Thursday, May 12, 2005

Who Knows What Evil Lurks In The Heart of Parliament?

Of all the many bits of quirky Local Color available for the delectation of the Amerkin expat in London, perhaps the most intriguing and downright head-scratch-making is the structure of British government. To wit, yer Shadow Government.

You have a Shadow Government! Do you have any idea how this sounds to an outsider? Positively mephistophelean, that's how. To us it seems perfectly logical that the undead Michael Howard should inhabit the Shadow Cabinet; woe betide the one who opens it while he sleeps within. I'm given to understand you had a Shadow Government before The Nocturnal One arrived on the scene, though. Perhaps it was instituted during the Sith regime of, um, Long Ago?

Furthermore, and it may just be me, I fail completely to fathom what exactly the Shadow Government does. Do they all run around formulating spectral policies and passing laws that only apply when the sun shines? Are they granted control over the country on Opposite Day?

Does Alan Duncan, the Shadow Secretary of State for Transport, sit in his tenebrous office and zoom Matchbox cars around on his desk, smashing them up with tiny Routemasters and cackling diabolically?

Does Liam Fox, the Shadow Foreign Secretary, skulk around Europe tailing foreign heads of state?

What are these people for? A pint to the first person (within pinting distance) who can give me a convincing explanation of the Shadow Government's purpose. 'Frightening small children into good behavior' will not be considered a suitable answer.

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