Thursday, 5 March 2009

Everyone In Their Box…

It seems the head of the Equality and Human Rights Commission isn’t averse to a little inequality, so long as it’s the ‘right sort of inequality’:
Trevor Phillips, the head of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said that a proposal to only allow MPs to serve for a maximum of 20 years should be considered to allow a more diverse Parliament.
And us voters? Do we get a say, Sir Trev, or are you going to decide for us?

After all, if we really want ‘a more diverse Parliament’, the remedy is in our own hands.
Currently, only 15 of the 646 MPs are black or Asian, and women make up just 19 per cent of MPs.
I guess we aren’t that bothered then.

So why should Sir Trev be?
Speaking at a conference on Parliamentary representation, Mr Phillips said: "The Commission starts from the position that a Parliament which reflects the make-up of the nation it represents will result in better legislation and a higher degree of public confidence in the democratic process."

"There needs to be people inside this House... who actually know what it means to be disabled, there needs to be more people who are women, and there needs to be more people from different kinds of ethnic groups."
So much for MPs who swear represent all their constituents! In Sir Trev’s ideal world, if you are a disabled member of the public, go see the MP in the wheelchair. Got breasts? Go see the MP with the bits poking out of her blouse. Got a bit of a tan on holiday? Go see that ethnic chappie over there, he deals with your kind…

So, how does Sir Trev plan to bring about this ‘improvement’ to our democratic process?
The equalities watchdog called for the introduction of schemes to allow under-represented groups to receive "internships" working in MPs' offices. He also backed political parties introducing all-women shortlists when electing Parliamentary candidates.
Ah, right. Take it out of the hands of voters. Nice one, Trevor…
He said: ``The reason this House took exceptional measures in relation to all-women shortlists was a very simple one.

"It wasn't just to be nice to women, it was because a House that only has 20 women in it in the 20th century looked ridiculous."
How many does it need not to look ridiculous in your eyes, then, Sir Trev? 30? 50? 200?

6 comments:

Ross said...

I quite like the idea of term limits although for any of the diversity crap that Trevor Phillips supports it for.

"The Commission starts from the position that a Parliament which reflects the make-up of the nation it represents will result in better legislation and a higher degree of public confidence in the democratic process."

If the commission didn't start from that position and treated it as an hypothesis to be tested then it might discover something. For all they or we know it could lead to worse legislation and less confidence.

TDK said...

Like Ross I like the idea of term limits. I think a fundamental problem with our Parliament now is that people are professional politicians. In years past, people were came into parliament after establishing a career. That gave them experience and the knowledge that they had something to fall back upon.

Anonymous said...

I can't see the problem as long as an MP is doing what he or she should be....ah, I can see this argujment failing.

As for Trevor Phillips, he can't leave it alone can he? One minute there's a stream of common sense flowing from him, the nexty it's back to the usual race, diversity, quotas and positive discrimination rubbish. Tiresome.....as usual!

Obnoxio The Clown said...

Two things: if term limits were applied, we'd never have had Winston Churchill. I'd far rather have a minimum age for an MP -- like 45 -- so that they'd have to go out and get a bit of real life experience before fucking our lives up.

Second thing: If Trev wants more women in parliament, can we bring back Maggie Thatcher?

Rob said...

Bit embarassing if your Prime Minister is elected in his/her eighteenth year as an MP. The voters voted him/her into power in their millions, but Trev wants him out so one of his mate's sons can get in instead.

JuliaM said...

"For all they or we know it could lead to worse legislation and less confidence."

Indeed..

"I think a fundamental problem with our Parliament now is that people are professional politicians."

I'm not sure how term limits would help with that, though? It's not like it's going to lead to a shortage of professional politicians, merely a more rapid turnover of them!

I prefer Obo's idea of a minimum age, and we should be insisting on a background of real work.