Tuesday, May 20, 2014
Day 8, word of the day: Tradition
To start off with, it has been a fun first half of the trip, let's hope the 2nd half lives up to the first half!
Day 8 started off with a treat. We watched the rehearsal for the trooping of the Colors (Colours). The Trooping of the Colors is an annual parade done for the Queen’s “birthday”. Here real birthday was a few weeks ago, but, per tradition, and Britain history, for well over 250 years now, they have celebrated the “birthday” of the monarch on the second Tuesday of June. This was a major exercise of being fanciness and pageantry, no doubt about that. Though, it kind of showed the other side of the guards. Yes, the Queen’s guards. This was the first of two closed rehearsals. The next two times they do this will be their higher ups to observe and critique what is supposed to be a perfect performance, and those will also be public performances. The real one will be in front of the Queen, most of the royal family, and their roughly 5,000 invited guests. This will be a huge event they do not want to mess up. The thing is, these guys are advertised as perfect to the rest of the world. These are the guards known to not smile when on duty, or move. While they are guarding. Yet, I saw them out of step, or lining up wrong, and other mistakes. At the end of the day they are people, and I wish them the best of luck for the next month.
After that we made a quick stop over at the London Metropolitan Police Department Museum. They have what is expected. They have artifacts of the first police, and as time went on, artifacts from the first women police, some artifacts from the Jack the Ripper murders. Also even though this is a tiny museum smaller then my tiny one bedroom apartment, they still have the…. Gift shop. There was one thing I learned that I found interesting. For the most part after the series came back I started watching Dr. Who. Now this museum has a smaller Police Call Box. A Police Call Box was in the days before radios or cell phones. So a member of the public could call the police, or the police could get a call from their department saying a call came in from near where they answered the call. This is also a place where they could make notes of calls police actions, etc… The one they had at the museum was one of the smaller ones, roughly 1 ft wide and 5 or 6 feet tall. The larger ones were the size of a phone booth. In the 1960’s and 1970’s they started coming down due to changes in technology. After they came down the BBC copy wrote the look of and the name of the Police Call Box. That is one of the reasons why there is one left in London (according to the man we talked to in the museum).
We then finished out day with a lecture at London’s King College. Here we talked about the basics of U.K. policing, (specifically in England and Wales), the court system, and general governance and politics. Why would we go into all of that? The U.K. is weird. England has the same general police system and Legal System. The entire U.K. is under the U.K. Supreme Court when we are talking civil matters, and Northern Ireland is involved in criminal matters through the Supreme Court, but Scotland is not. We also talked about the U.K’s lack of a Constitution, and how their Constitution is taking pieces of the Magna Carta (nearly 800 years old), the Human’s Rights Act of 1998, and tradition.