My mind is mostly made up.
However, thanks to my ability to listen to other people, and the fact that my mind is more open than most, and that I still believe in Father Christmas and the Tooth Fairy, it changes. Now and again. I have a couple of favourite twits whose views are somewhat opposed to mine and every now and again they tweet something which makes me sit up and listen.
I won't embarrass them by saying who they are. I suspect they know.
I think it's important that people are receptive to other people's ideas and opinions. Parliament is supposed to be a place where our representatives, that is the MPs we voted in, listen to other MPs in debates. Once those MPs have said their pieces, our MP votes either for the motion being debated, or against it, or abstains because he doesn't care either way, or because he doesn't understand. Or because he hasn't bothered to turn up.
Am I about right so far? I suspect that this is supposed to be the way it works.
But it DOESN'T work like that. They have whips and stuff, and direct MPs to vote the way they want them to. This is when I like rebels, ones who have the courage to vote against the party line. People like the famous Dennis Skinner, beast of Bolsover, whose party I despise but whose tenacity I admire.
I have been in Portcullis House, a building opposite the Houses of Parliament. I saw some people there, people whom I would have cheerfully shot, but since I don't agree with humiliating people in public, I left the elephant gun at home. I'm not sure what I was doing there, in an MPs office, when he was not my MP and was (and still is) a Labour one. Subsequently I have discovered that he is one of the biggest troughers, too.
Anyway, I was sitting there yawning whilst my colleague was gabbling away to this chap, and I was watching the telly, which was more interesting. I don't know if it was CCTV or the BBC, I suspect the former. The sound was off, so I had no idea what was being debated. There seemed to be very few people in the chamber, which was odd as there are supposed to be about 650 of them, somewhere.
And then a bell went. A bell like a very olde-fashioned doorbell. And on the screen, a little picture of a bell appeared. "Bollocks," thought I. Fire. Still, that means we can do a runner, and I can have a fag, and it's beer time. But no. The bell meant that there was a vote, and they needed some numbers. I don't know who works the bell, whether it's a party bell or a Parliament bell or whether it's on a timer so it goes off every hour or something so the proletariat think they're getting value for money. But up we get, and are politely told to bugger off, which suited me. We made our way downstairs, my mate still gabbling on to the anonymous MP, to the tunnel. The tunnel goes from Portcullis House to the Houses of Parliament, but we didn't go through the tunnel, we left the building and made our way to the nearest pub, which is what I'm best at.
Mr MP explained that the bell meant that it was time to vote. Whilst the debate was going on, he never once looked at the telly so, even if he COULD lip-read (which I expect he can because all MPs have super powers), he had NO IDEA what the debaters had said.
So then he voted. To get the numbers up.
Someone who knows lots about how Parliament works will now explain to me what this is all about. Won't they?
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