This Outdated Oligarchy Must Be Reformed
Carswell, Douglas, The Independent (London, England)
It is not just the details of MPs' expense claims that have been laid bare. Now, at last, we can see the House of Commons for what it really is: an outdated, self- regarding, self-serving oligarchy.
Without proper accountability to the voters, our politicians have become a caste apart. They have exempted themselves from the rules that they impose on the rest of us, including tax-free incomes off- balance sheet expenses; opt-outs from Freedom of Information laws, and dispensation not to apply equality legislation to political parties.
It is not merely MPs' expenses that need to change. If our politicians have been so inept at managing their own expenses, how effectively do you suppose they have been managing the country's?
The reality is that as a legislature, the House of Commons has grown monumentally useless at holding those with power to account. At last, we begin to see why it is that under both parties, government has grown ever more expensive and ever more intrusive.
It is time for change. Progressive reformers on all sides of the chamber need to come together and elect a new Speaker by secret ballot. The new Speaker - owing their position to the legislature, rather than to government whips - needs to clean up Westminster and to ensure our political class is made truly accountable again. …