Wednesday, 27 May 2009

We're Not Going on a Summer Holiday

We need parliamentary reform, we need it now, we shouldn't leave for holidays until it is sorted that is what Nick Clegg is saying in the Guardian. While David Cameron is outlining what he would do if he was elected as Prime Minister and Alan Johnson is saying what he would do possibly to set out his leadership challenge the Lib Dem leader is saying to his fellow MPs we need to get this done before we can move on.

Setting out his vision for a new politics setting out a hundred day plan that will give the people the right to recall a corrupt MP, abolishing the House of Lords, getting corrupt money out of politics and electoral reform that gives everyone a voice. When he broke convention to speak out against the Speaker he was already say that the conservatism and convention of the Houses of Parliament were a hindrance that the people did not understand and that MPs chose to hide behind. Listening to Julie Kirkbride this evening, and reading what my own MP Michael Connarty has had to say it is clear that many have yet to learn. He says:

"People will say it isn't possible – parliament can't act that quickly. I say the innate conservatism that marks out our political establishment is part of the problem. Let's stop all this self-congratulatory hype about the mother of parliaments and get on with improving it.

"Momentum will ebb away unless we act quickly. Delay would be a victory for those who want to confine change to the bare minimum – the two establishment parties who will talk up reform long enough for the storm to pass, then kick it into the long grass for good."

And referring to David Cameron's comments about open-source software, new select committee chairs and legislative text messages says these will not rescue British democracy but merely provide cover to maintain the status quo. That status quo is that the two major parties have hung unto power in their own fiefdoms or shires in safe seats. As Mark pointed out in his excellent post the safer the seat was envisioned to be often the more corrupt the Member.

How can this be done in 100 days?

Well a lot of the issues have been thrashed out party funding reform was outlined by Sir Hayden Phillips only the Tories walked out. Lords reform has been agreed with in principle, and to avoid an increased hegemony can be elected like the Senate in the USA on different boundaries and with different times for electing them than the lower house. While he welcomes Alan Johnson's adoption of the Jenkin's solution of AV plus he acknowledges this is not the best situation where as STV allows the people to vote for the person not just the party and the party approved candidate/list.

Can this be done in 100 days?

During the 2001 election William Hague said there was only so many days to save the pound. But really we do only have so many days to save British democracy. But Nick thinks not only that it can be done but that it needs doing concluding:

"Together, over the next 100 days, we could achieve nothing less than the total reinvention of British politics. These months could become a great moment in British political history, rather than a shabby footnote to a shameful month of scandal. Let us seize, not squander, the opportunity for change."

So the MPs should forget about getting on an all-singing, all-dancing double decker to head off to their first or is that second home, you know the one in their constituency. Or even to some other home where they can take flight.

They're not going on a summer holiday,

Heads down working for a week or

Thrasing out reform in their holiday

Working out how to serve you-ou-ou

As they really ought to.
Read also Paul Walter's take on it including the Cleggmeister's timetable. Darell Goodliffe who's willing to bar the gates for longer as some stuff is missing. Jamie Saddler's love (platonic) for Nick Clegg.
UPDATE: You can find out more on the Campaign Website


  1. Cheers Paul. MAybe we should use that as the Pic for a new (if not already set up) Facebook Group.