Thursday, May 21, 2009

Reform in haste, repent at leisure

From Steven Glover in The Mail.

But whatever reforms there are, let them be few in number, and well- considered. The system that New Labour inherited and has so abused was the product of gradual evolution over decades and centuries. One can be certain that a new constitution brewed up by politicians and academics in a few weeks would be a defective one.

Very well put. I know "reform" is a popular theme at the moment - and let me be quite clear that a reform of how MPs are recompensed is essential - but a radical shake-up of parliament itself is not what is needed.

What is needed, as Glover suggests, is for the government and politicians to respect the institution they work in and not to seek ways circumvent its workings as this Labour administration has done.

Let's be straight about this - Blair was completely dismissive of parliament preferring to run a Presidential style of government with a highly politicised civil service. The failings of the last few years are not a failure of parliament, but a failure of THAT Blairite system which deliberately bypassed parliament.

If any reform is needed, what is needed is for those conventions and processes which this Labour administration has frequently run roughshod over to be hardened and codified (if necessary) so that neither they, nor any future government can do that again.

I recommend the Glover article as required reading - he says what I pretty much think, but does it much better - but I know that many people are so angry about the MPs expenses row that they've convinced themselves that radical reform is essential. I'd caution against that. I'm a conservative - I don't believe in radical reform unless it is to abolish a new system and restore the original working system.

What I am certain of, as a conservative, is that any major reforms undertaken in haste will be a disaster - both for parliament and for this nation.

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