Friday, 29 January 2010

The Latest Muzzle ( Or Two) Placed On The Democratic Process

Something which did not appear to get much of an 'airing' in the media was the 'shannigans' which occured in the House of Commons a few days ago, involving that champion of equality Her Rat Harman. Bearing in mind the draconian measure involved, whilst the Times had an article, it was unfortunately too brief. The procedural trick which Harman and her cohorts have pulled deserves all the ire that can be thrown at them by the public - assuming the public have the slightest idea what has happened and can be bothered to take an interest.

Back in the summer of last year  a cross-parliamentary committee was established to explore Commons reform. The proposals which eventually came out of the Committee were modest and decades overdue. Select Committees would be strengthened, no longer would the Chairmen and members be decided between party whips whose interests are invariably party first, country second*. Backbench MPs would at last get some genuine control over the legislative timetable and procedure.

Harriet Harman has never been a fan of reforms that would limit her ability to 'use' the parliamentary system. Declaring that the proposals will be introduced as 'unamendable orders', means that a single objection from a single MP prevents the particular measure in question from being passed. The debate scheduled for February 23rd will therefore be nothing more than parliamentary theatre - so nothing new there then! Were it not that this governement bunch of bastards would invoke The Civil Contigencies Act, which would mean a parliament with no dissolution ever, I would suggest a mass 'taking to the streets'! 

Email this virtue of parliamentary procedure - and let her know what you think!

Another example of democratic deficit is provided by the Independent Standards Authority - supposedly 'independent' from parliament, government and political parties - which announces on its home page that "We are consulting on the new system for managing MPs’ expenses" whilst also stating that this 'consultation' period ends on 11th February. Yippee, one thinks, they are actually going to talk to the people and ask their views - lots of 'meetings all round the country? When clicking on events one reads: "We are running series of consultation events across the country starting in : Cardiff — Monday 1st February 2010; Edinburgh — Wednesday 3rd February 2010; Birmingham — Friday 5th February 2010 and Belfast — Monday 8th February 2010. So for mainland Britain - three events? Just three?? WTF! Three events are a 'consultation process'? And each event only lasts three hours - 6.30pm to 9.30pm (H/T Tax Payers Alliance in an email to me).

The fact that the vast majority of the people of this country will be unable to attend one of these events is, one supposes, neither here nor there to our political elite - but hey, it ticks the 'consultation' box on the procedures!

* A point made by the Albion Alliance in their campaign to ensure that candidates in the forthcoming general election do not, in fact, do just that. Small wonder then that candidates appear extremely unwilling to 'sign-up'! Disbelieve me? Go check out the Albion Alliance Candidate data base!

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