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Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Brown's quiet Statist coup

Let's be clear. In a democracy, there's no such thing as an 'independent' regulatory bureaucratic body; such an organisation will always be responsible to the government of the day, its staff will be salaried civil servants, its budget will be allocated by the Treasury and it can be expanded, shrunk, merged, split or abolished at the whim of the Executive. By any other name, it's just another department of State. Its objectives, its performance and its remit are dictated by government. The government will always reserve the power to overule it or dismiss its chief officer. Elizabeth Filkin's independence, you will recall, lasted exactly as long as it took for MPs to force her out for questioning their dubious probity, to replace her with a compliant and pliable placeholder. So let's look at Brown's specious announcement:

"If MPs continue to set their own codes and rules, however objectively they try to do so, the public will always question the transparency and the standards that they rightly demand"

Brown is the Crown's senior minister, not the head of Parliament. He doesn't have a penny to spend except what Parliament votes him. He can't raise a penny in tax without Parliament's consent. The Crown's prerogatives that Brown exercises are limited these days. Parliament's consent is needed for just about everything Brown does. Our system has evolved not because Parliament cannot be trusted, but because government can't be trusted. The direct link between Parliament and the people is our fundamental safeguard and defence against corrupt and oppressive government. It is of fundamental importance that MPs are free to set their own codes and rules; the problem is not Parliament's powers, but the poor calibre of MP in recent intakes. Thieves. Peculators. Liars. The worst of them Labour.

Cameron is spot on; Sunlight is the best disinfectant. Brown sees the crisis as an opportunity for the central State to grab sovereignty from Parliament in a quiet coup, when the real solution is real transparency and greater democracy, more independent MPs, weaker central parties and stronger local mandates.

If MPs surrender their powers to Brown's malignant statist control, they deserve to be put against a wall and shot. They are not just betraying themselves, but every single one of us who holds the franchise.


Nick Drew said...

Execellent point, Mr R.

Did you see how happy Brown looked yesterday ? he had found his G20 demeanour again - relaxed, confident, fluent, commanding ...

not a coincidence

Blue Eyes said...

I agree 100%. I argued the same the other day but not as eloquently.

Gareth said...

That we have had an incompetent and partisan Squeaker is being used as an excuse to disembowel the role.

It must be opposed but I doubt there are enough Parliamentarians to stop it.

DBC Reed said...

I would n't have though the worst of the troughers were Labour as you suggest.
What has been instructive has been the sight of the Tory landed gentry ,who don't really need the money and like to pose as truly independent,shewing their lack of class in putting in for subsidies and then turning on Martin ,who was trying to cover their backs.
An old jockey said at Towcester races, apropos horseracing, "You got the landed gentry involved and its a)incompetent and b) crooked."

Jackart said...

Brilliant post. I've linked

Anonymous said...

The parallel is in what the "Standards Board for England" has done to local democracy. Councillors now dutifully do what the council's officers tell them to do. Once upon a time it was the other way round.

Anonymous said...

Fully agree Mr. R.

Time for the House of Commons to grow a pair and tell Broon to stuff his new quango - which naturally he hopes to dominate, since he will be appointing its members, and bullying them if they don't behave.

It's not too late, but it's getting close.