Constitutional reform: questions for Mr Brown
Gordon Brown will signal today whether the political classes “get it” when it comes to combating the expenses scandal in parliament.
“Getting it” extends well beyond expenses to full-blown reform of our system of governance, as I have written here before.
He is rumoured to want a change in the voting system – delicate in the light of the BNP’s benefit from the hopeless supposed PR system deployed for Euro elections.
However, there must be a fairer system than first past the post. The alternative vote plus voting system may be one.
But there are even deeper principles to be addressed. The direct election of the post Mr Brown holds. Term limits. My own MP is setting out on yet another run for parliament at the next election. Lovely, straight, dedicated guy. But after three decades?
So term limits? Eight years for a PM? 12 years for an MP? Reduction in size of legislature? Wholesale devolution of all domestic power to the local?
A new meeting place for our elected representative – Westminster wholly unfit for modern business? Separation of powers – no-one in the Commons, which is tasked with holding the executive to account and with vetting appointments TO the executive?
An executive drawn from beyond the Lords and Commons. A small, directly elected Lords to vet legislation in Europe, and a last “court of appeal” for local authorities?
The work on all this has been done many times over. Are the Lib Dems right? Should MPs and peers be kept at Westminster for all but a fortnight’s holiday this summer until they have sorted reform out? What on earth are they doing going off for more than three months hols? Who else amongst us enjoys such largesse at our expense?