Tim Wigmore has an article in The Staggers, the political blog of the New Statesman, one with a heading: Parliament must shed privately-educated and Westminster bubble MPs to win voters’ trust; and a sub-heading: As voters become more inclined to plump for an option outside the mainstream, or stay at home altogether, parties should recognise the electoral gains in becoming more genuinely representative of Britain today.
When one looks at this author’s ‘bio‘, it becomes necessary to firstly think that he needs to ‘grow-up’ a tad before pontificating on a subject on which he has obviously given little thought. That is not to decry the attempt of one so young to offer a suggestion to what is wrong with our current system of democracy; unfortunately, in his case, it just illustrates that he is part of the grouping about which he complains.
There have been, of late, many articles attempting to make our current system of representative democracy more representative, of which Wigmore’s is the latest – and all are akin to attempting to turn water into wine. We are all aware that, reputedly, only one person has performed that trick; although David Blain did turn coffee into money, albeit with a little ‘trickery‘.
Our political class indulge in ‘trickery’ – although their form of ‘trickery’, which in comparison is in the kindergarten class as it relies on a more basic form, namely that of lying. Witness that when Cameron and Clegg usurped power in 2010 they promised, among other things, to create a power of recall thus enabling an electorate to recall their Member of Parliament if they so desired (page 27: A Programme for Government); only for it to be found that the final decision would be taken by a committee of MPs. It was also promised that 200 all-postal primaries would be held in seats that had not changed hands for many years and that local residents would be given the power to call for local referendums n any local issue – yet we still await the first; and on the second we then found that the results of such referendums could be ignored if the local authority so chose – but perhaps I digress?
Wigmore, like Cameron, Miliband, Clegg, Cash, Carswell, Hannan and Boris Johnson, is but a talking head from within the Westminster Bubble running round in circles trying to achieve the impossible – namely attempting to make our current system of democracy more representative – genuinely or otherwise. It cannot be done, because:
- How can such a system be representative when a political party, ‘achieving office’, can pass any piece of legislation it likes and those who are supposed to be represented have no means of halting said piece of legislation?
- How can such a system be representative when there is no separation twixt Executive and Legislature, meaning that those elevated to the Executive cannot represent those they were elected to represent?
- How can such a system be representative when prospective candidates are ‘parachuted in’, at the whim of their political party, without the agreement of the electorate they will be asked to represent?
- How can such a system be representative when those elected are ‘whipped’ to support their ‘party line’ in any vote held in Parliament, purely to keep that party in power?
- How can such a system be representative when those who are supposed to represent feed those that are supposed to be represented false information?
- How can such a system be representative when taxation – and levels of taxation – can be imposed on a people when the people on whom said taxation is levied are unable to object or decide on what and how that taxation should be spent?
It is all very well for Wigmore to bemoan the fact that Parliament is unrepresentative because there is an imbalance twixt male and female members of parliament or that the ethnic mix is still out of kilter with that of the present electorate. Were either of those two factors to be addressed it would still not make parliament ‘representative’ while the defects noted above still exist.
Boris Johnson is consider by some to be a buffoon – and the latest to so agree is Simon Nixon writing in the Wall Street Journal. Yet Johnson, among the political class, is not alone with not one Member of Parliament seemingly able to produce a coherent and factual utterance on this country’s membership of the European Union. Wigmore may well consider members of parliament to be assiduous – that they most definitely are is beyond doubt when you read and listen to their views on ‘matters EU’, spouting as they do utter piffle. Unfortunately piffle is not confined to just our political class, it even appears from those considered to be ‘experts’ on the subject, experts which include think tanks such as Open Europe and even the economic adviser to the Arbuthnot Banking Group.
Civitas has entered the fray, joining Nixon and others in the condemnation of Boris Johnson’s recent report. We are, it seems, to be blessed with two further reports on (1) ways of leaving the European Union and (2) the views of business on that subject, the first of which is due to appear on Wednesday of next week. Needless to say, when these reports are published, where coherence and fact are concerned, I’m not holding my breath.
Young Wigmore needs to start again by returning to the kindergarten class because Parliament not only needs to shed its privately educated members, along with its Westminster Bubble, but it needs to return the sovereignty that it has usurped from those to whom it belongs.
What we have at the moment is not only not representative – hell, it doesn’t even have any vestige of democracy.