Wednesday, 10 January 2007

On Parliament

Today a Lib Dem MP appeared on Radio 5 Live complaining about the procedures and atmosphere of the House of Commons at PMQs. I have no problem with criticism of the procedures, but her attitude to the way debate was conducted was that fierce, aggressive debate, which includes attempted intimidation and humiliation was "no way to run a democracy". I couldn't disagree more. If you have what it takes to run the country, you must be able to promote and justify your views in the face of the fiercest criticism and the loudest laughter when you rise to speak. A vigorous democracy should not be run by a mealy mouthed "consensus" where everything is stitched up behind the scenes by people who basically agree with each other, like the EU has been for years (Tony's ambitions to be a leader in Europe never recovered from how he was completely stitched up over CAP reform). A healthy democracy should contain difference of opinion, dissent and disagreement, however offensive this disagreement may appear to some, however "right" one position may seem. And if you are a leader, which by definition MPs are, you should be able to handle the bear pit. I see no reason for governments to be treated with respect, nor for individual MPs to demand to be heard respectfully. If you can make yourself heard, and thereby respected, you deserve to be an MP. If not - tough. Do something else - become a teacher, another job where you are responsible for making people hear, and they have no obligation to listen unless you can inspire them.


ThunderDragon said...

I agree completely - the House of Commons is supposed to challenge the government, to get information and answers from them.

If the government can't answer the questions satisfactorily in the legislature, it has no business being a government.

james higham said...

Yes, the kid gloves are off in that situation.