Author’s Note: A version of this paper was presented at the 2010 Popular Culture Association conference in St.Louis, MO, and I would like to thank the numerous people who offered questions and advice during the panel: Of particular note, thanks to Brendan Riley, Joshua Comer, and Michael Lachney for their helpful suggestions.
UNESCO reminded us that Parliament’s historic setting on the Thames was recognised throughout the world as the home of British democracy; that the Houses of Parliament are a unique and distinctive part of London’s skyline; and that this place, along with Westminster Abbey and St Margaret’s, was of such “outstanding universal value”—those are UNESCO’s words, not mine—that its importance transcended national boundaries.
Those of us who work here tend to take that for granted and we assume too easily that the universal affection for this place, if not for its politicians, will protect it.
There is affection for and interest in this place at home and abroad.
A recent survey ranked the Houses of Parliament fourth out of 80 attractions in terms of the enjoyment that people get from coming here.
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