In recent years, the folk at the Houses of Parliament have gone some way to civilising the process.
They changed the hours of working, and substantially cut down on the night shifts and so on.
This period has also resulted in an electorate which feels increasingly unrepresented and let down, both by the government/s and the effectiveness of the oppositions.
During this period, whilst PMQs has retained an albeit stage-managed confrontation, much of the day-to-day politics has been pretty civilised, culminating in Labour’s front bench abstaining on the recent Welfare bill, using some procedural excuse.
This may well be a valid, practical approach to politics – the governing party have a majority, which normally would enable bills and legislation to pass into law no matter what the tactics employed by the opposition. This leaves the battles to be fought in the media, where each party can jostle for their position to be heard, and where the knock-out blow comes from zingy one-liners that play well with the public.
And this suits the politicians on both sides – these folk were always the ones to be in the debating society, to take an argument and try and outwit their opponent. That’s their culture.
This also has added benefits; – media exposure & sensible working hours, and ultimately for most folk in the public eye, these are VERY GOOD THINGS.
I get that.
But the public outcry over the oppositions apparent capitulation suggest this isn’t a good long term move. Over a period of growth and reducing poverty, with all main parties idealogically close to each other you can get away with it. But when the public feel persecuted, excluded, trampled and ignored, it doesn’t look good, and it doesn’t win support.
A recent piece by former Conservative MP Jerry Hayes struck me.
The new leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition will have the choice – how far to appease, be the sensible politician, but risk losing the momentum of their election result, the Labour party support that is currently so passionate; or to embrace that feeling, to decide that now is the time to let rip – after the summer recess the MPs should be rested and ready, so enforce the party whip and put the government under the most indecent pressure.
Imagine the impact on those part-time MPs with lucrative second and third jobs, they’re gonna get pretty narked pretty quickly, imagine the view of the electorate suddenly turning to the inability of Cameron to get things done. The lobby reporters would have to change tone, it would be “will Boris be here to vote, this MP is out of the country, that one is poorly …” – Suddenly a tiny majority looks fragile, the opposition is heaping the pressure on, the usually calm will start to fray.
Time to do the hard graft, Labour, this is the pre-season training phase – get fit and lean now, and hit the new season like a team of world-beaters, set the scene.
Jerry Hayes piece: http://jerryhayes.co.uk/posts/2015/08/13/a-corbyn-victory-will-herald-a-dramatic-change-of-tory-tactics