Why move Parliament, if only temporarily, from the banks of the Thames to York? York has a lot in its favour. York Minster has a few ideas about itself, but as examples of great English Gothic go, it’s a piece of work. And there are few better hours to be lost than sitting in the window of the Guy Fawkes Inn watching the twilight gather.
Maybe that’s why Boris Johnson floated the idea of moving Parliament to York. Though I’ve never seen him in there. Or perhaps he wanted to march to the top of the hill. Though that, as we know, causes complications. Besides all else, it’s just 60 miles to Barnard Castle.
York is a grand place to spend time. But it’s a bit, you know, obvious. It’s doing well and not the sort of town that needs a leg up.
If Boris Johnson were serious about finding a representative place in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in which to decant Parliament in 2025 so that Pugin’s Palace could be properly repaired, I have a few suggestions. And if Lord Singh of Wimbledon genuinely believes that York really is seen as “outer Mongolia” by the “general public”, he’s going to love these.
Birmingham. Right there in the middle of England. Birmingham has been an easy target in the past as some sort of overbuilt concrete nightmare. Bunk. The centre is very cool indeed. And the people are genuinely among the very best. Also, there is a huge, underused, mostly mothballed, new municipal library. It has plenty of space. The Government could finally show they mean it when they say they are committed to library use. And being in Birmingham it’d allow for some frequent poor gags by MPs about Peaky Blinders.
York is a grand place to spend time. But it’s a bit, you know, obvious. It’s doing well and not the sort of town that needs a leg up
If there is a need for something that pushes things further, how about going north, really north, out of England and into Scotland? Leaving aside the complication that there is already a Parliament in Scotland. And that there MAY be a bit of an issue with having London parachuting in to usurp the political power there, it could be a useful bridge-building exercise. And it’s not permanent. They could set up in Paisley. They could get David Tennant to open it. Or Paolo Nutini or Gerard Butler or any of the other people that Paisley isn’t shy about telling you come from Paisley. There’s a good bit of space in the Abbey too for 650 folk to meet. Paisley lost out, narrowly, to Coventry (another great Midlands city) in the race to be 2021 City Of Culture. So this would show real support.