Tuesday, May 24, 2011

One Ring to rule them all...

Today a debate took place in parliament regarding an absolutely crucial issue for the future of the UK and the financial well-being of its citizens: Mark Reckless MP proposed an anti-bailout motion that would have been the first strong anti-Euro (and with it - anti EU) sentiment expressed by the house in decades.

Many a strong word was spoken in the chamber earlier against the EU by many of the handful (circa 50) present - and by MPs from both sides of the aisle. For once I actually felt proud of the MPs participating, and I recommend you watch the debate on iplayer, or read the proceedings in Hansard tomorrow. It was such a sharp contrast to the puppet show that passes for the Prime Minister's Question time and I had to fancy what Parliament would be like if these individuals occupied the front benches instead of the back.

Yet how many of those words will be carried by our ever useless peon media to the the ears and eyes of the masses? Instead the media will be perhaps focused on some prat who sought injunctions against revealing a relationship with a woman trying to extort him (and try finding *that* latter fact reported in the media....they would have known had they actually read the linked document....).

However this pleasant fantasy of a functioning representative democracy was soon blown to pieces as I remembered how Daniel Hannan had detailed the "wrecking amendment" put forward.

It didn't matter what the attendees actually said. The whips ensured another 250 MPs turned up to guarantee it was the amended version that went through and not the original motion, turning what was a strongly worded motion into a wet-through general statement of discontent that the government can safely ignore.

I sometimes find it difficult containing my anger over such shenanigans in parliament - regarding how easily results can be 'fixed' in this fashion. I don't remember sleeping in and missing the vote for which whips I wanted. Do you? And I find it intolerable that the people who both proposed the wrecking amendment and voted are not obliged to participate in the debate.

The People's Pledge valiantly attempted to encourage people to write to their MPs beforehand to ask them to vote against the amendment. Would that doing so have had any effect in any case where the majority of MPs are concerned. Aside from the whipped MPs I note, with utter disgust, that ALL of the MPs from Sheffield (which has been my home for far too long now...) failed to even turn up to either the debate or the vote. So much for the salt-of-the-earth Labour MPs standing up for the working man and woman, eh? My current MP, Mr. Paul "I ran Sheffield University Student's Union" Blomfeld, ignored my letter on the topic - as indeed he has done with the last few letters sent to him.

(UPDATE: One of my friends has just informed me that however that "Blomfield did manage to find the time to attend a drinks reception for Sheffield Union officers")

The final vote was 267 to 46. Had it been just those present for the debate voting I am confident the original motion, not the amended version, would have been carried. Such is our utterly dysfunctional democracy and its attendant handmaiden Fourth Estate that not only did this happen, but it won't even be reported.

It doesn't matter what we think. It doesn't matter what we want. It doesn't even matter what most of our MPs do either.

The One Ring has called and the Nazgul are answering their master's call.