Friday, 16 May 2008

Opposition and Parliament

It is not he function of Parliament to govern but to "call to account those that do govern", as Gladstone said in 1869. But it's remarkable to me to consider the recent 10% tax rate debacle, not because the Government, which prides itself both on its working class roots and on its economic stewardship, made such a mistake, but because there was such limited opposition to the policy when it was first announced in the Commons. Was it because the Conservative Party leadership missed its implications or did they say, amongst themselves, "Excellent, we can use that to attack Labour at the next General Election, let's save our opposition until then".
The latter strategy may be sensible for getting into power, but does nothing for preventing ill conceived policies from doing damage: even after amendments, the 10% tax policy leaves some of the poorest worse off. Similarly, if the government steals and implements the oppositions best ideas, they must be discouraged from presenting them in the first place, leaving them and us poorer.
The Interactive Democratic process will enable opposition from the electorate, allowing appropriate and timely criticism and helping to avoid party political power plays that stifle strong ideas and allow poor ones to flourish.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It may be that the Conservative Party agreed with 10% tax. Though the Lib Dems offered some opposition, it wsn't effective.