Tag Archive | "MP"

Are British Members of Parliament really aliens?

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Are British Members of Parliament really aliens?


Perhaps it is just me, but I am beginning to believe that our MP’s are on another planet, not that they were born on another planet, just that once they become elected they appear to move to another planet.

We, the electorate, are almost always referred to as the “people” whenever our members of parliament or, more accurately, our ministers talk about us. Almost as if we are something different to them, of a different class, a different sub-species and, perhaps we are. Because MP’s simply remove themselves from the real world within months, sometimes days of being elected, or re-elected. They are quite happy to communicate with the “people” when they want something, such as your vote, but don’t expect them to talk to you again, at you, but not to you. Instead they will use any medium capable of delivering a one way message such as newspapers. Or perhaps, the internet savvy will use a blog, albeit many do not allow comments or moderate them to avoid anyone expressing an opinion that may differ from their own.

My point is, do any of the MP’s out there sound like us, talk like us or act like us. If we are being honest with ourselves, the majority don’t. For example, we make mistakes, but our MP’s in general and our minsters in particular, they never do. No, it is always a contractor, world events, the previous government, a civil servant, in fact anyone but themselves at fault. It is akin to driving a bus and claiming the accident was caused by weather conditions, the state of the tyres, the passengers, the previous owner etc., not because of anything the bus driver did. After all, it can’t be the bus driver’s job to check the tyres, the weather conditions or keep the passengers under control.

To err is human and believe it or not, most people can relate to that and the honesty that goes with being able to admit responsibility or culpability. Perhaps if more members of parliament were to admit the failures or weaknesses, we could repeat the entire saying, “to err is human, to forgive is divine”. In other words if they acted like the “people” they claim to represent, and admitted their mistakes, we would probably forgive them, because we can relate to something that happens to us all. In fact, at least making mistakes means we are doing something and it is better to do something and get it wrong occasionally, than it is to do nothing. Making a mistake and being able to admit to it can demonstrate our depth; provide a tangible example of our honesty and our integrity, not to mention our skills at objectivity and self-analysis. All the things, in fact, that we would expect of an elected member of parliament.

As soon as an MP is elected, they lose their ability to communicate with us, why, because they are then expected to toe the party line, they have to become part of a machine? So they must think about each and everything they say. They are no longer real people; they just spout the same party line, too scared of their own shadows to say anything else. This is a generalisation, but then, if we are honest with ourselves, this type of behaviour is a familiar trait with the vast majority of MP’s.

In the past, we have had real ‘characters’ amongst our MP’s most were not flamboyant, just outspoken. You may not have agreed with their politics, but at least they were prepared to step forward and say what they think, not the party hierarchy. Today, the number of characters amongst our 650 or so MP’s can be counted on one hand, simply because they are required to leave their opinions, beliefs and personalities behind if they want to get on or not be labelled a maverick. We would probably consider someone labelled by the party machine as a maverick as a person of principals, gravitas or of independent mind.

Once in parliament, our MP’s become robots, part of the machine where every line has to be rehearsed, every comment considered to ensure that is doesn’t offend anyone, difficult questions must be evaded and if you are fortunate enough to be a minister, then you determine what questions can, or cannot be asked. It is so far removed from the real world, that it is alien to us; therefore it is impossible for the electorate to relate to these elected officials. So, we have around 650 members of parliament ruling 65m people, but in such fear, that in truth, we are probably ruled by less people than in the Politburo of the Communist Party of China.

Take Prime Ministers Question Time, the PM always knows well in advance what questions will be asked, they also have a few stooges who are ready to raise an issue where the PM can preen his feathers and claim all of the credit. If the PM is rounded on by the opposition, he simply blames the previous government, in spite of the fact that Labour has been in government for 11 years, or refers to the voting patters of the other parties. Everything is staged, yes the PM or some of his ministers may be lampooned, but we are given carefully rehearsed and research answers that are delivered in such a way as to ensure that the government record or minister is cleared of any wrongdoing, responsibility or culpability. This is not real life, it is alien to us.

Gordon Brown has many, many problems to deal with, but the people, as we are patronisingly referred to, are quite forgiving, because we are normal. Imagine if you will, Gordon Brown standing up and admitting, that he should have put a little money away in the good times, to ensure that we could survive the difficult times, which were bound to come. He could admit for example, that there would be fewer pensioners in fuel poverty had he not raided their pension schemes. We can relate to these admissions because they demonstrate that to err is human. He could also admit that he made a mistake by allowing the Labour party to renege on its commitment to allow the people the opportunity to vote of the ratification of the EU Constitution. He could even offer to put that right, by allowing us the vote and saying sorry. He won’t because that would make him look like us.

Our leaders and our members of parliament need to start talking like us, speaking like us and acting like us if they are to re-engage with the public. We don’t all speak with one voice like the political parties, the vast majority of us are willing to accept our share of responsibility when things go wrong, we don’t disparagingly refer to a group of people like they are some underclass, we don’t rehearse our answers or have speeches written for us.

Members of Parliament have to re-engage with the public and to do so is quite simple, they don’t have to spend hundreds of millions on consultants to work out how. They just need to act like normal people with a big job to do. They need to talk to us as equals. They need to keep their promises and maintain their values, not sell them for a cushy junior minister’s post. They need to talk to the people that put them in parliament for the entire period of their term in office, not talk at them, but to them. Above all, they need to be humble, admit their mistakes, tell us what they are going to do to put them right and move on.

 

It is not difficult for our members of parliament to demonstrate that they are not aliens or resident on another planet.

Posted in Conservatives, General, Labour, Lib Dems | Comments (2)

Will David Cameron make a good Prime Minister?

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Will David Cameron make a good Prime Minister?


According to William Hague, the Conservative leader, David Cameron is “ready to be PM”, perhaps someone should enlighten the Conservative party by informing them there is a world of difference between being ready and being capable.

Don’t get me wrong, I do believe that the Labour party will lose then next general elections, but this is simply not the same as the Conservative party winning the election based on merit and a clear mandate. Voters fed up with the lies and spin of the Labour party are desperately looking around for an alternative. The Liberal Democrats still seem intent on increasing taxes whether this is through local taxation or local taxes, probably both. The bottom line is no party can seriously expect to get voted in on a policy of increased taxation, although they will probably be able to rely on the votes of people who don’t contribute to the taxes they are proposing.

So we are left with the Conservative party and yet, apart from a few headlines, it is still difficult to determine what they actually stand for. Their reluctance to make clear their policies and then stand by them implies an uncertainty that does not bode well for a government in waiting. Better to fight for what they truly believe in and campaign on that agenda, than to take the Labour line and wait for the newspapers to tell the government what is best for 60 million people.

The Tories have indicated that they would abolish the discredited ID scheme, abolish stamp duty for first-time buyers and raise inheritance tax. That is the first week taken care of, then what; they have a potential 5 years in government? Try as I might I just cannot see Cameron being a good prime minister. He just doesn’t seem to believe in anything, I believe he is guilty of gesture politics, a cynical and manipulative sideshow. Yes he speaks eloquently, yes he is young and yes I am sure he will become prime minister, but I have yet to see anything that would indicate to me that he will make a good prime minister.

When Hague suggested that David Cameron was one of the best people he had worked with at a senior political level, I was left questioning his judgement, which is a real pity, because I have always admired and liked William Hague. If he has seen something that the rest of us haven’t, then tell us why he is one of the “best people”? I am happy to be corrected, I remember believing that Michael Portillo was of the most pompous, arrogant people I had ever heard, yet my opinion changed completely when I watched him on television after he had left politics. I guess we all get it wrong sometimes.

David Cameron will make a good Prime Minister?

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David Cameron will make a good Prime Minister?

  • I strongly disagree (34%, 57 Votes)
  • I strongly agree (33%, 55 Votes)
  • I agree (17%, 28 Votes)
  • I disagree (9%, 16 Votes)
  • I am neutral (8%, 13 Votes)

Total Voters: 169

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Posted in Conservatives | Comments (8)

Have MP’s lost touch with the British people?

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Have MP’s lost touch with the British people?


There are many examples, and I shall name a few in the coming days, of MP’s being completely out of touch with what matters to the British public. The latest instance has to be set by shadow education secretary, Michael Gove.

Yesterday he made a big noise about so called ‘lads mags’, claiming that “Titles such as Nuts and Zoo paint a picture of women as permanently, lasciviously, uncomplicatedly available.” What is this guy on? I don’t intend to argue the case for or against these publications, in a tolerant such as ours, I find it hard to believe that this was all the Conservative MP could find to talk about.

There are many things that may cause families to break up these include losing their homes as a result of negative equity and rising interest rates. Money worries as a consequence of rising fuel prices, food prices, utilities and taxes. Stress in terms of having to work harder, for less money, maybe in fear of redundancy. There are a whole string of reasons, another is perhaps taking their partner for granted, something Michael Gove would do well to consider, because he and his party seem to be taking their poll lead for granted by believeing they know best and taking on a policy of patronising the electorate.

What we should all be asking is where has this guy been for the past 6 months, what does he really think concerns the British public at this time? Now lets think about that… could it be, an impending recession, the credit crunch, rising fuel prices, knife crime, house prices, redundancies? If this is not enough, there are many other serious issues that are of real concern to the electorate, perhaps Michael Gove should get out more, rather than reading Zoo and Nuts!

Every party claims to be “listening” to their public, well who are they listening to, it sure as hell isn’t you or me? Is Michael Gove going to seriously claim that one of his constituents came to see him to claim about lads mags? If he did receive a complaint, maybe someone could remind him about placing things into perspective.

It is high time all MP’s started to talk to the people that put them in office and more importantly, learned to listen. It is also time the Conservative party started to act like a real opposition party, the truth is, they only look good, because the Labour party is so awful. In my opinion, all Michael Gove has done, is to confirm, that it is not just the Government that has lost touch with the voters, but also some MP’s of the official opposition.

David Cameron needs to reign these guys in, before the electorate catch on to the fact MP’s within the his party are as removed from the public as government ministers and labour party MP’s. He should also consider bringing in real people to advise, people with real world experience, or better still, have real people stand as the local Conservative MP, rather than career politicians or local ‘faces’. Now, more than ever before, this country needs MP’s that talk, sound and look like the rest of us. No wonder the electorate feels so disenfranchised.

MP's are NOT in touch with the public mood

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MP's are NOT in touch with the public mood

  • I strongly agree (77%, 37 Votes)
  • I agree (13%, 6 Votes)
  • I am neutral (6%, 3 Votes)
  • I disagree (2%, 1 Votes)
  • I strongly disagree (2%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 48

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Posted in Conservatives, General | Comments (8)

Is this really democracy at work?

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Is this really democracy at work?


Lets face it, the only people that keep extolling the virtues of democracy are the politician’s and yet, here in the UK, some 60 million people are ruled by less than 650 members of parliament. So, if we keep hearing that we live in a democracy, then we will believe it…right? Now lets look at in a little more detail.

Every 5 years or so, we get the opportunity to vote for our preferred party, by electing a local MP who represents the party we support. Of course, some people support a particular MP, but the vast majority are thinking in terms of who will govern us, rather than who the local MP will be.

Each party creates a manifesto, theoretically, a commitment to their aims, goals and values. It is supposed to be a mandate on what they will deliver during their term in office, or if you like, a commitment or promise to the electorate. Now we have all seen how worthless that commitment can be, most notably in recent years with the broken promise made by the current government in respect of the EU Treaty. Made worse by their willingness to treat the electorate like fools.

The Manifesto

Now, when we vote for a new government, we are provided with a party manifesto, and each party will assume that if we vote them in, we support the manifesto verbatim…but this is so often just not the case. For example, with so many things needing reform during a parliamentary term, how many people would really have voted for a ban on fox hunting? Some, but not many I suspect. So, the manifesto of the party elected to government is likely to include many things that we simply do not agree with, but how can we communicate this to those that are supposed to represent our interests in government. We can’t and it was probably designed that way!

For example, the only people that believe the labour party will get into government at the next election, is the labour party, unless they are being honest, but that would be an unusual trait. Therefore, theoretically, the opposition can create a manifesto and include virtually anything they like. Granted, it can’t be too controversial, but if they offer for example, 80% of what the electorate wants, the chances are they can do pretty much what they want with the other parts of their manifesto.

So, in other words, we must accept all of the terms of the manifesto, if we want to support a particular party. So why can’t we also vote on the contents of the manifesto? If we assume that most will only have 10 or so key commitments, then surely they can include on the voting forms, a brief description and the opportunity for the voter to indicate whether they are for or aganist a particular manifesto commitment. Of course they won’t. This is either, because they assume we are all too stupid to be able to form an objective opinion on their commitments or, more likely, they believe it passes too much control to the electorate…! Ask yourself this, if we are capable of voting on a manifesto in its entirety, why aren’t we entrusted to vote on the individual issues that make up the manifesto?

Delivering on their commitments

In the real world, few people would get away with a failure to deliver on their commitments, whether they are in business or even in their personal lives. At some stage we are all called to account. However, when we look at a government, we should really be judging them in the same way as we would a public company, with the electorate as shareholders. Think about it, the UK government is just a huge company with social and economic responsibility.Therefore, we should really refer to is as UK Plc.

This government and others have been great supporters of corporate governance and as a consequence, we have seen a good deal of legislation brought in to “protect” the shareholders of these big companies. Whilst it is right to question just how far this legislation has gone, the principal was a good one. Why then, have we not seen something similar for UK Plc? If the chairman, or the board of a public company fails to deliver, the shareholders can oust them at the Annual General Meeting (AGM), yet we have to wait up to 5 years. Imagine if you will, a chairman of a company that has consistently failed to deliver, or has mislead his shareholders, having the right to determine when he leaves, or is put up for re-election. Ludicrous, isn’t it? Yet that is precisely what happens with UK Plc.

Now the government of the day will probably argue that there are various committees that scrutinise their actions. True, but whilst they may have the right to publicly admonish wrongdoing, they can’t fire a minister, or call for the government to step down. Nor is there anyone measuring the government’s performance against their manifesto commitments. Whenever a government fails to deliver, all they do is ask the electorate for more time at the next election, typically stating that they need to continue their “programme of reform”. So what have they been doing for the past 5 years, that is what we should be asking, if they make a manifesto commitment, they should make clear how long they expect it to take. Imagine the chairman or chief executive of a public company making bold commitments without placing a timescale on it, this just would not happen. Yet UK Plc, our government, get away with it time and again.

Can we expect the opposition MP’s to do anything about it? Unlikely, because they have no more wish to be judged by their delivery of manifesto commitments, than anyone in government.

Your local Member of Parliament

We could all be forgiven for believing that when we vote for our local MP, that he will or she will be representing our interests. That they will be our voice in the houses of parliament. Sadly, in most cases, the truth is invariably something completely different. True, some MP’s will raise matters in parliament which relate to local issues, perhaps a hospital, post office or school closure. But when have they ever asked you what you want? The only time you may get asked is if you bump into a prospective MP seeking your vote, but even if they do make promises to you, can you really trust them to deliver?

Ask yourself why, if MP’s are supposed to represent the interests and views of their constituent’s, every party has a ‘chief whip’. This person, or people, are there to ‘whip’ MP’s into shape. To ensure the government receives the backing of all their MP’s to support, what is often, a controversial issue that divides parliament and therefore, most likely, the country. Government Whip’s may cajole, bully or perhaps even offer incentives to an MP to ensure that he or she supports the government line. So when are your interests represented? Local MP’s are always keen on sending us details on what they have done for us, so they know how to write and theoretically, they know how to communicate, so why don’t they ask us what we think?

If our local MP is supposed to represent the local constituent’s, then surely they could provide the electorate with their own mini-manifesto and at the same time, tell us where they stand and therefore, how they will vote on national manifesto issues. That way, we the electorate, will know exactly what our MP stands for and will know that no deals can be dome behind closed doors. Too much to ask?

British voters feel let down by their MP's

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British voters feel let down by their MP's

  • I strongly agree (65%, 55 Votes)
  • I agree (13%, 11 Votes)
  • I am neutral (11%, 9 Votes)
  • I strongly disagree (6%, 5 Votes)
  • I disagree (5%, 4 Votes)

Total Voters: 84

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Posted in Civil Liberties, General | Comments (3)

Power to the People

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Power to the People


In my view, not for a great number of years, has the UK electorate felt so remote from their politicians. Our members of parliament, from the prime minister down claim to be listening to us, but just who are they listening to?

This government has been in power so long, they have forgotten how to listen, they have lost touch with their voters and no matter where you go, everyone appease to be equally frustrated…and who can blame them?

The electorate could be forgiven for believing that the politicians only listen to the press and who gave them the right to talk for us? They seem to dip their toe in the water and then read the press the following day, if there is no outcry, then it becomes government policy. These are just gesture politics. Anyone that believes we live in a democracy is simply fooling themselves. The simple truth is over 62m people are rules by some 650 MP’s. Few if any, actually bother to talk to their voters unless, or until it becomes a necessity because of an impending election.

Posted in General | Comments (0)

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