To paraphrase two characters in Shakespeare’s play “Hamlet”, Hamlet himself and Marcellus, the United Kingdom is ”an unweeded garden” of “things rank and gross in nature” and that “something is rotten in the state of the United Kingdom”.
If the opinion polls are to be believed and there were a general election today, Ed Miliband would be Prime Minister and Ed Balls would be Chancellor of the Exchequer. These two politicians are both culpable when we consider the dire financial straits in which the United Kingdom was left after their terms in government; the former through “collective cabinet responsibility” and the latter as the architect of much of what went wrong.
In his post of yesterday Richard North, EUReferendum, stated a consensus is building in that the House of Commons is a flawed institution – which it undoubted is because while the members of the House are supposed to constrain the executive, now the executive constrains the members; yet another deficit of representative democracy.
Consider the two politicians previously mentioned, Ed Miliband and Ed Balls – two politicians who, to be blunt, caused havoc for our country; the former in his position of Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change and the latter with his economic theories, aiding and abetting his Prime Minister, Gordon Brown. While they are not alone, as there are others just as culpable, these three men were re-elected to Parliament and paid no price for their wrongdoing.
Political parties and their politicians lie to the public in promising one thing in their manifesto and enacting something different – and it is not just the previous government that is open to that accusation, the present Coalition government is also guilty. It can be argued that manifestos are ‘designed’ by the party leader and those within his ‘coterie’ and that they alone are responsible for manifesto promises not kept; but are not also their fellow MPs, their backbenchers, just as guilty for trooping through the lobbies supporting a policy that was not in their manifesto? Should they also be able to be re-elected without paying a price?
At present the only recourse an electorate has of punishing an MP for his past actions is, where said actions have been sufficient to cause outright rage, to grit their teeth and vote for someone else whose political creed they may not support. Those of us attending the ‘Harrogate Meet’ have much to consider and no doubt one of the demands may well be, if not stated in as many words, a requirement for an unfettered re-call system for an MP. Much has also been forthcoming, not only from our politicians, but also from political commentators in the media about the need to ‘clean up’ politics; for the need of politicians to rediscover those attributes of principle and honour.
When considering the fact that politicians pay no price for their misdemeanours, some comments have been made on my blog that politicians should pay a financial ‘retribution’ for their wrongful decisions – a reasonable and sensible idea, but one that would be difficult to put in place. However, it is possible to devise a system whereby such politicians who have palpably ‘cost’ the country or who have lied – whether by word or deed – can be ‘hit through their pockets’.
Whatever system of democracy is suggested by those attending the ‘Harrogate Meet’, in order to hold politicians to account; to ensure that principle and honour are not only practiced but seen to be practiced; that politicians do not lie to us; that politicians can never again bankrupt the country; that politicians can never again undermine our right to self-governance – why do we not ban them from holding office ever again and also cut their pensionable entitlements?
Just an idea……….