Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Photo Essay: The square at the heart of British Democracy

Parliament Square is the square in front of Westminster, constructed in 1868 and boasted of being one of the world’s first traffic signals. It is a fascinating place and one which I always wanted to photograph. I have been to Westminster many times, but I never got a chance to actually sit there and take some good photographs, so this time, I made sure that I had 40 minutes or so before my appointment and trundled around taking pictures. I was hoping to be arrested or questioned by a policeman, but damn, my innocent face always gets me through (heh!). Anyway, here’s the slide show with bigger resolutions and more photographs.

Getting to the Square.
Parliament Square,London
Westminster Underground Station. It's quite impressive, if a bit stark with all the exposed concrete.

Parliament Square,London Parliament Square,London
There are quite a lot of exits from the tube station, but coming out of the Westminster Bridge exit, you see this heroic statue of Boudicca on a chariot drawn by a couple of rearing horses. This was made around 1902, but I was reminded of the irony of putting Boudicca up there, who fought against an overwhelming central government which ignored the natives. A pretty fair approximation of the current Westminster Government. Poxy gits!
Parliament Square,London
Westminster Bridge. A bit boring, a bit adequate, fairly innocuous, does its job, much like the British Government actually.



Parliament Square,London
Westminster Palace, under repair. It will require much more than this to repair the bunch of useless gits inside.
The square.

Parliament Square,London
Whitehall, this is where the grand bureaucrats live and govern our lives and is on the east of the square.
Parliament Square,London
The daffodils were out in force in the flowerbeds.

Parliament Square,London Parliament Square,London
Two views of the square. Looking back at the Houses of Parliament on the south side and the Westminster Abbey on the right.

The Statues.
Parliament Square,London Parliament Square,London
The square is filled with statues of the great and good on two sides.

Parliament Square,London Parliament Square,London
Nelson Mandela on the left and Robert Peel, Conservative PM in the mid 19th century, on the right.

Parliament Square,London Parliament Square,London
Abraham Lincoln on the left and Benjamin Disraeli, Conservative PM on the right.

Parliament Square,London Parliament Square,London
Edward Smith-Stanley, another Conservative PM on the left and George Canning who was a Whig PM, on the right.

Parliament Square,London Parliament Square,London

Viscount Palmerton, one of the great Prime Ministers of the country on the left, famous or infamous, he is a fascinating fellow. . On the right Jan Smuts, another South African on the Square. Interesting fellow, he was responsible for the League of Nations. I had a bit of an irreverent thought. Doesn't Palmerton resemble the Beast? Here’s the beast picture I thought about.


Parliament Square,London Parliament Square,London
Then two wrinkly PM’s. Liberal David Lloyd George on the left and Winston Churchill on the right. Good Lord, horrible statues, and what’s with the damn coat on the left and the bell shaped overcoat on the right? Did you know he received a Nobel Prize for Literature and was the first Honorary Citizen of the USA? Impressive!
The Protest Camp.

Parliament Square,London

There is a protest camp on the south side of the square facing the Westminster Palace, Houses of Parliament with a fairly moth eaten set of peace flags fluttering bravely in the wind.
Parliament Square,London

This is the famous Brian Haw. Such a brave, committed, determined and courageous Brit. It is a measure of his personality that he was voted as the Most Inspiring Political Figure at the 2007 Channel 4 Political Awards. Rest of the politicians are a bunch of wastrels compared to this brave man. Go read his biography on wiki, very good and inspiring indeed. He is protesting against war since 2001. Now that’s determination for you in face of significant governmental opposition through the courts and the police, wearing a battered corduroy hat with badges. The front badge says, “Keep my Muslim Neighbours safe”. Good man.
What worries me is that the UK fails the Nathan Sharansky's Town Square Test. Which is a very sad indictment of the current Labour Government which has catapulted the UK into a situation where people cannot even protest freely. Still, hope springs eternal.

Parliament Square,London
This was the base of his tent. Can you see the photographs of the soldiers killed in Iraq mounted on the plastic poster?

Parliament Square,London

What I loved was this flower, growing behind the plastic tenting, on the straggly grassy lawn. It gives one hope, despite overwhelming government pressure and war, there is still hope. Do take a look at the slideshow, more photographs there.

1 comment:

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