Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Prime Minister's Questions: Good Luck Gordon Brown

With Gordon Brown taking over as Prime Minister after Tony Blair's departure, I figured today would be a good opportunity to highlight some of the fun quirks and intricacies of the parliamentary system in the UK. For this, we turn to our Caught on the Bound Senior Parliamentary Analyst.

Right, that's me. Now, where is that talking points sheet....ah, here.

Hoots! Hollers! Order! Chaos! Do these words come to mind when you think of government? Most likely. But do they come to mind when...

OK, that was rather dumb. Let's try again.

One of my favorite events to watch, be they on C-SPAN, BBC, or YouTube, are the Prime Minister's Questions, a constitutional convention of Parliament in which the Prime Minister will answer questions in the House of Commons, often sparring with the Opposition Leader over matters ranging from policy to the Prime Minister's daily appointments. The result is a healthy, lively, and often humorous debate. It gets even more interesting when the Speaker of the House of Commons interrupts to shut everyone up, shouting over the hollers and jeers of the entire House. Check out this example (skip to the 6:00 mark to watch a funny exchange with the Speaker):

Can you imagine what would happen if President Bush had to do this every week? This is no knock on the U.S. form of government, but you have to admire the open and accountable nature of PMQs.