It was a comment on the radio the other day on Gordon Brown's risible and bizarre YouTube launch of his Parliamentary expenses proposals that caused me to pause in my tracks. Why was Brown making a proposal?
We've become so used to a confusion between 'Parliament' and 'Government' that I amongst many - including most Fleet Street journalists - didn't immediately seize on the peculiarity of a serving Prime Minister making a pronouncement on Parliamentary expenses as though it were a government matter.
The job of Parliament is to hold government to account. The Executive is separate from the Legislature. The Legislature is a sovereign body, and only the Commons can legislate for itself; it's beyond the reach of government, and rightly so. So when the head of government makes proposals relating to the Legislature's expenses, why? It's not his role. It's not within his power or gift. It's nothing to do with him. It's none of his business.
But the fact that this has gone virtually unremarked says much about how the ancient rights of Parliament have fallen into desuetude.