London Trip: Lords, Commons and Journalists. Part 2

This is my Part 2 of the London trip I took with my classmates from the University of Sheffield. After Part 1 which was a bit more focused on the newsroom and the journalists we’ve met in those places, the second leg of the journey consisted in the big, bad houses of the British Parliament.

“Hats Off, Strangers!”

Huge, impressive and traditional – are the key terms to describe what I’ve seen. For me, coming from a country with 21 years of freedom from the communist era, the traditions and history of the British Parliament are pretty unusual, yet interesting and dazzling. I’m sure many British people could contradict me on that, but I’m looking at it through the eye of an eastern-European 🙂

 

Westminster Hall

Westminster Hall was completed in 1099

Anyway, the House of Lords seems to have some incredible rules and traditions – which I respect, but I also find them a bit odd and too snobbish, while the House of Commons is a perfect scene for the staged “controversial” debates involving the Prime-Minister, his party and the opposition. Unfortunately I was not lucky enough to get a ticket for the PMQs questions, but we watched it live on TV in a room in the Parliament and it looked like a really bad comedy 😦 I was glad to hear the fire alarm and then have a walk to the Trafalgar Square. But, overall, it was a good chance for me and my colleagues to discover and understand better how the Parliament works (or sometimes doesn’t) in this country.

However, our guests were some popular and influential journalists/politicians in the British media (this applies also for the term “politician”).  Kevin Maguire , a political journalist, seems to me as the typical political journalist who’s best friends with some politicians and takes all his stories from these internal, personal sources. Actually he admitted that he has not done a proper interview in an office since the 1990s. All his stories are written after meetings in pubs, restaurants, official dinners and probably some other friendly circumstances. I liked the way he talked and his style, but you could easily notice that he was like a character playing the political journalist role in a movie at Hollywood…

“Blogging is a way to get yourself noticed”

Our second guest was Iain Dale . Quite famous in UK for his blog. I loved him, really…he seemed more honest than the others and he talked as if he really cared about…his job, journalism and politics. Maybe he was just a better actor than Maguire..then he fooled me 🙂 He gave us some good tips about blogs, abusive bloggers, blog stalkers and the use of social media. But what I really enjoyed was his talk about the LBC Radio show he’s doing and how easy it becomes to empathise with your listeners.  He was right when he said that anyone would comment on a topic which involved Iraq, homosexuality, abortion, war and some other key terms. There’s always a show where these topics are mentioned…See more on Iain Dale on (my classmate) Christina’s blog.

Veni, vidi, vici style

Unfortunately I can’t remember the name of our third guest and I really feel bad about it because I liked him. He didn’t spend enough time in the politics to lie without blinking, so he was frank, concerned and excited about talking to us. He was asked to meet us instead of Luciana Berger, who had to attend some other urgent event. Anyway, I hope someone will remind me his name..a young boy, former student at the Uni. of Sheffield who got a good job at the Parliament.

Last but not least was Paul Blomfield , MP for Sheffield Central. Not too much to say about him..he’s a politician. He came, he voted, he answered his questions as a politician and then he left.

All the four encounters were an interesting experience for us, as future journalists, even though some of us might never practice journalism in the UK, I still consider it has been a great trip with loads of things to learn. Plus, not too many people have the chance to meet in flesh and talk to these journalists, politicians and media people.

Sure, maybe not everything was perfect during our trip, but most of it was. So it was an honour in a way, for me, to be there, to represent the University of Sheffield together with all my classmates and to take part in such a great experience. Plus, we really had a good time between and after the official schedule 😀 whoop whoop!

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