.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Our creaking democracy

For once this is not a piece about constitutional reform. Instead I am referring to the condition of the mother of Parliaments, the Palace of Westminster, which requires £3 billion spent on it to bring it up to scratch.

A BBC documentary to be broadcast next month is to highlight that the parlous state of the Houses of Parliament, includes leaking roofs, crumbling walls and plagues of mice, rats, moths and pigeons. In addition there are maintenance issues arising from this disrepair. The Times say that overflowing lavatories and blocked pipes in the House of Commons were left for more than two weeks without being cleaned up and became so bad that staff were sent home ill.

The incident conforms with the “warts and all” four-part documentary to be shown on BBC Two. Michael Cockerell, the journalist and broadcaster, was given unprecedented access to the inner workings of the House of Commons. In an interview with Radio Times, he gives an insight into the extent of damage to the Grade I listed World Heritage Site building.

“The place is nearly falling down,” he said. “It is probably the biggest building project in Britain. We saw leaking roofs; we saw paintwork and plasterwork crumbling. We saw buckets to catch the drips.

Even the stonework on Elizabeth Tower [the home of Big Ben] is crumbling.”

An initial, independent report set up to assess whether the Palace of Westminster was fit for purpose in the 21st century considered three options for renovating the building.

The first was to relocate MPs and peers completely, the second posed the option of the two chambers taking it in turns to relocate and a third scenario would involve politicians staying put while construction took place, which would take longer and cost even more.

Parliamentary authorities have decided not to publish the report until the summer to avoid the issue being affected by the election campaign.

Having seen similar issues addressed in the Canadian Parliament, it seems that not the renovation is doable but that the longer it is left the worst it will get. Somebody needs to grasp the nettle soon.
Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?