Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

So Gordon Brown believes "that the keystone of any reform must be to switch from self-regulation to independent external regulation". I believe that this would be a monumental folly. What he is saying is that the very people who are charged with running our country are not responsible enough to devise a remuneration system that is perceived to be equitable and fair. The government cannot and should not create a body that is independent and whose remit is to apply rules back to parliament. This is creating an entity that is above parliament. Who will it answer to? It clearly cannot answer to parliament because it is independent.
This proposal also removes accountability. I will have no say on who serves on this independent body whereas I do have a say (too little and too infrequently but that is another story) on who serves in parliament.
The allowances saga is but a symptom of the malaise that has infected parliament for the past forty years. A self-induced illness caused by handing power to the EU which has made its existence increasingly irrelevant. Creating an independent body to oversee MPs remuneration would be yet another step along the way to complete loss of sovereignty of government.

1 comment:

Oranjepan said...

The EU is to blame for the scandal??? Now this is where I strongly diverge with you.

The expenses were introduced under Thatcher as a consequence that MP pay increases had become unacceptable, but the reforms gradually opened the door to corrupt individuals who saw the expenses and allowances as a right and felt entitled to maximise their claims.

It is possibly a consequence of joining the EU insofar as the weaknesses of the FPTP voting system have been shown up in contrast for their democratic deficit (not that PR lists are perfect either), but you can't ascribe fault for that.

However, I do agree with you that this is a massive U-turn from Brown - where he was previously for self-regulation and voluntary codes, he now admits this is insufficient and is stating his own supporters are untrustworthy.

I personally think that regulators should sit in the Lords and be forced to account for themselves through the parliamentary committees set up for this purpose.