Thursday, 28 April 2016

Watching Parliament

When I first became interested in the British Parliament, it wasn't easy to follow proceedings. Yes, there was better coverage in the serious newspapers - but it consisted of written excerpts from the previous days speeches. Hansard was available for a modest price - but not living close to an H.M.S.O office meant they were hard to come by; and Today in Parliament meant both staying up VERY late, to listen to what was in effect the equivalent of the reading of a newspaper report. Apart from Hansard, the reports left control of what was covered in the hands of editors.

Worst of all - access to materials which explained what was happening; and why things were done a certain way - was not easy.

Thankfully that has changed.

Live and recorded video of proceedings are available at Parliament Live. This covers not just the chambers, but committees (which in my view are much more interesting). The BBC also has a number of live feeds on BBC Democracy Live.

There are many sources of information to better understand what is happening. The Parliamentary website is worth exploring. Not only does it give background information on how parliament works, but you can learn more about the MPs and Peers that you are watching, the committees, AND get up on screen the documents that are being used (Commons):(Lords).

The best introduction to Parliament at the moment is, in my view - "How Parliament Works"

It is also available in 'Kindle' format. (you can use the search box for Kindle on the left hand side of the blog. Commission received from Amazon helps me to keep these blogs going).