Wednesday, January 21, 2009

MPs Bad, Parliament Good

Ironic that at the same time (i.e. now) as MP's are disgracing themselves still further in public opinion by trying to hide their expenses, (though I see Brown has just said he will reconsider) the police invade the House of Commons for the second time in as many months to compromise the relationship between MP and citizen in this fine democratic country.

Politicians are not greatly respected, especially when the words "trough" and "snouts" are hovering in the subconscious, but there is a difference between the person and the position.

Parliamentary Democracy is the bedrock of our existence as a civil society. It's practitioners may seem less than admirable, (though a lot of good MP's exist - they just do not make such big headlines as the troughgobblers), but the alternative is either some kind of autocracy (think Saddam Hussein), theocracy (Ayatolla Khomenei) or warlordism (think Somalia).

Yes, I know there are a plethora of other political systems, the most important being better forms of democracy than the clapped out UK model (think Sweden) but these are the important options, the ones that shoud make us defend democracy with vigour.

The House of Commons should be invoilate. It is crazy that we have this embarrassing pageantry at the Opening of Parliament, with the Queen herself having to knock twice and wipe her feet before being allowed to come in to the House of Commons, symbolising the power of Parliament, but then the Old Bill comes in without a search warrant. Twice in two months.

I feel an ely* of worry over this. Maybe I should feel much more worried. Is the Met trying to tell us something about where the ultimate source of power lies in Great Britain plc?

*you may need to get a copy of "The Meaning of Liff" by Douglas Adams

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