If anyone considers the above image to be in poor taste, I would remind them that I am the author of this blog, and if I feel like remembering those who really know what being discriminated against is like, and who could really be doing with a measure of equality, I'll do it if it feels right.
If the debate on Narvik was anything like this
, it's a wonder we won the bloody war.
I only flitted in and out of what seemed like a buttock-bustingly long session, but my favourite highlight from what I saw was Debbie Abrahams' interjection on Ian Paisley that marriage was all about love, only for him to answer that and then take an interjection from Chris Bryant about marriage being about mutual society instead. It's about love! No, it's about mutual society! Love is about mutual society! No, mutual society is about love! It was as if Charles I and his goons had burst into the House of Commons singing 'Love Changes Everything' as they went.
It was clear that all speakers' minds had been made up before they got on their feet, and equally clear that not one word said by anyone made the slightest dent on any opinion held by anyone else. Accordingly it wasn't really a debate, and doesn't therefore deserve the name. It should instead be remembered more as a collective exhalation of breath; a democratic burp.
Oh, the future was plain to see, and it's quite clearly more of the same. What was, to my mind, the unpleasantly authoritarian and exclusive suggestion of Margot James, that continued opposition to homosexual marriage within Conservative circles means that the party hasn't been reformed enough, is a message upon which the party's leadership will assiduously and tenaciously latch. Today the political class, a beast that's often talked about but rarely seen in one place, was on parade for all to see, and it was not a pretty sight. For groups that claim to be in favour of diversity, it's quite clear that the one area in which our centralised parties do not encourage diversity is that of thought.
The mean-spiritedness which comes so naturally to many on of the left is shown by this
entry on 'Harry's Place', one of those many blogs I've read about rather than actually read, which describes Stephen Timms MP, who indicated that he'll vote against the bill at a later stage, as an 'idiot former Labour minister'. This is an interesting contrast to the example of the left's incompetence provided in the same post, with its description of Frank Roy and Jim Sheridan as Conservative MP's; news which will certainly come as a surprise to both them and their electorates in Labour's west of Scotland heartland.
It was, of course, ironic that the political class gathered in numbers to debate an issue which will only and ever affect a tiny proportion of the population on the day it was revealed that an elderly woman named Gloria Foster had died after having been left without food,
medicine or water for over nine days after a care agency had closed down. We will no doubt learn why this was allowed to happen in due course, but you'd think it would be the sort of situation that Parliament is really there to address; not to try to change that which cannot be changed, nor redefine that which has already been finally defined. Today, on one of those apparently very few days when every member of the House of Commons seemed to be in attendance, there might not have been one word said about Gloria Foster in the chamber all day; and if that was the case, that's
a scandal. That's
There is one principal lesson that can be drawn about our Parliament from all this.
That lesson is that if devolved democracy is good when it justifies inflicting elected so-called 'Police Commissioners', Frankencops without constitutional precedent and for whom there is no apparent justification other than that the Americans have them, on some parts of the country, devolved democracy along American lines could be good in other areas. Accordingly, the Registration of Political Parties Act 1998 should be repealed (if that has not happened already) and a primary system introduced for all candidates for Parliament.
Yes, we should have primaries to select who is going to stand for election to Parliament. The obsessive centralisation of all political functions over the past thirty years is the consequence of having had a Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, who even at the summit of her career never overcame the grossly provincial conceit that the British government operated on precisely the same lines as a Lincolnshire grocer's shop. The public finances were in the iron grip of someone who might very well have believed that the best places to keep money were either the loft or the mattress, and who may have all her life been petrified that people are going to cheat her. Pace all those commentors who have sweated blood and tears trying to work out why Thatcher centralised everything that wasn't actually nailed down, there might have been nothing more to it than that, with millions of people being cast out of work on the basis that as she was looking after the pennies the pounds would look after themselves.
Yet one catastrophic aspect of this centralisation has been the central selection of candidates for Parliament, with democracy reduced to a rubber-stamping of whoever is put in front of the electorate. The need for primaries might perhaps focus a few minds more closely on what is important to their potential electorates; and quite a few of the self-satisfied faces on display today, such as that of Willie Bain, might benefit mightily from the challenge of a primary (I'd love to know where the Scottish Catholics he trumpeted as being in favour of gay marriage were found; I imagine there might be a statement from our bishops on the way about that one, once Peter Kearney stops singing 'We Shall Overcome'
All in all, an inglorious day for Parliament; the day on which the phrase 'the old ball and chain' assumed a whole new meaning.
Labels: Exercises In Modern Reaction, Homosexual Marriage, Humanity, Indiscriminate Inequality, Points Of Information, Primaries For Parliament, The Blogger's Deepest Thoughts, Violent Outbursts Of Tolerance