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A Prospective Voter's Experience Of Prime Minister's Questions

26/06/2013 16:31 BST | Updated 26/08/2013 10:12 BST

I had been to the Houses of Parliament two times before, but on neither occasion had I been lucky enough to experience anything of importance. They had simply been tours, organised by my school which, although educational, did not act as proper introductions to the world of British politics.

Today, though, was different.

Today, I experienced Prime Minister's Questions. I visited an event which can boast being the pinnacle of Parliamentary democracy in this country. A time when the Prime Minister himself (or herself) is held accountable by the 650 MPs in the House of Commons. A time when constituents have their grievances represented by their local MP, to be answered by the figure who usually governs them from the safety of 10, Downing Street. I can therefore be forgiven for having had positive expectations.

In fact, what I actually viewed can be likened quite accurately to a primary school playground.

It was the immense, seemingly ceaseless jeering that stood out most prominently. I had seen it before in various entertaining YouTube videos, but never before had I fully comprehended just how loud and unwavering it was. Hundreds of adults emptying their lungs out below a sea of dangling microphones creates the sort of noise you'd expect to hear when Robin Van Persie walks out onto the pitch at the Emirates. In other words, a very loud, frighteningly aggressive roar. It was both magnificent and disgusting. Both impressive and vile.

What is certain, though, is that it should not have had a place among this country's legislative and executive lead characters. When they are essentially debating the future of the people they rule over, there is no room for hooliganism.

There is far, far too much riding on their decisions.

While trying their utmost best to blur the line between politician and football fan, our overlords at Westminster also successfully practised arguing like schoolchildren.

When Ed Miliband brought up the Tories' allegedly failing plan for building new schools, asking Cameron, very simply, how many schools had actually been built, the response was a shamelessly obvious attempt to evade the question. Cameron began a line about the legacy left by Brown's Labour government, before the entire chamber was drowned in more cheering and jeering, swallowing the line of questioning and rendering Miliband's probing nigh-on useless.

And so the rest of the questions followed, most being weakly deflected in some ad-hominem style jab at the legacy of a Labour government that doesn't actually bear much resemblance to today's shadow cabinet.

Through it all, John Bercow's voice would occasionally ring out in a futile plea for silence.

Then, suddenly, questions were opened up to the rest of the Commons, and things became less rowdy, but equally unproductive.

There was a mention of hospital wards from a Conservative MP, which drew sarcastic "aaawwws" fromt the Labour side - something I found pretty shocking, given Labour's supposedly people-friendly image.

Then, Cameron had to put on a serious face when asked about the Stephen Lawrence case. He expressed his most sincere sympathies, which were about as heartfelt as the "thank you" you get from the self-service check out at Tesco, and gave some generic statement about investigating what had gone wrong.

My primary concern throughout the twenty or so minutes I was there was that, with only half an hour per week to hold the PM to account, time was being carelessly thrown away in a series of cheap jibes, a lot of shouting and useless formalities. I felt as though MPs of more senior positions were only there for duty's sake, and that both the cabinet and shadow cabinet viewed this essential portion of British democracy simply as a way to revisit their school days and act as glorified children.

Democracy is something this country has worked incredibly hard to achieve over a period of hundreds of years. Meanwhile other nations still sit in the shadow of dictatorship, their people likely wishing they could 'be more like Britain'. As a prospective voter, it saddens me to see MPs wasting the benefits of our unique position on playground-like behaviour.