It is Obvious

Chris Rick has got altogether too much to say

Failure at every level

Posted by chrisrick13 on March 26, 2015

It is obvious: the end is a new beginning

I remember, though obviously not that well, the tortuous trail of hoops that had to be jumped through to get parliament televised.  There was a year or more of trials.  Many odd rules were introduced.  All now gone for simple full coverage.  I do remember ‘doughnutting’.  Much of the time the House of Commons has barely double figures in it while MPs make speeches to a single bored junior minister on the front bench.  Without the speaker to talk to things might just grind to a halt.  (How very British that the ‘Listener’ is called the ‘Speaker’.)  As cameras focussed on a speaker all the MPs on that side of the house would move to sit in a circle round the speaking MP giving an impression of a packed house.  Things have now settled to what seems to me to be decent coverage of events.

More time than I should I surf tv channels and end up with the 24hr news as the only thing watchable.  On days such as ‘Eclipse’ day and, alas, ‘aircrash’ week I cannot even pause there on my journey through the channels.  So I watch the parliament channel.  The debates in the Commons are often very interesting.  My only thought is that the impassioned speeches have no effect whatsoever on the final votes.  Democracy in action…I don’t think so.

It is interesting to see that it is indeed a club where long-standing members know each other well.  They are often friends across the divide of the house.  There is the story of a new MP talking to an older one about the enemy across the dispatch box.  The reply was that the opposition was across the dispatch box while the enemy was behind him.  There are many barely detected undercurrents that show up and a little research shows deep waters.  Common knowledge but I discovered today that Hames and Swinson are man and wife.

But there are still interesting ‘gems’ that occur.  Yesterday a Labour MP stood up and said that there was one food bank in his constituency on the day of the last election and there were 50 now.  From the context he blamed 49 of them on the coalition government.  His comment went unchallenged.  What have I missed?

A new food bank in the first week, first month or even first year after the election is difficult to attribute to coalition policies.  Economic measures usually take two or three years to have any effect.  Did 80 open in the first three years and reduce to 50 as coalition economic measures started to have effect?  Did none open over the first three years of the coalition and then 49 open in the last year or so.  How many were in progress at the time of the election.  We were certainly missing information.  Was the increase a straight line over the 5 years?  Why didn’t someone challenge that statement?

Not only do the media miss it but so do the MPs.

No matter they are gone on Sunday night like Cinderella.  Then we have 6 weeks without representation.  The ministers stay in place and government continues.  There will be no new laws and thank goodness for that.  But if you have a problem then you cannot go and see your MP.  You do not have one.  I wonder if the result is the same as when you do have one.

I am more and more enamoured of the idea of a ‘none of the shower above’ box at the bottom of the ballot paper.  An opportunity to express an involvement in the democratic process without choosing from a set of unacceptable alternatives.  Perhaps we could assign a seat for, say, every 60,000 ‘none of the above’ votes.  That seat could be deemed to vote against every government ‘position’ or new law.  The equivalent of Frank Herbert’s BuSab.

It is obvious: the end is a new beginning – alas


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