Tuesday, 12 May 2009

A feeble Parliament that has lost its dignity

I can rarely recall a weaker Parliament than this one. Parliament is our check on the Executive, the voice of the nation's conscience, and a strong and self-confident Parliament is a healthy one. A strong Parliament and a strong government is the finest of combinations; not comfortable for the central Statist party organisations, for a strong Parliament consists of independent minded members, but good for the country.

A weak Parliament with a strong government, or a strong Parliament with a weak government, makes bad laws and poor decisions. Right now we have a weak government and a weak Parliament, and with a Speaker who has become the embarrassment of the nation. Labour must bear much of the blame for this. Blair was never a Parliamentarian, being more at home in make-up and TV studio lights. Brown is a thug and bully whose every move has been to weaken and emasculate the Commons. They gave us Michael Martin, a crude Gorbals trougher with little feeling for the potential of the House but with an agenda to encourage individual MPs to take the opportunity of their time in Parliament to enrich themselves.

Philip Johnston, writing in the Telegraph this morning, says much of what I wrote yesterday. He lays the blame at the new breed of 'professional' politician lacking integrity, honour or virtue. I agree. And without the integrity of members, Parliament itself has lost its dignity.

Whilst there is a delicious schadenfreude in watching the painful public embarrassment of so many pompous, conceited and narcissistic politicians, this is actually damaging to us all. The current incumbents of the House can never redeem themselves - only their successors can do that. But they can act now to remove the Speaker, who personifies all the sleaze, corruption, weakness and incompetence that taints this Parliament.

In the past Parliaments earned themselves memorable descriptors; the Rump Parliament, the Mad Parliament, the Long Parliament, the Short Parliament and so on*. There is only one descriptor for the House now sitting; the Rotten Parliament.

*Also the Good Parliament, the Bad Parliament, the Model Parliament, the Wonderful Parliament, the Merciless Parliament, the Convention Parliament, the Unlearned Parliament, the Fire and Faggot Parliament (of 1413), the Parliament of Bats, the Parliament of Devils, the Barebones Parliament, the Convention Parliament II and the Loyal Parliament. But never, until now, the Rotten Parliament.


Anonymous said...

As I have recently blogged, this mendacious bunch have turned the Mother of all Parliaments into a painted whore.

Letters From A Tory said...

The only voice Parliament has got at the moment is one that says "It's in the rules".

Anonymous said...

It's perhaps no great wonder that a Parliament which has colluded in the removal of its functions to another place, and has presided over the surrender of the country to a foreign power, should itself end in impotence and squalor.

Anonymous said...

Point of order, sir: Michael Martin is not from the Gorbals. The Gorbals area has really cleaned itself up lately; the old slums and high rises have been swept away, the deprivation and squalor are gone and the perennial problem of endemic alcohol and drug abuse is over. The Gorbals is (are?) now quite a nice middle and working class area full of bank staff, plumbers and electricians. It's just across the river from the City Centre and financial district and has even become popular financial sector workers who can't afford or won't pay the inflated City Centre housing prices.

Michael Martin is from Springburn. Springburn, though much less famous than the Gorbals, is an area which has always been much, much worse. If you imagine just how bad you thought the Gorbals was and then multiply that by a factor of five, you're probably still not close to how bad Springburn is.

Drugs permeate the entire area - as do Afghan asylum seekers and Albanian pimps. The police have given up on the whole area; the only police presence you'll see will be on the periphery, on busy main streets in broad daylight or clearing up the mess at a crime scene. Gangs, each usually based on one extended family, run the whole place. Gang leaders have morphed into community leaders. If you have a problem, you go and see the leader of the local gang who dispenses his own form of justice. The entire economy of Springburn revolves around drugs, theft (to pay for drugs) and occasional Pakistani-owned shops (regulary robbed) who cater to the area's many neglected children and doddering OAPs.

It has been observed on more than one occasion by more than one commentator that it is not possible to get elected in Springburn unless you are willing to make certain arrangements with the local family-based gangs.

Interestinly, not only does Michael Martin represent the area, so does his son as the local MSP. They've both worked hard to ensure that funding for Springburn is increased. It's unfortunate that all this money, no matter how much is invested, never seems to lead to any material improvement for the area. It makes one wonder where it's all going.