Turner Reprise

Given how willing Britain’s MPs seem to be to burn down their country through their own indecisiveness and blinkered attachment to the past, it’s no surprise that they’re willing to risk the same fate for their workplace.

But it’s so ridiculously shortsighted. Concerns about losing traditions and disrupting the culture of the place are all well and good, but that will all be gone in an instant when the palace goes up like a candle and they’re all forced to decamp to a marquee in Hyde Park surrounded by portaloos. Taking forty years to renovate so that they can stay put while it happens just drags out the risk that the building will burn down.

Just move out, recreate your traditions wherever you move to so that you don’t forget them, and then move back in six years later. Glasgow and Edinburgh survived three-year refurbishments of their main museums in recent years, and the people of each city went right back to loving them after they reopened.

Moving Parliament somewhere else in Britain altogether would be refreshing, but this is the country that wouldn’t even ditch first-past-the-post when offered an obvious, undeniable improvement. It will never, ever, ever be anywhere other than Westminster. When Westminster is underwater in 2117, MPs will travel by barge from their offices in Richmond and descend via the Parliamentary lift through the David Cameron Memorial Bubble into the preserved Houses of Parliament, there to deliberate on the great matters of the United Kingdom of England and Wales while porpoises glide serenely past its windows.

1 December 2017 · UK Culture

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