I know it’s not exactly been a smooth ride in Westminster of late, but I never thought I’d see the day grown politicians cried over a clock.
It was the week that Big Ben reduced MPs into a bunch of big babies.
Hundreds gathered in Westminster on Monday to watch the clock’s last chimes for four years (not even that – they’ll be back at flipping New Year’s Eve).
Labour MP Stephen Pound was so emotional he wept into a tissue.
“No one is as conservative as a Labour MP,” he said, as he wiped away tears with his Kleenex.
The bizarre video brought a whole new literal meaning to the phrase “for crying out loud.”
Of the hundreds of politicians from all parties amassing on Westminster green below the giant tourist attraction, you have to wonder how many gathered outside Grenfell Tower.
It’s not the most peculiar chapter of British politics – I’ll leave that honour to the great Pig Gate scandal of 2015 – but it’s certainly highlighted just out of touch some of our MPs are.
To get some perspective, there is a food bank just a 13 minute walk from Westminster. I think it’s more of a scandal that in the past year, nearly half a million emergency food supplies were given to children in crisis than the inevitable dismay of tourists hoping to hear an antique clock chime.
It is 2017. I thought the ‘turn a blind eye’ chapter of politics was reserved for an era when guillotines were still in use.
I’m not saying there is no reason for a degree of disappointment to see a British tradition silenced for a few years but if only politicians were as vocal about the real issues. Like the fact there were 4,134 people slept rough in England on any given night last year, a number which has nearly doubled in six years.
Perhaps while the famous bell is restored over the next four years, our government and opposition may like to discuss restoring a system that allows multi-millionaires to dodge huge sums of tax while nurses are living off canned baked beans. After all, there’ll be fewer distractions in the bong-less halls of Westminster.
Because the shouting about the silencing of an old clock screams volumes about the silence over much greater issues in Britain right now.