In preparation for tomorrow's trip, I needed to go and get my pannier bags out of the loft. While I was looking for them I came across an old set of "The Children's Encyclopedia" that used to belong to my father. I started browsing through it (like you do) and came across an article called "Parliament, and how it works". I can't see when this was published, but it must have been in the 1920's. Here are some extracts that might prove useful in light of current events. I've scanned the whole piece, and stuck it here.
In all countries and in all ages men have been glad to submit to the rule of the best of their kind. The savage tribe found in some wise and doughty warrior a commander who could lead them in war and guide them in peace. Still today, in the most advanced civilisations, men instinctively look for leadership, and it is rarely that in time of trial a nation fails to find some man of distinction who seems to the great majority to embody the nation's spirit. As the cricket club finds its captain, so the tribe or nation finds its chieftain.
Members of Parliament receive £400 a year, which enables poor men to sit in the house of commons....
A member of parliament who does his work thoroughly has a busy and exhausting time.... In practice some members work very hard and others very little; but forty-eight hours in a day would not be enough to get through all the work a member finds waiting for him.
The King's Government is a body of Members of Parliament chosen by the Prime minister, who is chosen by the King because he is the representative of the majority of the people who cast their votes. The Prime Minister is thus an exceedingly important man, and his powers are enormous.... It is impossible to exaggerate the degree of responsibility which rests on him, and all his waking hours are filled with anxieties.
I never did find the pannier bags. My wife uncovered them eventually, in the bottom of the wardrobe.