Friday, 14 February 2014

Recall - the Political Class dig in

Adam Smith's butcher, baker and candlestick maker were models of civic rectitude by modern standards. Not only did they have to interrupt their trade to sit on both coroner's juries and quarter sessions juries, they faced having to take a year out of work in taking their turn as Constable. The Chartists in the 1840s would have imposed a further duty on them - that of having to sit as MP for a year's term. 

Annual terms for MPs, intended to rid the Commons of a permanent political class who squatted in boroughs as rotten then as Glasgow East or Witney are now, was of course about the only demand of the Chartists that was rejected. In effect, it would have given local voters the power of recall - or at least making sure they weren't saddled with a duff MP or one who failed to represent their interests for very long. 

Tory MPs, at least all those whose priorities are not in the order of country, constituency, party, are running scared that their disgruntled constituents will kick them out if they follow Cameron's promises of junior office, place and favour rather than the wishes of their constituents. So they've dumped the Recall powers from the next Queen's Speech. Recall as proposed was an empty power anyway - MPs themselves would have needed to condemn their fellow member before their voters were to be permitted to do so - but still, 'bent' MPs such as Yeo would have been at risk. Too many MPs see their own position as not very different to that of Tim Yeo.   

A few years ago I was in favour of the Chartists' option - or at least of limiting MPs to a single Parliamentary term - to avoid the creation of a permanent political class. Now I'm far less certain. There are MPs whose experience, ability, honesty or eloquence raise the quality of the House to the benefit of us all. Dennis Skinner and Tam Dalyell come to mind. But to ensure that we keep the ones supported by their constituents and prevent the liggers, dags and spongers from taking root we must have a power of recall.


Anonymous said...

If I remember rightly this was the only Chartist Demand that has still not been implemented...

The others were far easier to corrupt, particularly the one about the state being their paymaster. Very easy to get away with murder, because the constituency that he/she is supposed to represent, has no control over that. We should find a way to ensure that they are paid from local funds.

I still think that recall is a good idea, but it should be organised in the manner of a local referendum... If they are any good, they will not be subjected to the procedure.

Anonymous said...

right_writes: "We should find a way to ensure that they are paid from local funds."

Yes. Put the MPs salary on the council tax just like the water and sewerage.

cuffleyburgers said...

The sewage - quite right!

Elby the Beserk said...

Clegg ripped the guts out of the original Recall proposals. It is right that the legislation has been pulled, for that reason. Quite why anybody associates the LibDems with democracy God only knows.

Lied about EU referendum.
Stuffed the boundary change proposals.
Stuffed recall.

All of which are acts against democracy. God knows all the parties are hopeless, but how anybody can bring themselves to an organisation so openly opposed to democracy, yet which calls itself the Liberal Democrats (they are neither) beats me.

Worth noting that None of the Above won the Wythenshawe by-election, with nearly 72%.

Anonymous said...

Twenty-eight per cent turn out for the Wythenshawe by-election - been Labour since the invention of toothpaste.

So, Labour get their MP into the House of Commons on less than 15 per cent of the popular vote.

You couldn't make it up.


Brightside Bob said...

"Dennis Skinner and Tam Dalyell"

Dear God Radders!!!

Do you honestly think the House of Commons has been enriched by the puerile partisan verbal diarrhoea of Skinner or the treasonous utterings of Dalyell (ie: the known to be wrong bleatings - defending the Argies Belgrano in a time of war)?

G. Tingey said...

Just the same
Skinner & Dalyeell were totally wrong - but they were honest.

The removal of "power of recall" shows, yet again, that out governing clique are beyond hope.

Rope, lamp-=post, politican comes to mind.
No wonder they are all"pro-EU"

Anonymous said...

Actually, recall might see far more people than actually voted asking for a recall ... no, wait a minute, isn't that a positive outcome?

visc said...

Go a little further back and remember the Rotten Borough's such as Gatton were only got rid of after the 1832 reform act.. and that effectively took the Captain Swing riots and whiff of revolution before they were forced to.. do we even have modern equivalent .. remember all the "terrorism" legislation isn’t to protect yo, but them. Where is the modern day Cobbett?

G. Tingey said...

Indeed, it will got a lot worse before it (may) get better