Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Rule Brittania! Londay, Day 1

My job continues to rock, as I was invited to take part in a workshop in London. That is, I am back in Europe to spend both Canada Day and the Fourth of July (US Independence Day) in the capitol of the former colonial power. I was able to meet with one Member of Parliament here as part of the larger project on the civil-military relations of the mission in Afghanistan, and that was a great experience. Got to see the gears shift as a bell rang indicating a vote was to be held (on the new standards to avoid more scandals about government money being used for MP's homes/moats). We moved quickly, and I watched the banter between this MP and pretty much everyone he encountered.

So, a few thoughts on London:
  • Haven't been there since 1987. The big difference is not so much the new ride, but how incredibly expensive the Underground is--4 pounds for one ride within the central city zone.
  • A striking difference between London and Berlin (and Paris, to a lesser extent) is the complete absence of EU flags on government biuldings here in London.
  • Some very striking slogans on the various monuments, including "The Boldest Measures are the Safest" and "The Glorious Dead."
  • My memory is bad, really bad. I spent seven weeks here twenty-two years ago, and I do not really remember, aside from a few key tourist locales (The Tower of London, Trafalgar Square, etc.), what I saw and did not see. I clearly got a better view of the Parliament this time--with the MP.

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