A New Accountability
A Party MP’s response to the arrival of the secret ballot in parliament.
As a party MP I was identified by party policies, and accountable to the party.
Following the introduction of the secret ballot in parliament, to decide all debates, things will be vastly different in parliament and in my electorate.
In my electorate, I will now have to establish my identity personally, as an independent, on an equal footing with any rivals. I must convene public meetings regularly to ensure intensive consultation with my constituents, to establish the best policies to pursue on behalf of my electorate - and
I will become very well known personally by this intimate contact with my constituents, my motives and integrity (my bona fides), being thoroughly scrutinised.
I will now be able to be active in parliament on behalf of those policies preferred by my electorate. My vote will be private but I will be publicly active to achieve the desired outcomes of the electorate.
My strength will lie in the independence of the rest of the Members, who will be free to respond to the policies that I pursue on behalf of the electorate—conditional only on the intrinsic acceptability of those policies.
I will find the local media very interested in my activity in parliament and in the local meetings. So, between the media and the constituents attending these meetings, I will be under the closest scrutiny.
Should outcomes in parliament appear inconsistent with my public stance and efforts, I will come under considerable pressure to satisfy constituents that I have honestly done the best that is possible for them.
However, a failure to achieve a desired, and justifiable, outcome will not be allowed to be the end of the matter, regardless of the difficulty of pursuing it to a successful conclusion later.
Basically, constituents will expect an unremitting representation on their behalf.
Rivals could well emerge at any time if my performance fails to convince the constituents in the public meetings—a very real, and ongoing accountability.