Thursday, May 21, 2009

We Can't Have An Election Because...

So let's see if I've got this straight. We can't have an immediate election because...
  • Chaos would ensue (Gordo yesterday)
  • The parties are agreed they have a sacred duty to put things right before asking voters to choose... er... between the parties (Hattie this morning)
  • Parliamentary committees must opine on weighty matters before voters can possibly be trusted to make their own judgement (Tony Wright, last night)
  • MPs need time to decode the latest message from Alpha Centauri (Limpid Opec, two thousand light years from home)
  • We will all lose our jobs (assorted Hon Members)

On the off-chance that you haven't read Peter Oborne's Triumph of the Political Class, you should do so now (and just for a giggle, see this review from staunch Labour insider Michael White).

What comes across ever more loudly in this scandal is that it really is them and us. They don't trust us to grasp highly technical issues, such as what they're actually paying themselves, or how many tubes of Rolos it's appropriate to claim for in a single month.

Will an election make any difference?

Well, it will relieve us of the worst, most discredited government since WW2, so that's a plus. And we should get a crop of untainted more independent members, which will be another plus.

But sadly, it won't transform the way we're governed.

Our first-past-the-post Westminster system ensures the primacy of party. As we've blogged before, with no separation of executive and legislature, the majority of MPs have no incentive to hold government properly to account.

Our Big Government elected dictatorship will simply carry on, albeit in a slightly less grubby set of clothes.

PS According to Nick Robinson, many "perfectly decent MPs" are so fed up with the way they're being pilloried, they're thinking of throwing in the towel. We'll believe it when we see it, but maybe if enough of them did so, it would force an early election. I for one would be much more inclined to vote for a candidate who had helped force an early poll.

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