Friday, 22 May 2009

There is a tide in the affairs of men

We at the height are ready to decline.
There is a tide in the affairs of men
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat,
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.

— Julius Caesar (IV.ii.269–276)

I never thought I'd live in such interesting times. A life long passion is about to be turned inside out and upside down. Perhaps…

Forward thinking MPs have spoken of this time as being a great opportunity for parliament. So it is.

But let us not allow this simply to be a great opportunity for parliament's MPs.

The opportunity at hand is for ‘the people’ to decide what kind of parliament they want.

It is the people's voice - stimulated by the fourth estate - that has raised us to to this disagreeable but expectant state. Let us take our anger and turn it into something constructive.

There are many issues to be addressed — MPs pay, accountability of the executive, the power of the party whips, the role of select committees, the selection and deselection of MPs. Instead of an elite, clubby institution, managed by impenetrable rules that have led to stasis, we have the opportunity to create a parliament that can proudly be called democratic.

Let us consider well the options for radical reform. Then let us tell our parliamentarians what changes they must make to introduce a parliament that truly challenges government and honourably represents the people it serves.

If we the people do not seize the moment now it could pass all too soon.

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