Monday, July 25, 2011

Question Time in the House

Katherine Murphy (the age 25/7/11) compares the recent Question Time in the House of Commons (re Rupert Murdoch) with our usual rowdy effort, and we come off second best. Why? Good question! With 650 members vis-a-vis our 150, it would have to be more disciplined. With 5 year terms to our 3 it is more stable. With an election turnout much lower, as voting is not compulsory, English politics is not so intense perhaps.

Party control of members is far less strict than ours (with 1-3 line whips), and after all the English are rather more civilised perhaps!

Murphy believes Question Time should be retained despite the virtual contempt in which it is held, probably more so because, with being on TV, the party tigers are playing to the gallery. To suggest that parliament can do better is like asking someone to lift off by yanking on their shoe laces! The cause of the problem lies in parliament itself. It needs the secret ballot for the members to take back control, restoring real representation and parliamentary government.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Mess we are in

As the problems of state and the world multiply, the only means of their solution, the capacity of the public to respond constructively through parliamentary representation has crumbled and declined to a sideshow and a joke—it now being suggested that its stupidity could make entertainment in parody as a reality TV program!

Long recognised as a democratic failure the allegiance to party politics is a triumph of public mental laziness over moral principle and stupidity over intelligence.
Hillaire Belloc and Cecil Chesterton spelled out in 1911 the essentials of genuine representative government:
1. An absolute freedom (of the public) in the selection of representatives;
2. The representatives must be strictly responsible to their constituents and to no one else;
3. The representatives must deliberate in perfect freedom; and
4. Especially must they be absolutely independent of the 'executive'.

In 1911 Belloc and Chesterton made a scathing attack on the party system in England. As they saw it: 'Instead of the executive being controlled by the representative assembly, it (the executive) controls it (the parliament).' This has always been the inescapable result of the formation of political parties—the common experience of all democracies.

Lindsay Tanners’ new book ‘Sideshow – the Dumming down of Democracy’ is a scathing condemnation of the way our democracy has deteriorated. When the best of our politicians depart in frustration, despair and bitterness, we had better brighten up. They retire defeated and their frustration and failure is to our peril. And the tone of Barry Jones’ current Age article ‘Intelligent discussion all but extinct’ merely repeats a recurring news theme.

Includes Extracts from new book:
‘The Battle for Democracy – The Secret Ballot vs the Party System’