Talking to a friend from the US recently in an internet chat room, we had the following exchange. I’ve tied it up slightly – typos and unpacked abbreviations – but it’s pretty much the original text.
BRIT: Our new government’s decided to “pack” the House of Lords. But Labour did it before them so it’s hard to complain…
YANK: That’s your upper house right?
BRIT: Yeah, like your Senate. But not elected
YANK: LOL……. but what d’you mean “packing”?
BRIT: They’re making their chums Lords so they can outvote Labour
YANK: What, just appointing them? No election?
YANK: And these guys can legislate?
BRIT: Yup. They’re going to bring in the biggest cuts since the 1930s
YANK: But what about your Constitution? You’re talking major constitutional change…
BRIT: We haven’t got a Constitution! Well, we have but it’s not written down. Or if it is written down it’s a state secret. Only the Queen is allowed to read it.
BRIT: IT’S TRUE!
YANK: You mean some fly-by-night politician can change the British Constitution over a “cup of tea?”
YANK: No wonder they won’t let you carry concealed weapons!!
BRIT: It gets worse. They’ve changed the arithmetic for a vote of confidence. It was 50% +1. Now it’s 55% +1. It means the government can’t be brought down except if one of their own MPs votes against them
YANK: Decided over a “cup of tea”?
YANK: Poor Brits! If they tried that here ten thousand rednecks would storm Capitol Hill
BRIT: It’s an international humiliation…
YANK: But we gave the world George W Bush…