Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Parliamentary recall: the return of gesture politics

So, parliament is to be recalled for a day to debate the disturbances in London and elsewhere. Now, there is clearly an arguable case for the home secretary, the mayor of London and even the Prime Minister to be there for COBRA, but...parliament? Why?

First, a necessity for parliament sitting arises if we need to pass laws. Is there a need, as blogger Pat Osgood sensibly pointed out, for primary legislation? Of course there is not.

Second, six hundred holidays have been interrupted, not to mention those of parliamentary staff. Is there a reason why MPs have holidays? Yes. You can slag off MPs all you like - they're a convenient whipping boy, after all - but like everyone else with demanding jobs and no time, they need to spend some time with their families, at least once a year. Is that so hard for us to understand?

If they have to debate the country going to war, or some similar vital historic event, that's one thing. But a few bored looters and rioters with nothing better to do of a weekend and, what's more, an issue they can do absolutely zero about?

Later, let's have the review of what went wrong and the lessons learned. But, for crying out loud, leave our backbenchers out of it for now and fix the problem. The right people should be brought back from holiday, not any old people. Is there any possible reason to recall our politicians for a debate which, we can confidently predict, will earnestly condemn, loudly froth and will achieve precisely nothing?

No, it is gesture politics, pure and simple. And it is precisely this kind of pointless symbolism which is turning large numbers of people off politics and off politicians.

Well done, Cameron. Big thumbs up.

This post first published at LabourList, and linked to in a response posted at Jane Is The One


  1. If it is a few bored rioters you are correct, if it is the Gotterdamerung then they will be right in ending their vacations.

  2. If it is, you'd right. But I think it's less Wagner, more White Riot.

  3. Water cannon + plastic bullets = Civil War.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...