Paul Goodman claimed modest mortgage interest payments on a second home in High Wycombe. Underclaimed by £1,384 in 2006 and was reimbursed by fees officePaul wrote one of those pieces yesterday for ConHome that strikes one immediately as 'right facts, wrong conclusions'. He notes the number of losses from the Commons, both recent arrivals and seasoned veterans, and postulates
Meanwhile, the shift from the elected representative to the professional politician model has been good news for constituents. The days when the local MP could ignore the latter, or visit his seat only occasionally, vanished a long time ago. That’s the effect of consumer competition for you over the years, with the emergence of the SNP, UKIP, the Greens and the Liberal Democrats. We are moving from a model in which many MPs sat from late youth until early old age to one in which more serve for one or two terms – as the Editor of this site did.Though I can't quite reconcile this with the quote someone has included on his Wiki page - "a House in which professional politics predominates, entrenching and empowering a taxpayer-dependent political class distinct and separate from those who elect them...for better or worse, this future Commons isn't for me". It seems he can't quite decide between the old patrician class and modern career professional politicians.
There is, of course, an alternative option. Neither.
Having read and digested the tens of thousands of comments on this blog for over ten years, the one thing I am sure of is that voters despise equally both members of the patrician political establishment and the privileged elite of professional politicians. They have both been responsible, as Paul quite rightly points out, for robbing the people of their rightful political power -
If you send much of your power outwards, to the EU; sideways, to the courts; and downwards, to the devolved institutions, then don’t be surprised if voters become resistant to backing you and funding you – especially in the wake of the Iraq War, “expenses” and the financial crash.Paul mourns the loss of middle-ranking ministerial experience from the Commons because of recent 'churn'. I think he's wrong. Why entrench the failures, betrayals, sell-outs, mendacity and inadequacy of the past forty years? Why retain experience when clearly they have not only been getting it wrong but acting contrary to the interests of the voters, largely to their own benefit?
I have often pointed out that the only one of the six demands of the Charter of 1838 remains unmet
- A vote for every man twenty-one years of age, of sound mind, and not undergoing punishment for a crime.
- The secret ballot to protect the elector in the exercise of his vote.
- No property qualification for Members of Parliament in order to allow the constituencies to return the man of their choice.
- Payment of Members, enabling tradesmen, working men, or other persons of modest means to leave or interrupt their livelihood to attend to the interests of the nation.
- Equal constituencies, securing the same amount of representation for the same number of electors, instead of allowing less populous constituencies to have as much or more weight than larger ones.
- Annual Parliamentary elections, thus presenting the most effectual check to bribery and intimidation, since no purse could buy a constituency under a system of universal manhood suffrage in each twelve-month period.
We are in the process of reclaiming power - the power they have given away - winning it back from the EU, from the courts and from the unelected quangos and NDPBs, from anti-democratic and unaccountable supranational rule-makers and from an elite who have captured the State. It will take time to get a Commons that reflects these aspirations, but we are making a start.