Monday, 12 March 2012

This is not democracy

From "The Coalition - Our Programme for Government", the document Cameron and Clegg produced - the manifesto for which no-one had had the opportunity to vote - the Foreward states:
"We both want a Britain where our political system is looked at with admiration, not anger......And we are both committed to turning old thinking on its head and developing new approaches to government......."
From Political Reform (page 27):
"We will bring forward the proposals of the Wright Committee for reform to the House of Commons in full – starting with the proposed committee for management of backbench business." (link mine)
As Conservative Home explains, the method used to elect the BackBench Business Committee (BBBC) differed from other select committees in that its members were elected by the whole house whereas  members of all other Select Committees are elected by members of their own party. Matthew Barrett, the author of the ConHome article maintains that the BBBC has been a thorn in the side of the government business managers of both main parties - and whether that statement is true, I leave to readers to decide. However, if our political elite really wished to create a political system that is looked at with admiration rather than anger, why not make all select committee members be subject to a vote of the whole house? 

Further background on this story comes from Total Politics and the last paragraph contains what is probably the real reason for this reported change to the BBBC:
"Separately, although it's no more than speculation, some are concerned that the government might try and end the whole-House vote for membership on the backbench business committee. If BBBC membership was decided from a vote within individual parties, it could lead to trouble for the Peter Bones or Philip Hollobones of this Parliament. They are not the whips' favourite and could lose their place on the committee if the vote was done by parties – with whips organising fellow MPs to vote against them."
Cameron has already attempted to muzzle the 1922 Committee and in the process making it a puppet of the Prime Minister (virtually succeeding) and this is no more than an attempt to muzzle the BBBC. The fact that other Select Committee members are voted on by the nominee's party only, does indeed allow party whips to dictate who sits on which committee.

If Members of Parliament allow this proposal to pass then they are indeed but puppets with no minds of their own, nor have they any interest in constraint of the Executive. When one considers the imposition of 'A' lists for candidates etc, what we have with this latest proposal is a further move to a 'Politburo' style of government resulting in unconstrained power in the hand of one man, or woman. As an aside I am still waiting for an announcement on the promise of 200 all postal primaries during the lifetime of this Parliament (pigs might fly?) but I digress.

Afterthought: I wonder how many of the public even know how Select Committees - and others - are elected and even if they care? I wonder how many of the public are even aware of how our political elite are gradually and surreptitiously enslaving those they are meant to serve? I wonder how our political elite, if they truly believe in democracy, are able to sleep at night - but again I digress......


TomTom said...

The Select Committees were set up in the 1960s - but are terribly under-resourced in terms of staff. They always will be so long as Government controls Parliament. There must be a cap on the Payroll Vote with a bye-election each time an MP accepts an "Office of Profit under The Crown" ie. Minister

WitteringsfromWitney said...

TT: Re your term 'office of profit' - been saying that for some time now on the basis that any Sec of State, Minister or PPS is then unable to 'represent' their constitutents as the MP in question has to support the govt line.