Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Don't tar us all with the same brush

Once again the reputations of politicians are being dragged through the mud because of the actions of a small number of MPs abusing the system to favour members of their families. I am sure this is infuriating for the vast majority of MPs who's conduct is entirely proper, but it is even more infuriating for Councillors because our reputations are damaged too for something that just couldn't happen in local government. For one thing, any support staff for Councillors [ and we don't have a lot ] are employed by the Council itself, not by individual Councillors. For a second, Councillors have to publicly declare any close relative employed anywhere in the Council, and would have to exclude themself from any appointment for which a relative or close friend was a candidate. The problem is not with politicians in general, but with parliament which still runs itself like a Victorian gentlemens' club rather than as a modern legislature . No wonder that not only do we get scandal after scandal but whichever party is in power we get poor scrutiny of the Executive and poor scrutiny of legislation. What this country needs is fundamental reform of parliament to give us transparent and democratic government fit for the 21st century.

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