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Old conventions must go too

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The speakerIf reform is to be totally transparent then their should be no peerage for Michael Martin

So The Speaker has decided to go rather than put MPs in the position of forcing him out of the chair, the Fees Office is to be abolished and replaced by another government appointed quango to be seen as the “independent arbiter” of MPs expenses, feeding from the hand of the taxpayer is to be sharply reduced no more cleaning of moats, furnishing second homes, and dining at our expense from expensive barbecues or the local Waitrose, but is this all enough to indicate a complete wind of change?

First of all Gordon Brown’s proposals completely ignore the views and considerations of those who ought to matter the most, and that is us, the voters. Once more the executive dictate to the legislature and Parliament becomes less sovereign in it’s own Houses, the focus of attention is for now on The House of Commons, yet there are troughers sitting in The House of Lords too, some of whom were willing to attempt to change laws to suit vested interests, there are at present no proposals for reform of expenses in the upper chamber. The normal convention is for a retiring Speaker to be given a peerage, but what could be a more crass illustration of the continuance of a “gentleman’s club” than the ennoblement of Michael Martin?

He has been one of the most partial of Speakers, with a propensity to protect the status quo of the venal and greedy MPs that he presides over, he is the chairman of the “rotten Parliament”, he has been personally marred by his own excesses with expenses, charging us £1400 for a chauffeur to drive him around Springburn in his Glasgow constituency, and hiring taxis at our expense to take his wife on shopping trips to the local supermarket. He has made moves to have his own son chosen as his successor in the House of Commons (it remains to be seen whether that plan will come to fruition), and when respected MPs questioned his own failures to grasp the seriousness of the expenses scandal he publicly humiliated them from the Chair. He clearly had lost the support of the three main party leaders yet it is unclear what deals may have been made during his conversation with the Prime Minister on Sunday and which may have either eased or hastened his departure. To follow the normal conventions in this case would be a travesty, Michael Martin MP no more deserves a seat in the House of Lords than I do, and if it is offered then it will be seen as an overwhelming indication that nothing of any real purpose has been achieved in attempting to clear out the mess and bring a breath of fresh air to politics.

I repeat a call that I made a few days ago, the only way to bring some real sense of change is to have Parliament dissolved, this rotten body has sat for too long, and it’s time that we the people had our say in a general election to charge a new government and a new House of Commons with far more sweeping reforms more attuned to the needs of the next decade.

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Written by curly

May 20, 2009 at 9:38 am

Posted in Democracy, News, politics

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