Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Journalistic Editorialism

All my life, from being a teenager at boarding school, I have always read the Daily Telegraph, a paper which over 50 years ago was held to be a journalistic voice of reason - plus it may have had something to do with my 'Conservative' instincts which I held for approximately 40+ years. Richard North, EU Referendum, refers to the Telegraph as the "Failygraph", a sobriquet which day by day becomes more pertinent.

The latest failings of the DT become obvious when considering the editorial that is due to appear in tomorrow's edition, one dealing with Clegg and the attempt at House of Lords reform. From this example of journalistic wisdom, discussing the HoL reform, comes:
"After all, is this really what the Government plans to spend its time doing between now and the next general election?"
As I have commented in previous posts, with European Union membership resulting in little law that our nation can initiate, our Parliamentarians have to find something with which to occupy their time - and thus justify the exhorbitant salaries and expenses for which they claim - and reform of the HoL 'fits the bill' admirably.

This apology for journalistic editorial continues:
"Like electoral reform, the composition of the Lords is an issue that matters greatly to think tanks and experts, but which leaves the rest of us cold. The Liberal Democrats, after obsessing over the subject in opposition, should wake up to the reality that few others care – and, more to the point, that the Lords as it is currently constituted actually works. The alternative proposed by Mr Clegg would not only undermine its function as a revising chamber, but also reopen the argument that was settled in 1911, when the Parliament Act asserted the authority of the House of Commons over the Lords. An elected Upper House would claim to have a democratic legitimacy to match that of the Commons. That is a recipe for constitutional stalemate, or worse."
The fact that composition of the HoL, as an element of electoral reform, has left the public "cold" can only be laid at the door of our political elite - they have never, to my knowledge, ever attempted to explain it, or discuss it, with the electorate - nor it's purpose in the 'scheme of things'. The HoL, as presently constituted, most definitely does not work being filled with political placemen and placewomen, inserted into the HoL by political patronage, who exhibit, in most cases, a total lack of political and/or constitutional understanding. When one accepts that the situation of a political stalemate, or worse, is exactly that which our political elite are working to create, thus cementing their hold on power, Clegg's proposition for constitutional stalemate immediately becomes more readily understandable. 

Clegg's proposal, one presumably with Cameron's tacit agreement, would do no more than open another Pandora's Box - Welsh and Scottish devolution have shown us only too well what happens when you open a Pandora's Box! Clegg's proposal is yet another example of a political idea whose ramifications have not been thought through, resulting in the innocent (the electorate) meeting the bill, a bill which contains both financial, political and constitutional penalties.


TomTom said...

The 1911 Parliament Act was passed to stop the Upper House blocking a Budget....yet serious Upper Houses can block Budgets forcing Joint Committees to resolve issues.

The US Senate was not elected until 1913. The German Bundesrat is a pre-1913 version of the US Senate with State nominees.

The UK is locked in a time warp of Inertia. The Parliament Acts should be repealed and budgetary control exercised far better than hitherto. Ever since the 1911 Act The Commons has spent money like water and bankrupted the nation.

In essence the 1910 Budget was for Liberal Imperialists to go for Guns and Butter without the means to pay for them. Within 2 years they had Britain committed to war with Germany in support of France and Russia and national penury by circumventing Cabinet and The Commons.

1911 was a Coup d'Etat and destroyed the British Constitution

English Pensioner said...

For most off my working life and until recently I always read the Daily Telegraph.
But as I said in my own blog, back in April, is there any longer any point?
As the headline news, by definition, must be out of date due to TV and Radio, the only point of a newspaper is for greater in-depth coverage and analysis, together with informed opinion.
However, both of these have steadily disappeared, until we reached the stage where there were 120 pages of "supplements" and a "magazine" on a Saturday, compared with 36 pages of newspaper, of which probably half was news!
I now find my news on the internet along with comment from different viewpoints written by the various bloggers. Just the Mail on Saturday, because my wife like the TV supplement.
I hope the saving will allow me to get a lap-top or an i-pad or something that will allow me to sit in my arm chair and read the news!

WitteringsfromWitney said...

TT: Interesting comment - may well be worth a tad of research and then a post.....

EP: Agree your comment - get your laptop pdq - you'll wonder how you lived without one!