What is parliament? – with Danny Wallace
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What is parliament? – with Danny Wallace

November 27, 2019


Dictator Danny: Right, this bit I do know. At the end of every general election, one political party will emerge victorious, they’ll sign a two album deal and the single will be released the following Mon… Hang on, no, no. That’s, that’s Pop Idol. Danny: The political party that wins the most seats in the House of Commons is invited by the Queen to form a government. ‘Dear Danny, please form a government, love, the Queen, and P.S. bring a bottle.’ Danny: So the leader of the party who is now the Prime Minister gets to choose a cabinet. Dictator Danny: I’ll have that one!
Danny: Not that type of cabinet, clearly. What you’ve done there is you’ve misunderstood deliberately, haven’t you, for comic effect? Dictator Danny: Yep. Danny: So the cabinet is a group of people with expertise – senior ministers, who along with various junior ministers, are responsible for running the different government departments – education, health, defence… Dictator Danny: Defence, what? Dis-fence?’ Danny: Yep, well. Dictator Danny: Right, so, my cabinet is a bit like my gang. I’m the leader of that gang. I like that, it’s good. I’ll be Prime Minister then. Finally I will have ultimate power. Danny: Ah, but will you? Dictator Danny: Yes. Danny: Ah, but will you though? Dictator Danny: Yeah. Danny: But will you? Dictator Danny: Yes. Danny: No, because you’re forgetting about Parliament. Now one of its most important roles is to keep an eye on what the government’s up to, so that people like you can’t just go around inventing laws about making all dogs wear hats or abolishing shoes. Danny: Government can’t just do whatever it likes, Parliament is like its mum. Except government can stay up a bit later. Dictator Danny: Right, so, I can’t be a dictator? Danny: No. Dictator Danny: And… and even if I’m Prime Minister, I’ll have to do as the people say? Danny: Yeah. Dictator Danny: Right, so is there any way whatsoever that I can wander around wielding massive power, completely unelected, and get to wear quite a smart uniform in a semi-military fashion? Danny: Mmm, well… Danny: Most importantly, Parliament is not about the Palace of Westminster. It’s not about huge, imposing buildings, because really, Parliament could be anywhere. They could meet down the pub, or in a shed in Swindon. That’s not the important thing. The important thing is the concept. Parliament is an expression of the will of the people, it’s democracy in action,
looking out for our best interests. Whether elected MP’s or unelected Lords, their job is the same: to represent you and me. Well, not just you and me, clearly that would be, that would be weird. They represent everyone. Even him. Man: What you doing? Traffic Warden Danny: Whoah! Hey! You’ve got…a… Pick that up! Man: Pick that up! Traffic Warden Danny: Hey, hey. Hey! Dictator Danny: Probably put two wheels… on these, erm, and then you could probably… you could use that as a bike then. That’s good, make a note of that. I think this is a good idea, I’ll implement this, just keeping the bollards warm, with various rugs. That makes sense, that makes sense. I’ll probably, umm,
probably just have another bit here that just says ‘please’. Just there, just ‘please’. Because I mean that… that’s just rude.

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