Tatty souvenirs?

By | Category: Travel rumblings

got any tiles for sale gov?

Lots of tourist souvenirs are, well to put it politely, tat. In the future you could add to your collection by buying discarded and possibly damaged floor tiles from St Stephen’s Hall at the Houses of Parliament.

One MP – Greg Knight – found that of floor tiles were being thrown away. Sell them as souvenirs he suggested. If people buy bits of the Berlin Wall, why not the hallowed floor on which Churchill, Wellington, Disraeli, Gladstone and Charles I might have walked? Stick a magnet on the back with superglue and you have a fridge magnet of unique appeal. Paint over it, “A Present for Westminster” and it will be a handsome addition to a Christmas stocking. Frame it and hang it in the loo for people to admire. Prop up that wonky coffee table with it.

And it has geographic appeal as well. These could be the tiles that Lloyd George walked on; others might be those that Ellen Wilkinson who supported the Jarrow Marchers might have trod. Who’s to say that Lady Asor hadn’t insulted Churchill by that stone (or vice versa) and Spencer Percival hadn’t been assasinated by another?

But there’s a fly in the ointment. The head of the committee who looks after administration – Sir Alan Haselhurst – has put a dampener on this new tourist souvenir. He doesn’t want to sell the originals as they might have sharp edges and noxious substances. But many would like to like to have the sharp edges of Commons wit. And we have put up with the noxious substances called MP’s for years so why get concerned now?

The real point is not that he objects to the sale of the original tiles but at which price the tile he has worked on would sell for? A Churchill tile might be worth £200, a Haselhurst one could be 20p. It’s all about ego in parliament. That’s the real reason why we may not be able to get the ultimate tourist souvenir.

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