|We interrupt our scheduled programme...
||[Aug. 30th, 2019|08:46 pm]
Mostly I don't post about politics here; mostly I have nothing to say that you aren't hearing from everyone else, and mostly I get it out of my system by shouting at the radio. But these are exceptional times.
So, to begin at the beginning: in a parliamentary democracy, we elect representatives to study the evidence, debate the issues and make the decisions. They then work out, in detail, how those decisions are to be implemented. This is a full time job, and we pay them a respectable salary to do it. If they decide that a question is too hard for them, and hand it over to the public to give a simple yes / no answer - well, then they have already suspended parliamentary democracy. And I do wish someone would ask David Cameron how he feels it's going so far.
But we have a new Prime Minister, and I'm tired of hearing that this is undemocratic because we didn't elect him. At least, it may be undemocratic, but it's the system we use in this country: the leader of whichever party can cobble together a majority in parliament is chosen by the Queen to be her Prime Minister. She doesn't ask questions about how you got to be party leader, or achieved that majority. We don't have a directly elected President. Once upon a time, an MP who became a minister had to stand for re-election by his constituency, but we don't do that any more. What seems to be provoking these accusations of being undemocratic is that the Conservative Party has decided - err - to elect its leader in a democratic manner, by allowing its members to vote.
Plus the whole parliamentary and political timetable which has allowed Boris Johnson to take office largely in the absence of Parliament. I think the opposition (in the broadest sense, the soft Brexiters as well as the Remainers) have allowed themselves to be outmanouevred: Boris has had the long summer recess to trot about Europe trying to look as if he wants a deal, and to swan around London making pre-election promises, with no-one to ask difficult questions. He likes that: he doesn't need to do press interviews, so he doesn't submit to them, just as he didn't have to participate in the leadership debates. It's possible that proroguing parliament is a way to block legislation, but it could just be a way to prolong the period without scrutiny. The length of the recess makes the parliamentary time lost look less on comparison: I wish someone had had the nous to say, at the beginning of the summer, "You know, these are interesting times, perhaps we should cut our holidays short this year." Similarly, is it too late to say "Perhaps we should defer Conference until November"?
We shall see.
This entry cross-posted from Dreamwidth: comments always welcome, at either location.