Sunday, November 08, 2009

Minette Marrin: "we need fewer MPs"

I have to say that there is very little for your humble Devil to disagree with in this Times article by Minette Marrin. Here are some of the highlights...
In these dark days we all try to find little moments of amusement. Fortunately there is plenty of laughter still to be had at the MPs’ expenses comedy. Now that Sir Christopher Kelly has published his plans to punish MPs for their greediness and their silliness, and consign them to miserable backstreet bedsits, we can all sit back and enjoy their squeals of unselfcritical outrage.

Absolutely true. Whenever I feel a little down, I think of the way in which MPs are being harried and hounded and I have a little smile to myself. I even like to think that maybe I helped to contribute to their discomfiture.

Although we still haven't seen any convicted for fraud, as they should be, and we have—let's face it—only exposed a single year of their rampant corruption, the opprobrium heaped upon these thieving bastards is thoroughly entertaining—as are their squeals of protest.
The funniest thing of all, though, is so many MPs’ passionate protests at the unfairness of all this. “Well,” the rest of us can say, grinning widely, “now you know what it feels like. You, at our expense, have been imposing unfairness upon all the rest of us, in all aspects of our lives, so fast and furiously that we could hardly keep up with the growth of our resentments and your injustices. Of course there’s been a great deal of unfairness to MPs. But if you can’t take it, you shouldn’t dish it out.”

Quite. Because, for your humble Devil, the most disgusting part of the whole affair has been the way that MPs excused themselves from the laws that they make for us proles to live under—MPs voting to exempt themselves from tax on benefits-in-kind in the Income Tax Act 2003 is not only a prime example, but also one of the main factors that made their repulsive thieving possible (after all, if you have to pay tax on the sofa for your second home, are you going to buy a cheap one or a John Lewis one?).

Our lords and masters have—quite deliberately—abused their position of trust; they have happily stolen our money, raped our liberties, murdered our fellow citizens (and those of other countries) and lied, lied, lied though their teeth for the whole time.

They're getting off very, very lightly.

And what are MPs really for? Well, a few months ago, I told Kerry McCarthy—who was whining about how she couldn't scrutinise law because her constituents took up so much timeexactly what MPs are for.
Thirdly, and most importantly, MPs should not primarily be social workers; for that, we employ... well... social workers.

You are legislators: that is your prime function. You are, in fact, one of only 646 people who can make law in this country.

And it seems that Minette Marrin has come to the same conclusion.
In my view, MPs waste huge amounts of their time and our money in their surgeries, doing things other people should be doing, and doing better: advising people on their problems with planning, healthcare, social services, schools, racism and sexism, dealing with minor grievances and eccentrics and acting — in some places — as paralegals for large numbers of constituents who are having citizenship difficulties with the Home Office. MPs should not be social workers or amateur therapists, or ombudsmen or paralegal outreach workers. They should be something different. But what?

Well, they should be legislators. Because—and I cannot stress this enough—they are the only 646 people in this country who can make law.
Members of parliament once had a function in making Westminster listen, occasionally, to the voice of the shires, the pits, minorities and the concerns of the people they represented. With mass communication and focus groups, that’s no longer necessary: such things can be better done by professionals, and are.

MPs once had the function of thinking and voting independently, according to their best judgment. With the parliamentary whipping system, that is now impossible, at least for anyone aspiring to real power above the back benches.

MPs once had the function of deciding the main policies of the country. With the growth of the European Union, most of that has been ceded to Brussels.

This is quite correct, especially the last paragraph. As EU Referendum have pointed out (along with Christopher Booker), with the Lisbon Treaty finally ratified, the EU has achieved what it has long aspired to: creating a supranational government that "we can never dismiss".
But there is another commonality with Labour and the Lib Dims. Cameron is entirely at one with his counterparts in that none of them must ever admit or explain just how much of Britain's governance has already been given away, leaving Westminster with little more power than a rather grand local council.

None of them will ever discuss this because they all belong to that new Europe-wide political class that governs us from behind its wall, without ever having to ask us for our consent.

So, our MPs cannot even be legislators—not in any meaningful sense. They will exist simply to transcribe EU law into our own, for just as long as the European Union decides to maintain that fig-leaf.

It will not take long, I suspect, for the EU to decide that it can do away with this coy illusion of national governments' supremacy and simply hand down laws directly.

Not only that, but MPs has given away most of the few remaining powers that they have through the mini-Enabling Acts that I have previously described: acts that allow ministers to push through more and more illiberal laws through Statutory Instruments that need not be debated in Parliament at all.

And that is pure laziness: the laziness of those who couldn't be bothered to scrutinise these acts, and the laziness of those who did, but welcomed the Enabling Acts because they would have to do less work in the future.

Our MPs have given away the power that we lend to them, and none of the Big Three have any intention of giving it back to us—they are traitors and should swing from the nearest tree.

And, given all of this, what is Marrin's conclusion?
The truth is that the constituencies don’t need them and Westminster doesn’t need them, or at least very many of them, and there’s no good reason we should pay so many so much.

We do need more of the best minds on select committees, and more of the ablest from the real world outside. But generally we need fewer MPs, much less of their time and a great deal less of the expense of them. That is a cheering thought.

It is not—not really. Whilst the fact that the present incumbents have ensured that they have no value to us is amusing, the fact that our own government has been rendered impotent and pointless is a horrifying situation.

Nevertheless, that is the situation: we no longer govern ourselves, not even through the fat, lazy, useless cunts in Westminster. We are now part of a federal European Union—a union whose unelected government will, from December 1, start flexing its muscles in a big way.

And Booker throws a final thought into the conclusion of his column...
As a final thought, since the EU is to become a government with "legal personality" in its own right, how long will it be before its President, under the constitution, is accorded international precedence over the Queen as our head of state? Like much else in this sorry story, our new rulers will start by denying that they are even thinking of such a thing. But now they have their constitution, I bet it can't be long.

Whether or not you are a monarchist (and these days, I'm swithering), shouldn't the decision to replace the head of state be the preserve of the people of that state?

It may be, of course: because we are no longer citizens of Great Britain—we have, instead, become citizens of a federal European superstate.

And without a shot being fired.

6 comments:

Shug Niggurath said...

Enjoyed the read, as ever.

One thing- only swithering over the monarchy? I've given up on them for a while now, there to act as a check and balance against exactly what this post is about- since she wont, or can't I've given up on supporting the existence of the role.

Devil's Kitchen said...

That's why I'm swithering: I believe in the role, but not the person.

DK

Anonymous said...

Yes but the next one on the production will come along soon and he will be better won't he?

Oh hang on. He may be too busy talking to his plants. Or getting hysterical about global coolwarming flooding London to a depth of 60 feet, or sucking up to muslims or---whatever.

No forget that then.. We really are fucked.

Anonymous said...

"the EU to ... simply hand down laws directly."

That's exactly what European Regulations do already!

Devil's Kitchen said...

"That's exactly what European Regulations do already!"

No, no: they still have to be incoporated into the member state's law.

However, unlike other classes, they have to be incorporated unaltered.

My point is that the EU will simply by-pass Parliament entirely.

DK

CIngram said...

The most important job of an MP isn't to make law but to represent the interests of his constituents to the government. And they stopped doing that much longer ago than they gave up making law.

WV- mingwat. Does it sound more like the Harperson or that Smith woman?