Friday, March 27, 2015

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What a Farce British Parliamentary Democracy is, What a charade, What a Bloody Disgrace

Mick Hall is far from impressed with British parliamentary democracy. Mick Hall is a veteran Marxist activist and trade unionist who blogs at Organized Rage.


Michael Cockerell's documentary 'Inside the House' gave us a glimpse of the appalling and loutish behavior of a sizable section of the UK's political class. This was best demonstrated during Prime Minister's Questions, after Cockerell, against the opposition of many Tory MPs, was able for the first time to get permission to film on the floor of the House of Commons with non static cameras.

Giving viewers a much clearer picture of how their members of parliament behave within the parliamentary chamber, what we saw was not a pretty sight. These so called 'right honorable gentlemen' holler, whoop and thunder, puff up and preen themselves, call out petty minded and often sexist insults against their political opponents while braying like a pack of hyenas.

Yet hardly ever has their brutish behavior been portrayed fully on British TV. Periodically TV news will broadcast a minor scuffle between lawmakers in some far off parliament whilst it colludes in keeping the far worse behavior of our own MPs off our TV screens. Even though such behavior happens almost weekly during PMQ's.

Until now the politicians have had total control of the TV coverage, demanding cameras be unmanned and static, which gave viewers a false appearance of ordered, gentlemanly, and flowery debate. With their "right honorable gentleman" this and "honorable member" that.

Prime Ministers Questions.

The chair of an average trade union branch meeting or women's institute would have long ago called David Cameron to account for refusing to answer the questions he is asked. He appears oblivious to the fact the whole purpose of PMQ's is to enable the leader of the opposition and fellow MP's to ask him questions on the country's behalf. If done well it should be an integral part of the democratic process which allows the opposition to hold the UK government to account.

Sadly David Cameron has been allowed to turn PMQs into a farce, for every time the leader of the opposition asks his question the prime minister replies either with a silly aside or put down or by questioning the leader of the opposition about something which is totally unrelated to Miliband's question.

That the Speaker of the House John Bercow fails to remind Cameron of why he is there, let alone call him to account, speaks volumes about his own pantomime act. As Peter Tapsell -  the father of the house - told the BBC recently, this type of slippery behavior would not have past muster 20 years ago when Prime Ministers came to the house to answer questions put by the opposition. Which in itself shows far from Cameron's parliamentary behavior going back to ancient codes and customs as the media once claimed, it’s an element of Cameron's own deceitful and loutish personality.

Lord Lout

So where does this nonsense come from, why do so many male Tory MP's believe such conduct is acceptable behavior. To understand why they behave in such a despicable manner, one need only look at the class prejudice which runs through the Westminster parliament as if it were a stick of Blackpool rock. When watching Cameron encouraging his baying MPs the name Harry Flashman came to mind. Like Sir Harry Paget Flashman VC KCB KCIE, a fictional character created by George MacDonald Fraser, Cameron also fears the truth and patronises women. He once told Labour MP Angela Eagle at PMQ to “Calm down dear.” On another occasion he joined in laughter when Tory MP Nadine Dorries said she was frustrated.

What we are witnessing is adolescent public school boy behavior carried into adulthood. Flush faced Harry Flashman MP would have felt completely at home on the government benches of the House today. Where a staggering 59% of the Cabinet went to the universities of Oxford or Cambridge, compared to the average of less than 1% of the population as a whole, and 54 per cent of Conservatives MPs attended fee paying schools whilst only 7% of UK children attend these wretched schools.

What we have is a totally unrepresentative government which mainly come from the most economically privileged section of society. Thus it is hardly surprising they have tried to turn the clock backwards by attempting to smash the welfare state, and in the process making the UK the most unequal nation in Western Europe.

This elitist cancer stretches right across the professions in the UK and only a root and branch reform of parliament will begin to change this sorry situation. People who have studied at private schools dominate the top jobs. They make up 71% of senior judges, 62% of senior armed forces officers and security services, 53% of senior diplomats, 50% of members of the House of Lords and 44% of the Sunday Times Rich List. The media is also dominated by the public school and Oxbridge elites with 47% of newspaper columnists and 33% of BBC executives having attended one or both. About the only profession which is not top heavy with these cretins is professional football, and that is because the public schools do not allow their pupils to play the game as they look down on it as a working class sport.

Is the UK Parliament reformable from the inside?

If Cockerell's film is anything to go by I doubt it's reformable from within, when the sorry pantomime which passes for democracy in the UK is kept on the road by the likes of Robert Rogers and his ilk, who are surprise, surprise, amongst the main beneficiaries for maintaining the status quo. Rogers who retired in 2014 as clerk of the Commons attended Tonbridge public school, its fees are among the highest of all the independent schools in Britain in terms of Boarding, at £35,163 per year, compared to Eton's £34,434.

On leaving school he was fast tracked to Oxbridge, becoming a Rhodes Research Scholar in 1971 and then working briefly at the Ministry of Defense before joining the House of Commons service. A Liveryman in the City of London he is establishment to the core, a staunch defender of the status quo, who was rewarded for his 'loyal service' to his class by being made a member of the House Of Lords when he retired. That he saw no contradiction with having been the overseer of the democratic process in the Commons when joining the unelected second chamber of the UK parliament, demonstrated clearly people like Mr Rogers are part of the problem and can never be part of the solution.

If you watch this program you get an abject lesson in why the British parliament is non-reformable from within. Why would these wretched specimens of humanity wish to reform parliament when as it is, it allows them their every wish? They get to pass laws which benefit them and theirs, in a parliament which is managed by them and theirs. Thus they have no real fear of change let alone retribution. They have the representatives of big business lining up to gift them goodies and the higher the greasy pole they climb the greater the gift.

Far from the Westminster parliament being the 'Mother of Parliamentary Democracy' it's the most archaic and unrepresentative assembly in the western world. It only sits for approximately 23 full weeks in a parliamentary year, although its web sites claims it sat for 148 weeks per year, 296 days in total between May 2010 and May 2012, but gives no explanation where the extra weeks come from. Even so this would still mean an average so called hard working MP could be 'working from home at their leasure' for seven months of the year. As to the second parliamentary chamber the House of Lord's its anyone's guess how many times these law makers attend the chamber as the scrutiny of their attendance is farcical to say the least.

What a farce British parliamentary democracy is, what a charade, what a bloody disgrace.


Glen Shane-Pass said...

Excellent article, Mick. You've nailed it. It's hardly unique to Westminster, though. Power corrupts wherever it is wielded, and you could probably write a similar article in most countries. What sets Westminster apart is the level of hypocrisy.

marty said...

Ya think Westminster is bad Mick then spare a thought for all of us here in norn iorn we are living in a puppet state controlled by those bastards across the water ,this place makes the most brutish corrupt state in S.America seem like a model in democracy,ffs, and the puppets who act as agents for the state are nothing more than gangsters ,murderers and carpetbaggers in nice suits, Al Capone would have been jealous of their rackets...

marty said...

It aint called perfidious albion for nothing