Sunday, 8 August 2010

The Problem With Our 'Parliamentary Democracy'

Commenting on an article in the Independent by Sean O'Grady in which he rails at the proportion of women, gays, black people and state-educated MPs in the Coalition Government, Mark Wallace responds:
"My answer would, of course, be no – I don’t think you should be judged more or less suitable to govern the country due to your gender, skin colour or sexuality.
What I do think should worry us is the fact that Westminster is so devastatingly unrepresentative of the country at large politically.
We live in a nation that now has majority opposition to EU membership, oft-cited majority support for the death penalty for the most unpleasant offences, overwhelming enthusiasm for tougher sentencing, strong majority support for the legalisation of cannabis and extremely high levels of concern about the rate of immigration.
Where are those views represented in Westminster? Most of them are treated as fringe opinions that only a few MPs openly support.
It is irrelevant whether the political class have the right appearance, sexual interests or accents to represent the nation - but it is of the utmost importance that they represent the views of the people." (my emphasis)
Those last words only serve to highlight the yawning deficit that exists between Members of Parliament and those in their electorates, due solely to the stranglehold that the MP's parties and whips have over them. Notably, not one of the four topics Mark Wallace mentions was discussed to any meaningful degree during the recent general election. In a sop to public opinion the Coalition Government asked the electorate for their views on which laws they wish to see amended or annulled - but having asked has not adopted one suggestion and even, in the case of smoking, having received what were numerous suggestions/requests immediately dismissed arbitrarily by Nick Clegg. 

In a recent post I apologised for having previously, on many occasions, used the term 'democratised dictatorship' to describe the system under which we live -  when in reality the single word 'dictatorship' is all that is required.

Members of Parliament wonder why they are held in such contempt by the electorate? They just need to go look in a mirror and then spit on what they see!


James Higham said...

Sums it up nicely.

13th Spitfire said...

I am just going to echo what I have been thinking all along (and I think you agreed with me quite a few times over the past years); the election that matters is not the one we just had, no, it is the one which is coming.

Regardless of when it is, people will still remember the awful years that were New Labour but their memory will also be fresh enough to recall that the Coalition was virtually the same thing: no representation whatsoever.

This is the one where the "fringe" breaks through, whether it is a fringe that the political establishment at large agrees with remains to be seen.

Witterings From Witney said...

James, Thank you.

13th, Yup quite agree and damn good point viz-a-viz Labour and the Coalition.

One can but hope that the 'fringe' gets its act together and that the people then follow.