Parliament’s £36,000 ‘cot mobile’

Parliament's £36,000 'cot mobile'
© Jessica Taylor / UK Parliament
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The art of politics is one thing but what about the politics of art? Over in Parliament, MPs have been fussing about what item to hang in the corridors of power to belatedly mark the 2019 general election. But now, at last, those bigwigs who sit on the Speaker’s Advisory Committee on Works of Art have finally come up with a solution: a brightly coloured, carousel-like suspended sculpture. It currently hangs near Parliament's main public entrance, acting as 'a dazzling, eye-catching and thought-provoking addition to the space it inhabits' – according to the Commons press release, at least which claims:

The abstracted shapes signify political characters from all the relevant parties as well as members of the electorate. With 64 figures in total, all the shapes are different – transparent, opaque and reflective – with a colour palette that references the branding of the political parties. The MPs elected at the 2019 election have been labelled the ‘most diverse so far’ and the work celebrates this by using shape, movement and colour, with each figure constructed either in one solid colour or from a mixture of colours that will subtly shift, drift, spin, disappear and re-emerge.

According to its artist Nicky Hirst, the mobile is also intended to symbolise the ‘carousel’ of stories and individuals present in the election. It's meant to represent the fairground carousels she saw across the country back in November and December 2019 when most towns were holding Christmas markets. 

Not all though have been impressed by the new addition to Parliament. Some staffers have dubbed it 'the wind chime'; others have pointed out that the greens are a bit more represented than in the actual election result. A Freedom of Information request by Mr S has now established that it cost the Commons some £36,124 including a £17,000 payment to Hirst plus £2,546 in expenses and £10,512 in artwork costs. A further £6,066 was spent installing it in Portcullis House, where it looms, ominously, over those sat on cafeteria tables below. With its bright colours and hanging features, one Tory MP has taken to likening Hirst's work to a 'cot mobile'. 

Still, at least it's something to distract the SNP whenever they start acting up like children again...

Photography - UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor

Written bySteerpike

Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to or message @MrSteerpike

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