Signorina in Sheffield #8 – Cultural Learnings of London for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Italy


Last week I went to London on a school vacation.

Let’s say a University Field Trip, which sounds more professional, although the whole experience did of course revolve around terrible hangovers and being lousy on the train as though we were all 15 years old.

We visited a lot of media stuff and the House of Parliament, which was definitely the most interesting day.

Coming from Italy, I thought that in the other democratic countries politics and Parliaments would be a serious thing.

It is with great pleasure and a hint of discouragement that I can now say that the world is a small village when it comes to MPs’ behaviour in modern sacred buildings.

When the guide was taking us through the House of Lords everyone was silent and excited, holding our breathe while passing through the chairs on which Britain’s history was shaped.

Because the guide said that we were not allowed to sit down, as it is a privilege for those who had done the pledge of allegiance as members, I was really afraid of tripping down and end up insulting the House of Lords with my Italian butt.

That’s me: I trip and fall a lot, especially in smart occasions.

The university had 3 tickets to attend the scrutiny in the House of Commons, in which the Prime Minister and other members of the Government answer questions to the MPs on their work.

Three names were drawn and the people extracted were very happy and excited about it.

The rest of us went to the press room to assist at the event from giant screens.

We were all dressed in nice office suits, heels and ties in their places.

The MPs were laid down on the green chairs, bellies coming out of the pants, ties loosen on red faces.

I frankly don’t know who’s who in British politics, so I am very impartial in talking about the people: for most of them I can’t say if they were Tories, Labour, Lib Dems or else.

What I saw was a nice, well dressed woman answering questions about education, and a bunch of MPs laughing and screaming so hard from the benches we could barely hear her.

The poor speaker was yelling “Shut up! Shut up!” every ten seconds, like a hysterical teacher in an elementary school.

An elementary school in a very poor neighbourhood.

He threatened to expel a few of them if they kept on with that behaviour, receiving a big burp as an answer (I swear: a burp!) followed by endless laughs.

It was like watching monkeys in a cage; or better, monkeys returning to the cage after a night out in a very chavvy pub.

At first I didn’t say anything because I did not want to be disrespectful towards MPs who weren’t mine, but when I saw the English students laughing so hard they were crying I just joined the group.

The annoying thing is that as soon as Gordon Brown and David Cameron entered the room, aka as soon as the cameras started recording something that might end up on TV news, the ties were straightened, the belly put back inside the pants, the yelling stopped immediately and they all started to look very elegant and efficient.

At least in Italy they keep being embarrassing with or without cameras onto them.

But if you ever come to the Parliament, sneak into one of the press rooms while no VIP is present in one of the two Houses: it’s like the Big Brother, but trashier.

By Marta Musso

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