In December, the four 6.1 Politics classes spent a fascinating day in Westminster, visiting both Parliament and Europe House.
At the beginning of the trip, we were split up into two groups; one group went to visit Europe House to participate in a Brexit workshop, whilst the other group, which I was part of, was given a tour of Parliament, and took part in a workshop on Laws and Debating. We first visited Westminster Hall, learning about its vast history dating back to the days when it was the former banqueting hall of Henry VIII, to a place where world leaders, including Nelson Mandela and Barack Obama, have addressed parliamentarians, and more recently (and controversially) as the place where Holly and Phil from This Morning skipped the queue as the late Queen lay in state.
We then had the pleasure of visiting the House of Commons, where we found out that Winston Churchill had asked for the entrance archway to be rebuilt with rubble from when it was bombed in WW2 as a testament to that time. But the main thing that shocked me was the size of the room itself. On the television, it seems massive but in person, it felt very cramped, so this must often lead to very tense and confrontational debates. We were on a tight schedule, so we rushed off to the House of Lords where we were given the chance to sit in on a debate. We listened to Baroness Bottomley of Nettlestone, former Health Secretary under John Major, who ‘warmly endorsed and supported’ the report of the Archbishops’ Commission on Families and Households, Love Matters. It was a great experience to see politics in the flesh.
After our time in Parliament, we attended a Laws and Debating workshop at Parliament Education Service. Here we split up once more into two groups and went head-to-head testing our knowledge on weird laws around the world,and debating rules in Parliament. We then proceeded to have a mock debate on the Death Penalty, where some very strong views were exchanged. Luckily, even though my team was debating ‘for’, we ended up winning.
During the lunch break, we scouted out future workplaces such as the Treasury and the Department of Education, where we made sure to tell Gillian Keegan that she was doing a good job. The main attraction, however, was No.10 Downing Street, but sadly there was no sign of the PM, only the Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office: Larry the Cat.
After lunch, we joined a workshop discussing the relationship between the UK and the EU, learning about the ins and outs of the EU, including its inception after WW2 and the various institutions that make up the EU such as the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council of the EU. I particularly enjoyed it when we separated into political groups in a mock European Parliament, and came up with proposals on a variety of issues like human rights and renewable energy.
Overall, the trip was a definite success, and helped to deepen my understanding of UK politics.
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