Sunday, January 01, 2012

New Year's Eve on the Terrace.

Last night's fireworks display on and around the London Eye was an amazing experience. Never been before, and never seen anything like it before. Reported to have been 500,000 people there. First shock was walking over Westminster Bridge from our flat to the House of Commons or more accurately trying to. We set off just after 9.00. It took about 25 minutes to cover the 300 yds over the bridge, where we encountered a 20' high wall and a police controlled no-go zone 20 yds wide. Showed my identification to a police officer and he just laughed. No way through. Another 25 minutes to retreat the 300 yds to where we had started - and to walk down to Lambeth Bridge and cross there instead. Never seen so much human flesh crammed in together. Accidentally stood on one woman and kicked two others who had decided to sit down. Saw only one fight. Reminded me of one of those penguin nesting sites that David Attenbrough films. Anyway, we finally made it to Black Rod's Entrance, and the Terrace in time for the display.

And what a display it was. Loudspeaker's all over two bridges and the Embankment. Hundreds of boats of all shapes and sizes parked on the Thames. Could see a barbecue in full glory on one of them. And then the fireworks started. Our little faces were beaming in wonderment. Inevitable, my Welsh hill sheep farmer gene was asking me how much such an extravaganza would have cost (at least a million for 11 minutes I reckoned). But another told me that the world was watching. If you're going to put on a show, it should be a good one. And it was just brilliant. Jeremy Hunt was right in yesterday's Telegraph when he said that we must really go for it and put on an Olympic Show to dazzle the world.

Last night was a great perk of my job as an MP. We payed £25 per ticket (which I think went to charities chosen by the Speaker). A fellow MP did tell me that next year, the Terrace may be hired out to corporate sponsors, paying £200 per head. Probably pack 500 on - which makes a cool £100,000. The question to be asked though is whether we want to demean our Parliament by renting it out to the corporate market. I suppose the Queen lets people walk around Buck House for a fee, so why not I suppose. Whatever a great night enjoyed by all.


Anonymous said...

Always find it strange that many Conservatives want some form of privatisation / competition in the NHS. Yet when it comes to things such as the Army or Palaces / Parliament they cannot stand it.

Personally I don't think there should be any commercialisation of Parliament - questions may arise why they went for this bank instead of another.

Nevertheless, I wish you Glyn a good 2012. I really hope that we can all come together and make 2012 a great year (and prove the speculators wrong!). I ask you to do one thing: work with your colleagues to create jobs, and to give the millions of young people hope that one day- they will get a job (without the need to emigrate).

That's it- no great Olympic games, not more powers to the Assembly, not electrifying railways - but plain and simple jobs.

Anonymous said...

When I was very young I went on a school trip to London and it included a visit to the Palace of Westminster. We had to write an essay on 'the mother of parliaments' and mine was about all the dinosaurs and beefeaters. It evidently left a shallow impression on me compared with the Tower and the Natural History Museum. I do remember the bell going off and all the MPs going to their next lesson, but the lady in charge (who they called the speaker presumably because she waffled on alot) smelt detol and wee. I'm sure it would make a wonderful hotel, and the granny clock is very impressive.