|Let's Get Rid
||[May. 21st, 2009|10:33 am]
The Palace of Westminster is horrible. The rooms are badly lit and the corridors smell of cabbage. True, medieval Gothic is about letting in as much light as possible. Victorian gothic- the style in which the Palace is built- is about creating an atmosphere of faux-ancestral gloom. Pugin- the man responsible for all the finicky detail- who is now- for reasons that escape me- revered as a design god- plastered the insides with a special wallpaper dotted with big, black portcullises- the ugliest, most oppressive thing imaginable- and it's still in place. When it rots they restore it. |
But the time for patchwork repairs is past. We demand change. The ghormenghastliness of Westminster immures our politicians in a fantasy world, shutting them in and us out, encouraging boysiness and petty corruption. We should hand the building over to Tussauds or the London Dungeon (I recognise that demolition is not an option) and build Parliament a new house- preferably in the Midlands and preferably with glass walls- like the Welsh Assembly- so that We the People can stand outside and watch the little buggers at work.
Become an MP? God, no!
I suppose its inevitable that a power-club will form around Parliament- but it should be as porous as possible. MPs are our representatives, after all. The present set-up encourages them to think that they're over and against us.
2009-05-21 02:15 pm (UTC)
I think the basic test for becoming an MP should be as follows:
Interviewer: Do you want to be an MP?
Potential MP: Yes
Interviewer: I'm sorry you have failed the test
Do you see where I'm going with this? Politics tends to attract the sort of people you wouldn't trust to govern anything, let alone a country. The "I want to be the leader" kind of person.
What we could have instead is politicians a la jury service. You get called up by lottery, are perhaps subjected to a few basic tests, and then you're in. Obviously there would be kinks to work out with this system, but I can't see the randomly selected MPs doing any worse than the current bunch, and you can't fault it on fairness.
I agree. I suppose there must be some exceptions- MPs who are driven by an ethic of public service. Also those who- like Churchill- are wonderfully greedy for power but also happen to bring remarkable talents to the job.
I like your idea of selecting MPs by lottery. G.K. Chesterton (in The Napoleon of Notting Hill) suggested a similar method for choosing the head of state.
Of course it will never happen. The power-crazy- who are already in charge- would never allow it.
2009-05-21 02:41 pm (UTC)
I think MPs are pretty much at the bottom of the power chain anyway, so if you really wanted to make things fairer, you'd have to go deeper.
Becoming an MP is only the first step. After that you have to go out of your way to make yourself agreeable to the higher ups.
I think it was Richard Ingrams the other day who wrote that he did know some decent and recognisably human MPs- and that their decency and humanity disqualified them from ever reaching the front bench
I would really like to be an MP, but I couldn't decide which party to join, and I couldn't be doing with the bunch of second rate reactionary fuckwits I would have to toady up to in order to get in.
Besides which, the pay...
2009-05-21 04:19 pm (UTC)
How about standing as an independent? :)
Usually that would mean waving goodbye to your deposit, but next time round- with the mainstream parties in such a mess- you might stand a chance.
All the parties adhere to the same political philosophy- pretty much.
I've usually voted Labour- increasingly out of habit- with the ocasional deviation towards the Lib Dems. Next time round I really don't know which way I'll jump.