Thursday, April 19, 2007

Visiting the Palace

Ok, it's actually Parliament, the equivalent of our U.S. Congress. But it's a former Palace. The royals used to live on the site until a fire in 1512 so it's known as the Palace of Westminster (history here). And I did walk by Buckingham Palace on the way to Parliament [[Not that we are obsessed with the royals, Sarah!]]

The view above is standing in the security line to enter the members area. I and some colleagues trained down to London to attend a reception for the International Polar Year (Update: press release). Wine, small sandwhiches, a few scientists and politicians talking about research at the North and South poles, all with a nice view of the river Thames. Malcolm Wicks, the Minister of Science and Technology, had to run off to vote--he's a member of the House of Commons, the elected body that laregly makes law--but he gave a nice talk when he got back. And he took a jab at the House of Lords (the appointed folks that used to be mainly dukes, earls, etc--they have little power). The bell indicating a vote started ringing and Wicks quickly remarked that it was "just" the House of Lords and everyone knows their votes don't matter. Everyone around me laughed. It felt like a U.S. Senator had just made fun of a Representative.--jt

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