Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Westminster Parliament Speaker Resigns

Lord Scapegoat

Scapegoat, was the first thing that came to mind when I saw the news of the resignation of Michael Martin MP as Speaker of the House of Commons. Mr. Martin will resign on Sunday 21 June, and the process to elect a new Speaker will take place in the Commons the following day. It is traditional for a retiring Speaker to be immediately elevated to the House of Lords. While Mr. Martin himself was not without culpability in the current scandal involving MPs’ expenses, the attempt by many elected representatives and others, to portray his removal as a necessary first step in the process to clean-up the mess is nothing but disingenuous.

From some of the utterances of MP's and reporting in British newspapers, "A very British revolution,", "almost a sort of spring revolution over the last few weeks.", the normal person could be excused for thinking that M.P.'s were rushing from street barricades to the floor of the House to the background music of the Marseilles amid cries of Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity, in a frenzy of revolutionary fervour.

In reality, all that MP's have agreed, apart from the removal of the Speaker, is, now that they have been caught out, they will stop robbing the taxpayer by submitting allowance claims for goods and services that have nothing whatsoever to do with their legitimate expense claims while serving their constituents.

Today, much has been proposed by the major parties in Westminster. It remains to be seen in the days, weeks, and months ahead, how these proposals finally get written into law. Trust in those who have exploited and profited from the system, to reform it, is at an all time low. The devil as they say is in the details.

Nothing, short of a general election, will satisfy a large percentage of the British public, with one leading British newspaper, the Sun, calling on voters to support such a campaign. While a knee-jerk reaction of demanding a general election might satisfy some, unless mechanisms are set in place to allow citizens rights to recall elected officials guilty of corruption and some form of written constitution enacted, anything else is just leaving the foxes to guard the hen house.

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