Friday, 4 September 2009

Fixed Graham?

'Tell us how you think the Commons should be fixed' is the headline to an article in today's Daily Telegraph by Graham Allen, Labour MP for Nottingham North, and a member of the select committee of MPs elected to reform the House of Commons in order to make it more relevant and respected.

Ending the article with the request 'So please - write to us and tell us what you want from your House of Commons......' Graham Allen will hopefully take note of the comments made on-line to his article. The problem which Graham Allen - and presumably his fellow committee members - fails to grasp is that it is not just the House of Commons which needs 'reform', it is our system of government, national and local, which needs reform.

The members of this select committee, namely Mr Graham Allen, Mr Clive Betts, Mr Graham Brady, Mr David Clelland, Mr David Drew, Natascha Engel, Dr Evan Harris, David Howarth, Mr Michael Jack, Mr Greg Knight, Mr Elfyn Llwyd, Mr Chris Mullin, Dr Nick Palmer, Martin Salter, Dr Phyllis Starkey, Mr Andrew Tyrie, Dr Tony Wright and Sir George Young, comprise some who are not standing for re-election, such as Martin Salter and some who may not get re-elected, such as Dr. Evan Harris.

Graham Allen may have made his request for help, but one wonders whether the other committee members have done likewise? Should not this article have been signed by all committee members and did it have the 'blessing' of Dr. Tony Wright, the select committee chairman? Have members of this select committee made themselves available to their constituents to seek their views? On the face of it, it would be forgivable to believe that this process is yet another 'in house' stitch-up on the basis that 'turkeys do not vote for Christmas'.

Coupled with this article is the revelation, in the same newspaper, that Jack Straw, when Leader of the House of Commons, argued about the 'unwarranted focus' that would be caused by the disclosure of MP's expenses - which bears out the comment about 'turkeys' and 'Christmas'

As we the electorate are, in general, taxpayers in one shape or another, should not any proposals be placed before us for approval on the basis that we provide the salaries/allowances/expenses of those we elect.

To borrow a phrase from Mark Wadsworth - just thinking is all.......

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