Thursday 23 April 1987

…My 14th visit to London.
We got on a train at 10.09 after 10 minutes of waiting.
It was completely full so we all had to sit in separate seats all around the carriage.
When Mum and I went to get some drinks from the buffet car, it was like
walking on an Underground train, swaying from side to side.
It didn’t help that the coffee cups had no lids on.
We arrived at London St Pancras at about 12ish.
We had some lunch in St James’s Park then went to the House of Commons
where we watched Prime Minister’s Question Time.
Our seats were rubbish.
We couldn’t see the Prime Minister at all, but we could certainly hear her…

Couldn’t we all?

I’m not sure if we’d arranged to watch prime minister’s questions before the trip, or whether we queued up outside parliament in the hope of being let in. This was back when you could actually see right into the chamber, before the big perspex barriers were put up to stop demonstrators throwing stuff thereby subtracting all credibility from their campaign and undermining their own cause.

I do remember one fusty old Tory clambering to his feet and urging the prime minister that, seeing as it was St George’s Day, she should hold an impromptu debate on how great England is under a Conservative government. How the Commons roared with that kind of laughter you don’t hear ANYWHERE ELSE in the country.

But who’s laughing now?*

"Reverse gear? I've no need for that!"

*I don’t know.

2 thoughts on “Thursday 23 April 1987

  1. Can you still do that? I didn’t even know it could ever be done at all.

    I remember when you could walk up Downing Street and just stand outside No.10 in the vain hope you might see the PM. We stood in vain for Mr Heath. Seems like a millions terror threats ago now, but the gates only went up relatively recently, IIRC.

    • Screens were put up in the visitors’ gallery of the House of Commons in 2004. Before then you had an unrestricted view of what was happening down below. You’re still able to attend prime minister’s questions, but you now need a letter of permission from your MP.

      Didn’t the Downing Street gates go up in the late 80s, following another round of IRA bombings?

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