Thursday, 21 May 2009

Richard Shepherd for Speaker

Richard Shepherd MP spoke at a public meeting I attended last night.

He spoke about what had befallen parliament, amongst other subjects. In fact, everything came back to what had befallen England and the United Kingdom.

Mr Shepherd has a long memory. He was born in 1942 and remembers the respect offered to all - even between parliamentarians - that used to be a legacy of the common purpose of war. There was a recognition not merely of the importance of life but of liberty.

Today, his criticism of parliament is that although the omnipotence of the Monarch has long been curtailed, authoritarianism has returned in the form of the Crown. While all proceedings of parliament are defined as matters of the Crown the present government abuses its majority power by simply ignoring the wider concerns of parliament.

Worse still, perhaps, is the resulting idleness of MPs. There is little point in questioning an executive that is deaf to its questioners. A situation enhanced by the fact that so much legislation and regulation is now framed in Brussels.

Without much to do in parliament MPs have sought to confirm their status in other ways. The result is the lurid stories of MPs expenses spread across the media.

The best remedy for parliament's ills was the anger of the public, Mr Shepherd said. A notion I'm pleased to say echoes an earlier post.

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