THIS IS an interesting video from David Cameron. If you take the time watch it (it’s around 3 minutes long) you get a summary of subjects he intends to address in a major speech tomorrow (Monday).
The thrust of the video is changes he is proposing for the new parliament. No one could deny that this one has been a disaster. The UK and its Duck House Parliament are a laughing stock all over the world. More than half our MPs have taken advantage of a loosely policed expenses regime to make, in some cases, vast amounts of money at our expenses. The upper chamber has its share of thieves too, as yet hardly investigate.
But it’s not just expenses that are the problem. The whole of Westminster is antiquated. Almost everything about it is more suited to the 19th century than the 21st. It's not fit for purpose; it's run like a gentlemen's club, full of traditions, which charming though they may be, are not producing efficient and trustworthy 21st century governance.
As Mr Cameron says this General Election is an ideal opportunity to change things. Vast numbers of the intake in May will be new; those who don’t fancy the idea of a whole new regime might be better to reconsider standing.
Cameron, however, feels that Brown’s ideas about changing the voting system are a waste of time: I disagree. However, I'm cautiously with him on other points he makes here: electing Select Committees, reducing whipping, and trying to make parliament more relevant to what the population cares about.
He’s looking for a parliament that “speaks about what we speak about; worries about what we worry about and does what we want it to do”. Noble thoughts, but isn’t that what our democracy is about and has been supposed to be about for hundreds of year? Sounds good, but doesn’t work.
In the age of the internet Cameron proposes more opportunity for the population to take part in politics. Again a great idea but how practicable is it? Didn’t Mr Brown try some sort of online Q&A, with fairly disastrous results?
He says we should be able to look at “that place, that building, that palace....” (and that’s a problem; it can’t really be a people’s parliament and a royal palace at the same time) “and think, 'it is mine'”.
This is a taster and before I seriously criticise anything I’ll wait for the speech. And I’d like to hear what changes the Liberals would like to see, given that they may well hold considerable sway in the next parliament.
And, as ever, I’d like you guys’ opinions too....