Voter (and non-voter) humbug

The current storm about MPs and their allowances, and the cry for Parliamentary reform, contain big dollops of humbug. Since we Brits are quite well-governed, this matters, a bit.

It is a commonplace that MPs “are all the same, they’re only in it for themselves, and they couldn’t get a proper job if they tried…… The country’s a mess. That lot don’t work for me”.

What tripe.

Parliament does need a shake-up which would – er – give MPs much more power over the government of the day which is chosen from amongst their number.

The average voter is so-well governed and has so little to complain about that he or she is bored by the whole process of government. It doesn’t matter which party wins the election (“they’re all the same…..”) because the main parties are all pretty decent and run a system which stuffed full of public servants who are held accountable by their own decency, disciplinary procedures, by the media, and – yes – by parliamentary and judicial scrutiny.

The Brits are not frightened that their police, judges, doctors, hospitals, planners or utility companies are overpowerful, out of control or corrupt. We don’t even think they are incompetent.

The Brits are pretty sure that “The System” is so good that it runs fairly well even when it’s run by Gordon Brown, a man who seems to loathe the machinery he is in command of and seems incapable of ordinary frankness or responsiveness when asked any sort of question.

Frankly, if Parliament stayed as it was, and even if New Labour were to stay in power, the country would bog along pretty well and infinitely better than most of its voters deserve and most other countries do.

Good. That’s as it should be. We’ve been at this game a long time.

Of course, I am tolerably sure that the Tories would make a better fist of it all.

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Publication date

06 June 2009