Sunday, May 17, 2009

Why Mr. Speaker Martin should resign, and what happens if he does not

Parliament is a shambles.

The release of the astonishing litany of expenses claims has hurt all parties. In the end though the people who it should hurt the most are those who have tried to stop the release of these expenses.

A core of politicians led by the Liberal Democrats have always believed in transparency and accountability for what is being spent. The Lib Dems have generally released their expenses as a matter of routine. Thus, although there are a few claims that are questionable, they are a dramatically smaller matter than the outrageous claims made by the moat cleaning Conservatives or the double counting Labourites.

Then there is David McLean MP. He, you may recall ,was the MP that led the amendment to the "Freedom of Information" Act that exempted MPs from several of its provisions. McLean was opposed by the Liberal Democrats, but supported by the majority on both the Conservative and Labour front benches.

Worst of all it was supported by the Speaker himself. As the authoritative voice of the administration of the House of Commons, the Speaker has both benefited from the "broken" system and sought to keep his own affairs under wraps. It may not be the "high crimes and misdemeanours" that forced the exit of the last Speaker to be impeached, Sir John Trevor, in 1695, but it is a misjudgement that has undermined the authority of Parliament and threatened the collapse of the Constitution itself. For that alone, Mr. Speaker Martin must leave office immediately.

The political system can not be cleaned while the Speaker remains in office- that is now absolutely clear.

If he does not go now, he must be removed.

If he is not removed, along with the most egregious of the false claiments, there is now such a rage in the country that it could, quite conceivably, threaten British Democracy. The British people are genuinely fair minded, but there is still a sense of shock and of rage at what has been going one over the past few years. Unless Parliament seriously addresses the issue of reform itself, then the British people will do it for themselves. A breakdown of the constitution is no light matter and the consequences could be dire- including a lurch towards fascism.

Those who say "it could never happen here" may overestimate the stability of the system.

No comments: