If you’re making an international relocation to London, I’m making your London move more festive with London Relocation’s Twelve Days of Christmas! The next line in the original is: “On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me ten lords a-leaping.” Please join me in now singing our London Christmas carol:

“On the tenth day of Christmas, London gave to me…

HOUSE OF LORDS GOVERNING…”

A move to London from outside the UK not only means having to live in a new London apartment and neighborhood and starting a new London job; it also means living under an entirely new government. Perhaps most emblematic of London is the Big Ben clock tower, but it’s inside the Westminster building beyond that Parliament runs the show. It’s comprised of the House of Commons and House of Lords, which operate independently of each other but complement one another’s functions. The House of Lords is specifically made up of appointed members bearing either the Lord Spiritual or Lord Temporal title. The former play an ecclesiastical role in the Church of England whereas the latter are appointed by the monarch per the Prime Minister’s or House of Lords Appointments Commission’s advice; historically, membership was once a birthright, though it’s a small percentage of members today who have a hereditary claim. Whereas the House of Commons is fixed at 650 seats, the House of Lords has no membership limit; at present it has close to 800 Lords. Legislation can be introduced and debated in either House; however, it seems the House of Lords’s power is greatly curbed: rejecting a bill passed by the Commons, for instance, is heavily restricted by Acts of Parliament, and they have no control over the Prime Minister’s term. They cannot delay money bills, and other bills may only be delayed for two parliamentary sessions or one calendar year at most. It’s also from the House of Commons rather than House of Lords that most Cabinet ministers (and every Prime Minister for the last century) emerge from. To be honest, I’m having a difficult time grasping what exactly the House of Lords dodo. But I’m happy to have sucked you into my confusion. 🙂 To be fair, the roles of UK government have greatly evolved over the course of several centuries, so the House of Lords was originally more empowered, particularly where judicial functions were concerned. Prior to the establishment of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom in 2009, for example, the House of Lords was the court of last resort for much UK law. The UK is best characterized by its combination of holding fast to tradition and adapting to change, so it remains to be seen how the Lords’ role may continue to transform in the modern political landscape. Not that we non-citizens expats moving to London have much say in government affairs, of course—enjoy that taxation without representation after your relocation to London… 😉 Now, to continue our caroling:

“…Pineapple’s dancing, Icecreamists milking, Swan patrons swilling, shot geese fileting, five Olympic rings! More calling plans, pretty fresh hens, sea turtle tanks, and a cartridge to hunt in country.”