Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Changing Role of MPs.

Can't escape from the expenses storm swirling about our heads. Two more MPs announced their retirement today, Andrew Mackay and Ian McCartney, the latter citing ill health. David Cameron is baring the teeth of a leader who will do that which has to be done. And several people telling me that they have no intention of voting next week. Doesn't help that hardly anyone I talk to has any idea who the candidates are. That's Proportional Representation for you. And I was asked if I wanted a receipt by the 'Mr Whippy' ice cream seller at today's YFC County Rally.

And now I've just relaxed with today's Telegraph, skipped the first few pages to avoid the subject, and I find the Charles Moore is at it as well. But from a rather more interesting standpoint. Over the last two weeks. I've heard the quote "In the name of God, go" a few times. Charles reminds us that when the MPs went, Oliver Cromwell established a dictatorship. Gordon Brown could be planning to 'Do a Cromwell' as we speak. Certainly, all of his ideas lead in this direction - a new Government Quango to decide on MP's pay and conditions; a discouragement of outside earnings; a payment for simply turning up; These changes will lead to more taxpayer's money for politicians, greater dependence by MPs on the taxpayer, and less scope for independent thought and accountability to constituents first.

I agree with Charles that with change in the offing, we need to restore the authority of the individual Member of Parliament as a power in his or her own right, defending the interests of constituents, exercising independent judgement - not just a peg which can simply be told which hole to slot into. I suppose I'm lucky in that I'm of independent means (made it myself before you ask) and would not be dependent on the taxpayer. I also really do think that representing Montgomeryshire is a higher calling than any movement up the greasy pole of ministerial ambition. This doesn't sound quite so unusual as it did a month ago. Maybe, some good will come out of this expenses chaos.


Man in the street said...

This is how Ann Widdecombe sees it – in the Daily/Sunday Mail/Mail Online:

"I can hardly believe the number of thieves, liars and tax fiddlers still in post. We must clear up this mess."

Power to Ann!

Jeff Jones said...

MPs also need to stop being glorified social workers and surrogate councillors. The task of an MP is to be a legislator and hold the executive to account. Represnting constituents means representing their interests at a national level not writing to the local council demanding meetings on planning matters. As Geoffrey Wheatcroft pointed out in the Guardian yesterday "MPs have been bought off, leaving Parliament weak and governments free from scrutiny". Look at some of the Select Committee minutes and see how many of the members have obviously been put there by the whips because they know that they will not ask the right questions.

Anonymous said...

Jeff - suggest you look closer to home and the voting record of Mr Davies!

I'm sure the people of Maesteg don't want detention without trial for 90 day or ID cards. They would like to see the Gurkha's having residency in the UK in addition to an enquiry into the Gulf War.

alanindyfed said...

The changing role of MPs -
From Role Models to Unemployable.

Jeff Jones said...

For the benefit of anon I don't support any of those policies either. My MP knows my views on ID cards, I've told him often enough that they are totally alien to the traditions and socialist philosophy of the Labour Party and I will not be carrying one.

K said...

"I say, I don't like crooked MPs, no sir. I say, let the witches boil them till their flesh peels off at the lightest touch."

The statement above represents a general view, not a rational view:

Having said that, I am willing to donate a large bath-tub to be used as a boiling implement to boil at least one of the scally wags until "their flesh peels off at the lightest touch."

Birds and Bees said...

Alan Johnson on what needs to be done (in Parliament): "We need to overhaul the engine, not just clean the upholstery."

Kind of reminds me of a line from the movie "DOOM", itself based on the video action game of the same title, "Give me soldiers, good honest clean soldiers" - or something like that.

If I can be Frank.

MPs seem to have taken to heart the Beatle song "MONEY" ... "The best things in life are free, but you can keep them to the birds and bees ... Now give me money, that's what I want"

Glyn Davies said...

Man in the Street. Its a pity she's already decided to stand down at the next election. I too think she would make a good Speaker, as would Frank Field. Parliament desperately needs someone who will not be beholden to any MPs, who will be fair in how all MPs are treated - and will be able to force the governing party to take the House of Commons seriously again. Its a very big job.

Jeff - You are right, but its unrealistic to expect MPs to refuse to become involved in local issues. What has always irritated me is when MPs oor AMs pretend they have influence over a matter, when they do not. This lets constituents down, because it misleads them about the most effetive way to approach an issue.

K - Which constituency do you represent? I'd like to warn the local politicians to beware your wrath and tactics.

Anonymous said...

Re Jeff Jones's comments

Nice to see you recognise these facts; regarding "... the socialist philosophy of the Labour Party..." there appears to be a complete lack of trade unionists on the Labour list for the forthcoming European elections

K said...

Well Glyn, what about Jacqui Smith who gave her husband (who works as an assistant in her parliamentary office) a £240 iPhone paid for from the public purse and let's not ignore the use of the public purse to subsidize her husband's penchant for watching porn movies.

Jacqui Smith should be gone gone.

There is no way, no how (or "who"), that this 'minister' should stand in the next election. In fact she should be kicked out of the cabinet like yesterday.

That fact that Jacqui Smith is still in the cabinet begs a simple question: why?

Anonymous said...

I don't think Gordon Brown is about to 'Do A Cromwell' but a Cromwell might soon be done upon him.

Anonymous said...

...wouldn't mind seeing some of those caught out being tarred and feathered!