Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Order..! Order..! A TV News Cameraman In Parliament.

Not only have i stepped in plenty of dog poo over the years, I have stepped into many, many rooms as a TV News Cameraman. Yesterday though, for the first time in my long and illustrious news gathering career, (Stop laughing...) i stepped into the mother of all rooms.

The Chamber of the House of Commons, in the Palace of Westminster, appears on the TV news on countless occasions every week that Parliament sits, yet i had never entered it.

The Palace of Westminster...

I was not in a privileged position, the chamber is open to the public for daily tours during down time, and the cut and thrust of British politics can be witnessed from the public gallery when MP's are shouting Boo-Yah at each other, and generally cocking things up.

But yesterday, whilst waiting for an interview with a local MP, i was given a peek. Apart from the very kind security lady who took me in, i was alone in the chamber... and apart from being surprised at just how small the chamber is, i was taken in by the deep polished wood, green leather benches and history of that room.

In my minds eye i could see Churchill standing at the very dispatch box that i now touched. The Duke of Wellington, Sir Robert Peel, and the protectorate under Oliver Cromwell. This small chamber, although much changed throughout time, just oozes history from the 14th Century onwards. I let it sink in.

In around 24 hours or so, the current Prime Minister will take his seat where i now sat, (I tried to squeeze out a fart... nothing) having recalled Parliament on the death of Baroness Margaret Thatcher, a figure who in her time here, caused passions on each side of the chamber, and on the streets, to reach boiling point. I too, wanted to leave my statesmanship like mark...

My inner Dennis the Menace mind began to wander... A whoppee cushion under the Prime Ministers seat..? 50p under the Chancellors seat, with a note telling him to spend it wisely..? I could possibly even leave an A4 sheet of hastily written policies under the seat of the Leader of Her Majesties Opposition... Super glue on the Speakers chair... Oh the possibilities.

A small 'Ahem' from my minder brought me back to reality. I asked if i could take a picture of me in the chamber, but i was warned that if i did, an encounter with Black Rods implements of death would be my fate... followed by an unceremonious ejection at high velocity from Parliament by a big hairy policeman, or a big hairy policewoman. (She exists, just outside St Stephens Gate).

Pah. You pay for all this in taxes and not even a photo to prove i was there, my little part in its history. A wave of revolutionary 17th Century fervour kicked in. I took one last look... And a well known phrase came to mind...

"Guy Fawkes... The only man in history to enter Parliament with honest intentions."  

Paul Martin is @ukcameraman on Twitter.