Thursday, March 06, 2008
What Are They For Really?
On the Black Day when Parliament meekly surrendered another huge swathe of our traditional freedoms, denying us any say in the matter whatsovever, Tyler happened to be attending a seminar on pensions policy (does he know how to party, or what?).
One of the key speakers was a senior Tory MP, previously believed to be of sound mind. He told us of the need for cross-party Westminster consensus on such difficult and weighty matters, how that wasn't to the exclusion of voters, and how he had become an MP precisely to decide such complex issues, "not to be a glorified town councillor".
Tyler was immediately reminded of his Grace, My Lord of Stratford (the artist previous known as that notorious humbug Tony Banks). After stepping down as an MP he revealed he found his constituents "tedious" and he was fed up with being "a sort of high-powered social worker".
He'd captured in a nutshell pretty well what they all think. They may bang on about some sacred bond between an MP and his constituents, but in reality, involvement in constituency affairs is a tedious necessity driven by the tiresome business of getting re-elected. They don't even hold election meetings any more: today, the vast majority of voters only ever see their MP in a local paper photo op or on the telly. Which is just how most MPs like it.
MPs join up because they want to shape the world. Or at least, bestride it on Newsnight. They don't join to correspond day and night with tedious little people living their tedious little lives out in their tedious little towns.
If you want a friend, get a dog. A big one, who can double up for the lack of local policing.
So what about those Big Issues? At least our MPs are handling them well. Right?
Doh! It turns out Big Issues are decided not by MPs at all but by the government. Well, not even the government, but our President-in-all-but-name Prime Minister.
The PM wants to invade Iraq? He does so, whipping his lobby fodder accordingly.
The PM wants to welsh on his manifesto commitment to hold an EU referendum? He does so, whipping his lobby fodder accordingly.
The PM wants to wimp out on tackling that £1 trillion public sector pension bill? He does so, relying on his lobby fodder not being at all interested in tackling such tedious yet toxic issues.
The reality is that MPs are little more than an electoral college. Instead of being able to elect our President directly as most of us would prefer, we have to vote for some grandstanding monkey, who then gives his vote to the big silverback. The monkey then spends the next four years on the public payroll, making lots of of shrieking noises and regularly displaying his brightly coloured buttock pads, but exercising no real power.