On Wednesday I went to London for the Evict the Bishops debate, which was held by the Labour Humanists in Committee Room 10 in the Houses of Parliament. We were advised to turn up early to get a seat, and this was just as well since everyone had to spend a long time queueing outside in the cold before even getting through the door. This was due to over-the-top security arrangements, involving everyone having their photo taken and attached to a tag round the neck, and having their coat and bags passed along a carrier through a detector while themselves passing through another. I suppose this is the sort of thing that now happens routinely for air travellers, but to me it was a new and most unpleasant experience. This is no way to treat invited guests. After that there was an enormously long walk to the committee room through the vast open space of Westminster Hall and up innumerable steps past many pretentious statues and busts followed by a twenty-minute wait in the corridor outside.
After this the debate itself was something of a let-down. It seems the Lords had voted on the Equalities Bill the previous night, but no-one present seemed to be aware of much about this or of the role of the Bishops in voting down the amendments. The meeting was advertised as being from 7:30 to 9:30 but the chairman David Aaronovitch seemed intent on ending ot at 9pm, and I felt that comment was consequently cut short. Not as much fun as I had anticipated!
Earlier in the day I had paid a visit to the Cocoon at the Natural History Museum. That also I found a disappointment, but I will report on that elsewhere.