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Relocation of Parliament

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GuyBarry
1321323.  Wed May 08, 2019 2:50 pm Reply with quote

MPs are about to spend a load more money on themselves.

As some of you may be aware, the Palace of Westminster is due for a multi-billion pound restoration in the mid-2020s, and Parliament will have to move out. The Lords are going to the QEII Conference Centre, just across the road from Westminster Abbey.

But the House of Commons is planned to move to a purpose-built replica debating chamber in Richmond House, the former Department of Health headquarters in Whitehall. The whole building will have to be demolished, leaving just a facade:

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/may/08/mps-to-vote-on-house-of-commons-temporary-chamber

I'm not sure how it's going to be used after MPs move back - the article says it'll be "an educational space".

I don't know about anyone else but I think this is an appalling waste of taxpayers' money when there are alternative venues available for hire in the area, such as Westminster Central Hall and Church House Westminster. (As a precedent, the Scottish Parliament occupied the Church of Scotland Assembly Hall on the Mound in Edinburgh while its new home was being built.)

Does anyone else agree?


Last edited by GuyBarry on Tue May 14, 2019 7:02 pm; edited 1 time in total

 
suze
1321332.  Wed May 08, 2019 5:20 pm Reply with quote

I largely do, although at the same time I don't really subscribe to the view being expressed in some quarters that the House of Commons should decamp to the cheapest Nissan hut with a leaky roof that can be found.

Do we know for sure that the two buildings which you name would have been made available for an extended period? Both buildings are in regular use for other events, and it's fairly likely that their owners would have sought to charge a ridiculous rent just because they can.

There is another possible issue with Westminster Central Hall. It is owned by the Methodist Church of Great Britain, and it is just possible that the Queen raised a red flag at the idea of Parliament using a building owned by a church which is not the established church. It will never be made public even if she did, but I do not completely rule it out.

As for Richmond House, the notion that it would probably be the site for the temporary House of Commons has been around for three years or so, so it's no great surprise that it is indeed the preferred option.

There is an issue with this building too, though. It is owned by HM Treasury UK Sovereign Sukuk plc, a company set up by George Osborne to provide (speaking loosely, since I don't really understand Islamic banking) Shar'iah-compliant gilts. A committee of quda* was commissioned to set out the implications of this, and one of them is that alcohol may not be served in the building.

When this first came to light three years ago, a couple of the hard right Tories that you first thought of declared that this was preposterous, and that they would make a point of drinking in the chamber at the first sitting.

They probably won't actually do that, but they just might vote against the Parliamentary Buildings (Restoration and Renewal) Bill just for the hell of it. What if first the ERG and then the Labour Party decide to do the same, just to be awkward ...?


* This is the Arabic plural of qadi, the Shar'iah law equivalent of a judge. You know what I'm like - once I'd looked up the Arabic plural I wanted to use it!

 
crissdee
1321336.  Wed May 08, 2019 5:57 pm Reply with quote

suze wrote:
..........................Nissan hut with a leaky roof that can be found............................


Point of pedantry, the huts are Nissen, Nissan make cars.

 
suze
1321338.  Wed May 08, 2019 6:27 pm Reply with quote

Damn! I did wonder about that, and cba to look it up. Penalty to suze, points to crissdee, no confering ...

 
Dix
1321343.  Wed May 08, 2019 9:05 pm Reply with quote

I've always thought is was "conferring"?

 
Numerophile
1321350.  Thu May 09, 2019 2:19 am Reply with quote

I've always thought it was 'it'!

 
PDR
1321352.  Thu May 09, 2019 2:22 am Reply with quote

I've always thought that quoted sections of text should be denoted with quotation marks(") , not apostrophes(') unless there was a quoted section within a quoted section where the use of apostrophes was acceptable to disambiguate.

:0)

PDR

 
PDR
1321360.  Thu May 09, 2019 4:05 am Reply with quote

There was a chap on the radio this morning suggesting that Parliament should take this opportunity to be seen somewhere else by temporarily relocating to somewhere like Birmingham or Manchester. He seemed oblivious to others repeatedly pointing out that Parliament realy needs to be close the the Ministries to prevent separation between Parliament and Government, and relocating all the Ministries (tens of thousands of civil servants) would be rather an expensive and disruptive prospect.

PDR

 
GuyBarry
1321362.  Thu May 09, 2019 4:30 am Reply with quote

You probably could have Parliament in (say) Manchester and keep the Civil Service in London, though it would mean that Government ministers would have to have two offices, one in Manchester so that they could make statements and answer questions in Parliament, and one in London where they could deal with departmental business. It wouldn't be too efficient though, and unlikely to be popular with Ministers who already have to divide their time between their constituencies and London. (And no doubt the press would complain about the amount of public money wasted ferrying ministers up and down the West Coast Main Line.)

suze wrote:
Do we know for sure that the two buildings which you name would have been made available for an extended period? Both buildings are in regular use for other events, and it's fairly likely that their owners would have sought to charge a ridiculous rent just because they can.


I don't how how far in advance those venues take bookings, but the refurbishment isn't due to start until 2025 anyway. It could probably be brought forward if a suitable alternative venue were available.

As to ripping off the taxpayer, do you think that either the Church of England or the Methodist Church would be want to be seen to do so? Central Hall has been used for things like the Bloody Sunday inquiry, so clearly there's no objection in principle to putting it at the service of the nation.

 
Alexander Howard
1321366.  Thu May 09, 2019 4:52 am Reply with quote

William Morris (who had an inherited independent income and only worked for amusement) wrote of a future communal Eden with no compulsion to work, no money and no laws. As there is no use for the Houses of Parliament, the building is used as a dung-market. Not much different from today then.

We could build a whole new capital, for Government, civil service and Parliament, in a purpose-built estate in Berwick or somewhere. However I once wandered among the modern 'Bundesdorf' in Bonn, before the German government moved to Berlin, and it was soulless, which is bound to lead to soulless thinking. Not much different from today then.

 
Numerophile
1321392.  Thu May 09, 2019 7:31 am Reply with quote

PDR wrote:
I've always thought that quoted sections of text should be denoted with quotation marks(") , not apostrophes(') unless there was a quoted section within a quoted section where the use of apostrophes was acceptable to disambiguate.

Fowler would not agree with you! On inverted commas he writes
Quote:
There is no universally accepted distinction between the single form ('...') and the double ("..."). The more sensible practice is to regard the single as the normal, and to resort to the double only when, as fairly often happens, an interior quotation is necessary in the middle of a passage that is itself quoted.

And that is also the house style of (among others) the Oxford University Press, which is good enough for me.

 
crissdee
1321396.  Thu May 09, 2019 7:53 am Reply with quote

Alexander Howard wrote:
William Morris (who had an inherited independent income and only worked for amusement) wrote of a future communal Eden with no compulsion to work, no money and no laws. As there is no use for the Houses of Parliament, the building is used as a dung-market. Not much different from today then.



"The News from Nowhere" iirc, I read it at uni and once had a copy which I lent to a friend and never saw again. Keep looking out for another one while in Hay on Wye, but no luck yet. I know I could probably get one online, but its not that important to me tbh......

 
suze
1321418.  Thu May 09, 2019 11:05 am Reply with quote

Dix wrote:
I've always thought is was "conferring"?


It is really. Both forms looked wrong, and I cba to get a dictionary out. Such is the danger of using a word which one doesn't have occasion to write down very often!


Numerophile wrote:
Fowler would not agree with you! On inverted commas he writes
Quote:
There is no universally accepted distinction between the single form ('...') and the double ("..."). The more sensible practice is to regard the single as the normal, and to resort to the double only when, as fairly often happens, an interior quotation is necessary in the middle of a passage that is itself quoted.

And that is also the house style of (among others) the Oxford University Press, which is good enough for me.


North America tends to work the other way around, though, and whichever way around one chooses to work one is fairly likely to meet some tiresome person who insists that one is wrong. One of the Deputy Heads at my school is such a person, but I refuse to have my grammar "corrected" by a person who refers to double quotation marks as "sixty six and ninety nine".

FWIW, people taking GCSE English are allowed to go either way around so long as they are consistent about it.

 
GuyBarry
1321422.  Thu May 09, 2019 11:36 am Reply with quote

suze wrote:
Dix wrote:
I've always thought is was "conferring"?


It is really. Both forms looked wrong, and I cba to get a dictionary out.


I think verbs in "-fer" can cause confusion because of varying stress patterns. "Confer", "defer", "infer", "prefer", "refer" and "transfer" are all stressed on the final syllable, so should double the "r" before suffixes beginning with a vowel; "differ", "offer" and "suffer" are stressed on the first syllable, so they don't.

But then there's "preferable", where the stress moves to the first syllable, so the "r" isn't doubled; and "transferable" is a complete anomaly, because it's usually spelt with a single "r" but pronounced with the stress on the "fer".

 
Dix
1321439.  Thu May 09, 2019 12:57 pm Reply with quote

No points? I was hoping for a point :-(

:-)

 

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