Friday, 29 May 2009

Friday at last ...

Is I suspect what a lot of MP's are saying. Though I doubt it will give them any relief from the glare of the media spotlight. Is it just me though, or are there some aspects of this saga which are beginning to resemble the mobs we usually associate with anarchy and the rent-a-mob activities of protest groups?

Take the case of the MP for Bromsgrove, there is an extremely vociferous woman orchestrating a campaign entitled "Julie must go!" She claims to have over 3,000 signatures on a petition she and a small group have whipped up and doorstepped people in Newsagents and Chemist shops around the constituency to sign. Now my understanding of the majority of people approached in this way is that they will sign rather than cause a fuss - ergo, possibly half or a little more than half those signatures could have been obtained "under duress". Then one needs to look at the percentage of the vote that the signatures represent - 3,000 out of almost 90,000 (Or 3%) is not a very large percentage. Therefore the claims that "a majority" of her constituents want her to resign is not true. Then comes the revelation that the lady behind it all is a Party activist for a rival Party. Democracy? I think not, more like mob rule led by the media.

Yes, there is a case to answer by all those who have manipulated the system to their benefit. I wish I could get some assistance with my mortgage and there are certainly improvements I could make to my flat if I could get a subsidy to pay for it. Parliament does need reform, it needs to have some of its powers curbed for sure and we also need to look at Brussels/Strasbourg - the EU trough is, if anything, deeper and even more profligate, though there it is the unelected bureaucrats in Brussels and their equally unaccountable "Commissioners" who are the big beneficiaries. Their abuses make Westminster look tame - if we could but get at the information.

The trouble is "outraged" citizenry whipped up to a frenzy by a biased and none to innocent media is not the best way to achieve our reforms. We need an election so we can get rid of our NuLabour/Old Labour Communist/Socialist government. Then we need to make sure that we get -
- an elected Upper House, preferably limited to 33% Hereditary Peers, 33% Life Peers and the remainder Life Peers recommended by Industry, Commerce and Unions.
- The Lower House should be slimmed down - we don't need 646 MP's - and again we need to look at how they are elected. The first past the post system as currently operated is simply a recipe for perpetuating "tribal" voting. There are vast areas in inner cities where the Labour Party could put up any simian hominid and he or she would be elected.
- The Civil Service must be cut back. It is too large and too territorial, departments in Whitehall don't consult one another and won't co-operate. This is the Civil Service power base, divide the Ministers against each other and you control them. It has to stop and the Civil Service must be cut back to no more than 10% of the work force in UK Plc - it currently stands at 21%. We can't afford it and shouldn't have to put up with it.
- The issue of the Scottish MP's voting on English legislation must also be addressed. Labour won't, because that will instantly remove their majority - so, again, we must have a general election and the Scottish MP's should be removed or moved to another forum or permitted to debate or vote only on those matters in Westminster which have force North of the Border. After all, Scotland now has a vastly expensive Parliament of its own fully subsidised by the English taxpayers. Why should we pay twice?
- The tradition of "Yah-Boo- Sucks to you!" style political debate, amusing as it may be to the terminally stupid, has had its day. It' time the Parliamentary procedures were completely overhauled and the business of government dealt with in a more mature and sensible manner.
- The electorate is now more literate and, one hopes, better informed than ever before - the possible exception being those who read the "Red Top" daily papers - and it is time we were allowed more say in the business of parliament. All too often the excuse is trotted out that something contentious which we would like to argue "was in the manifesto". Since probably 90% of the electorate never see these wonderful and no doubt extensive (Judging by what is supposed to have been in the present government's) documents, I think it is time that the ballot paper include a full list of every candidate's manifesto wish list and the electorate should answer yes, no or maybe to each item for the vote to count. Anything not agreed by a majority must then be dropped from the Parliamentary slate.
- The Whips Office must go. It has no place in a Democratic society, all it is there for (and it is a remnant of the 17th Century system under Cromwell) is to ensure that the Members vote according to what their party and not their constituents dictate.
- Parliamentarians should be remunerated in the same way the rest of us are - a salary commensurate with performance and reasonable travelling expenses to and from their constituencies. Housing should be their affair, not the taxpayers - if I have to work away from my home, I have to make my own arrangements and claim back on an agreed scale - buying and furnishing a second home at my employers expense is not an option. One accepts that there will be expenses such as running an office for constituents and from which to conduct business - those can be covered by providing staff employed directly by the Palace of Westminster and rented from local councils. Some MP's seem to have rather remarkable offices from which to operate. I am pleased to say that mine seems to have a rather more modest set-up and certainly works hard in his constituency on behalf of those of us who operate from here.

Well, those are my thoughts on this matter, as I said in the beginning, the media frenzy is now beginning to look a little too much like a witch hunting mob for my taste. Mobs never make good governments and nor are the good arbiters of either justice or common sense. Time to back the mob off and redirect the pressure for change in more sensible ways.

No comments:

Post a Comment