Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 09-10-2019, 08:41 AM
Malden Capell is offline
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: London
Posts: 2,362

Non-Brits - conduct of UK Parliament?

Hey foreign types. I'm curious.

When the UK Parliament is shown on TV with its shouting, booing and shenanigans, is this seen positively, negatively, or anything?

I ask because nearly all Brits seem to find it a source of cringing embarrassment, even long before Brexit entered the scene, but I've encountered more than a few non-Brits who find it amazingly refreshing and engaging.

I guess if you only encountered it a little you might think that, but when it's all you ever see of Parliament, it can wear.

Any thoughts? I think there's an assumption in the UK that other countries' legislatures are dusty, library-like senatorial debating halls. That can't be wholly true, can it?
Old 09-10-2019, 09:27 AM
Inigo Montoya's Avatar
Inigo Montoya is offline
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: On the level, if inclined
Posts: 16,059
You mean all that "Ooooorduuuuuuhhhh" business? Flippin' hysterical. I think in general the USA takes itself very seriously, and so any passion at all in congress is a remarkable thing. We're pretty used to dry delivery of even the most stinging attacks. But how is Parliament seen? I'll make you a deal, I promise not to think regular Brits are anything like their MPs if you agree to not equate the average American with the depravity festering in Washington DC. It's all theater, just different varieties of entertainment.
Old 09-10-2019, 09:47 AM
Northern Piper is offline
Charter Member
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: The snow is gone. For now
Posts: 29,575
What I've seen reminds me of our House of Commons, especiLly Question Period.
"I don't like to make plans for the day. If I do, that's when words like 'premeditated' start getting thrown around in the courtroom."
Old 09-10-2019, 09:49 AM
Nava is offline
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Hey! I'm located! WOOOOW!
Posts: 42,512
Originally Posted by Malden Capell View Post
Any thoughts? I think there's an assumption in the UK that other countries' legislatures are dusty, library-like senatorial debating halls. That can't be wholly true, can it?
Spain's tends to be less, ah, entertaining than the Brits have been lately, but we've got our moments. There have been lines from speeches which joined pop culture ("¿a cuánto están los garbanzos?", "how much do chick peas cost?" - Manuel Fraga Iribarne, as a way to point out that most PMs are completely disconnected from the worries of normal people) and others which were very much not in speeches also did so (turning away from the microphone after a particularly irritating Q&A session and thinking it was closed, Fernando Trillo let rip a "¡manda güevos!" which produced the new euphemism "¡manda Trillos!"; I'm drawing a blank on colloquial expressions right now but güevos are testicles and the lines' meaning is along the lines of "fucker ought'a keep his hands away from my balls damnit").

The general impression is that the current situation is Not Normal but also that it is a reflection of the very much Not Normal situation outside of Parliament.
Evidence gathered through the use of science is easily dismissed through the use of idiocy. - Czarcasm.
Old 09-10-2019, 11:46 AM
AK84 is offline
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 16,320
Pakistani here. It sounds like our National Assembly, so meh.
Old 09-10-2019, 02:58 PM
Grrr!'s Avatar
Grrr! is offline
Charter Member
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 16,426
This American loves it. I was actually going to start a thread on this myself.

Much more entertaining than the borefest that is our Congress.
Old 09-10-2019, 03:05 PM
Slow Moving Vehicle's Avatar
Slow Moving Vehicle is offline
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Posts: 3,996
It feels a little more honest, really - speakers at least know how their comments are being received (by their colleagues, anyway).
Old 09-10-2019, 03:11 PM
Giles's Avatar
Giles is offline
Charter Member
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Newcastle NSW
Posts: 12,939
Originally Posted by Northern Piper View Post
What I've seen reminds me of our House of Commons, especiLly Question Period.
It's very similar in the Australian House of Representatives and in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly. (The latter is nicknamed "the bear pit".) It's because the leaders of the government and the alternative government sit facing each other every day that the parliament sits.
Old 09-10-2019, 03:12 PM
Pantastic is offline
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 4,192
It's so completely different than the pretend politeness and forced formality that we get. It seems like a difficult environment to get things done in, but also makes the MPs feel more like real people who care about issues than someone just playing a role to get elected. And it's much more entertaining to watch, even some of the funnier things that have happened in US congressional testimony (like Dee Snyder suggesting that Tipper Gore is into hardcore S&M) are quite dry in comparison.
Old 09-10-2019, 03:18 PM
Aspenglow's Avatar
Aspenglow is offline
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Oregon
Posts: 3,984
The Brits are so much wittier and tuned into sly humor than we are here in the States. I'm aghast at what you are currently enduring as a nation and over what is happening to your government, but the theater of it is nonetheless riveting.

I was similarly entranced the first time I visited Australia and happened to catch some of their own parliamentary proceedings on the tee vee. Boy, could those guys and gals lay it on!! Funny. As. Hell. Yet they accomplish things. Or at least, they did then. This was 20 years ago.
Old 09-10-2019, 03:36 PM
The Stainless Steel Rat's Avatar
The Stainless Steel Rat is offline
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Close to the Saturn V
Posts: 10,908
I prefer the Taiwan assembly, were politics is not only vocal but physical...



Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:06 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to:

Send comments about this website to:

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright © 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

Copyright © 2017