wasteful of not only the People’s money, product, goods, services, and human-development need and potential,
    but of their own need to live transparently emulable lifestyles and to design and produce sustainworthily-thrifty legislation, judiciary, and executive-civil-services;
    and to each and every one be daily advancing in knowledge and know-how for their own individual lifeplace health and efficiency.
    Also please note that increasing the tourist-attractiveness of Westminster
    will neither make the maturely-participatory-democracy that Britain, and the whole world, has long needed but never even experienced a brief sample of,
    nor improve the constitutionally-de-facto benevolent-oligarchy we do have.

  4. Joseph
    08/05/2013 at 11:43 pm

    It’s Richard I, Coeur de Lion, isn’t it, rather than Richard III?

    • Dan Filson
      14/05/2013 at 1:43 pm

      Quite so. Notable for surviving WW2 with his sword bent but unbroken. Richard 1 (1189-1199) predated even Westminster Hall.

  5. GaretHugHowell
    09/05/2013 at 9:03 am

    The time i saw lord King walk straight in to the middle of traffic outside Stephen’s entrance without batting an eye lid, in either direction, made me wonder how many people are injured or killed outside. There must be plenty of potential to provide more space to all the visitors, who currently huddle on a narrow pavement at all times of year, inspected closely by the constabulary; mayhem at peak times and quite unpleasant for those who have serious business to do.
    Parliament square roads can be a dangerous place, mainly for pedestrians and cyclists.

  6. Sharon
    09/05/2013 at 11:50 am

    The highlight of the event was when Dennis Skinner spoke up. It made me chuckle. I didn’t listen to the Queen’s speech though. It was just her reading out the ‘to do’ list of a Government who is not in touch with it’s own people and is so busy getting them arguing amongst themselves that they don’t realise laws and bills are being changed to suit the Tory party right underneath their noses. I just wish now that Wales, where I live, would break away from the UK so I no longer have to be a part of it.

  7. GaretHugHowell
    09/05/2013 at 4:31 pm

    The disuse of College Green except by BBC pundits and correspondents takes some beating; but it is slightly away from St Stephen’s entrance.

  8. Malden Capell
    10/05/2013 at 9:07 am

    I like the idea of a Speaker’s Corner in Parliament Square, although I can see it becoming badly damaged like when it was completely covered in tents and killed all the grass a few years back. I strongly believe in free speech but also want the area to remain pretty! I’m sure some compromise is possible.

    And I *like* the ermin and the ceremony. We shouldn’t pander to the media simply because they’re too ignorant to realise it’s only ceremonial garb.

  9. Lord Tyler
    Lord Tyler
    10/05/2013 at 3:31 pm

    Whoops! Who else has spotted today’s mistake? As Joseph says, it should of course be Richard I, Coeur de Lion. I should have remembered that Richard III lost his horse!

  10. maude elwes
    11/05/2013 at 8:01 pm

    This is a stupid facade that the world simply rolls on the floor laughing at. Especially when all and sundry know we are playing the austerity game. How the poverty stricken can claim a £10m funeral is value for money, followed by a bunch of simpletons dressing up in ermine, is beyond me. Is supposed to make people trust the British? It simply shows a very dark sense of humour.

    However, I don’t despise the main characters. How pretty it all is. And it was good to see the firm do the right thing by Camilla, rather than pretend she’s a hated figure DM style. Besides, the difference in her husbands demeanor is so obvious and heart warming. If you believe in the runes that say, ‘a man must be in need of a wife’ that is.

    However, after Prince Charles, I will have no interest whatsoever. It is one thing to be persuaded to curtsy to a genuine dynastic class, that has followed its leaders religiously, but it is quite another for ‘untouchables’ to pretend they deserve to be addressed as HRH. And expect us to fall for it. How utterly absurd.

    To watch hurry come ups assume title is a turn off. And to use little old men who have deeply suffered for love of country and patriotic observance is nauseating. What gall.

    The square would be wonderful if it was ‘pretty’ and inviting with some really good planting and a waterfall or two. Stay away from the urinal look, akin to the bottom of Park Lane, very tasteless and a big turn off. As are horses heads cut off at the neck. And yes, a speakers corner would be great, as well as fun. For that is where it should be, so those who are out of touch in that Palace opposite can view reality and so may be able to get a grip after all…..
    But, the best of all is no traffic. Except perhaps a rickshaw or two for the disabled or some special means for them to get there easily. With parking nearby, the kind that Westminster so grudgingly objects to. They cling heroically to the scrounger format to alleviate them of their duty. As they claim it saves them a fortune. Along with starving the homeless that is.

    One quick praise for Baroness Deech. She made a truly good speech in the Lords on the inability of the UK to show the world the meaning of true justice, as they have now removed the right to it from the poor. How utterly low of them and how stupid, from a ‘world’ point of view. Is this what we have come to? One heroic lady willing to take them on.

    • Lord Blagger
      13/05/2013 at 10:28 am

      Now you are making it up.

      What makes you think Thatcher’s funeral cost 10 million instead of 3.5 million?

      What percentage of the actual cost was down to the police dealing with the people protesting?

      • maude elwes
        13/05/2013 at 5:54 pm

        So, now you want to take away the ‘right’ to demonstrate and blame those who want to speak out against the profligacy of our collective governments. Remember, the way things are going you may want to demonstrate yourself very soon. Much sooner than you think.

        And Thatchers funeral cost more than £3.5m. A suit of clothes cost more than that these days. Not to mention a decent dress for ladies. LOL

        And you missed the other two I note. Of course we could raise trident and its cost, along with our various wars, messing about with arms in Syria and Pakistan and now they are talking Somalia. Why not try the entire African continent. That will keep the arms dealers going for a long, long time. An economy can run on that exclusively, as is shown by the US connection. It’s been their mainstay since WW11. That is all the American people get for their taxes. With the cost of their government and its perks, that is. You know, that thing called Airforce One and all its attendant parts. We could go on with the list of that profligacy as well all done as they watch their people starve.

    • Lord Blagger
      15/05/2013 at 11:37 am

      Now where did you get your 10 million from?

      Made it up no doubt.

      • maude elwes
        15/05/2013 at 2:16 pm

        And, no doubt, Blagger, all these people made it up as well.

        And more,

        Besides, even if it ws the £3.5m you boast, that in and of itself could feed a few hungry children right here in the part of England this dead lady originated from.

        But, of course, they don’t count. Our tax payers prefer a horse show.

        • Lord Blagger
          16/05/2013 at 10:39 am

          That’s because you’re dealing with estimates from people who ramped up the bill by protesting.

          The actual figure is in the link provided.

          Nothing like making up numbers is there to make a case.

          Now for your neglect case. It’s the parents who are neglecting them.

          Two children in every school class are going hungry because their parents fail to provide proper meals, according to new research.

          Parental neglect.

          The problem is most severe in inner cities but children all around the UK are struggling to get enough to eat because of chaotic parenting and chronic neglect.

          Parental neglect.

          No doubt the solution is to take more money from people’s pensions to have more coordinators in the public sector. Drive up taxes. Make them poorer, so the public sector can help tell them what to do.

          • maude elwes
            21/05/2013 at 1:20 pm


            There wouldn’t be a deficit or empty purse if the corporations and top percentage paid their full tax requirements. And, of course, stopped fiddling their VAT. You know, the way they do it by making the company the owner of the stately home or the 50 million pound yacht. Nice little padding that is. The equivalent of fiddling the Lords expenses.

            In fact we would see an excess in those circumstances.

            How you like staying away from those facts is quite remarkable.

            And negligent parents, where did they all come from? Or, were they always there? And if that is the cause of our children’s downfall, why are they not being looked at in earnest and sorted out?

            Strikes me that the most neglected are those who are raised by the state. Those who are children ‘in care’ being raped and brutalised for being worthy of respect because they are female children, for example.

            Why don’t you chew on that bone for awhile and see if you can make a difference there.

  11. Nazma FOURRE
    12/05/2013 at 12:10 pm

    Dear Lord Tyler,
    You are my treasured thought and I strongly beleive that you are right to bring forward this suggestion.From my point of view, I would suggest if I might to her Majesty through this blog to provide not only additional security to the house of Lords but to reinforce this building by employing more security officers as well as installing more safety cameras for the welfare of the Lords in the matter of safety.
    Secondly I think that Lords gowns cannot be replaced by simple suit as the beloved lords reflect the mirror of the history of great Britain and cannot be reduced by wearing only casual suits.
    God bless the United Kingdom. God saves the beloved Lords and the Queen.
    Nazma FOURRE

  12. GaretHugHowell
    14/05/2013 at 8:35 am

    Hooray for the Australian Republican movement!

    What goes on under Parliament square may be the difficulty of re-arranging what goes on, on it.Planning maps have more dimensions in the centre of a city.

  13. Lord Norton
    Lord Norton
    16/05/2013 at 9:48 am

    I am all for Lord Tyler’s proposal. I have always favoured part-pedestrianising Parliament Square and ensuring that Old Palace Yard is fully pedestrianised.

  14. Lord Blagger
    22/05/2013 at 6:39 pm

    There wouldn’t be a deficit or empty purse if the corporations and top percentage paid their full tax requirements.


    Of course there would.

    Between 2005 and 2006, the pension debt went up by 736 bn. That’s more than current spending.

    So current spending 700 bn a year. Increase in the debts, 736 bn for the pensions, 150 bn for the debts. We’re talking a number close to 1,400 bn.

    What’s 1,400 bn? The total GDP of the UK.

    100% taxes for all won’t even cover the debts.

    So put some numbers to it.

    Ah yes, you don’t do numbers do you? Just peddle myths about some mysterious pot of gold at the end of the rainbow in some far off tax haven.

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