Thursday, May 28, 2009


Our rulers seem to have decided that the parliamentary expenses brouhaha is so bad that it can only be put to rest by implementing whatever policies they already wanted to implement.

The ideal solution would be an Irish-style single transferable vote system in which voters elect the person, not the party. But even alternative vote plus – as first advocated by Roy Jenkins in 1998 and now backed by Alan Johnson – would ensure most MPs have a personal constituency link with their voters, as already occurs in Germany and Scotland. Labour made a promise more than a decade ago to hold a referendum on the Jenkins proposals. If the government won't call a general election, let us have this referendum in early September, as the culmination of 100 days of reform.

Together, over the next 100 days, we could achieve nothing less than the total reinvention of British politics.

That Nick Clegg really is a chancer, isn't he ? If there's one thing that the expenses scandal DOESN'T show, it's the need for electoral reform - which might be needed for other reasons, but not for this one.

Indeed the strength of constituency feeling is one of the reasons why, for example, the lovely Julie Kirkbride is feeling the heat at present in Bromsgrove. Electorally, I think she may be able to hang on in there - although the Lib Dims might put up a battle, but every new story leaves Cameron looking less like Mr Decisive and more like Mr Wobbly.

She fights on though - she fights to win.

Like millions of women I am a mother who works. Like millions of other working mothers I have put in place networks to ensure that my child enjoys security and consistency while I work demanding hours and do the best job I can...

But a wider issue gives me great concern. What effect will stories like mine have on mothers who aspire to be MPs? We want Parliament to be more representative and that includes women with school-age children.

Just before this story broke, I spoke to a woman journalist thinking of entering Parliament. Her main concern was the effect it would have on her children. I assured her it was possible to combine an MP's life with being a good mother, as long as she organised her support structure well.

That must continue to be the case - or Parliament risks taking a step backwards.
So it's all about Jimmy being able to go to sleep in his own little room again, is it ? Worth a try I suppose. And Mr Cameron wants to maintain a bit of diversity in the ranks. If she was a bloke her feet would not have touched the ground. Her husband's didn't.

Elsewhere, as has been written on mass immigration:

... where would you like to go ? To Scotland or Wales, with their strong Nationalist parties ? To Ulster, where Sinn Fein/IRA are still killing people because their forebears were immigrants four hundred years ago ? Or to a country whose national flag should really be emblazoned with the word 'Sorry !'. No choice, really, is it ?

Sir Andrew Green was saying pretty much the same thing five years back.

Now it's finally filtering down to Parliament. Immigration is overwhelmingly - and disproportionately - to England :

Scotland's perception of itself as an increasingly multi-ethnic and diverse country will be challenged today by official figures that show almost all of the net international immigration to Britain since 1991 has gone to England.

Between 1991 and the 2007 a net 2.14million migrants came to England. But in Scotland for the same period net foreign migration was a paltry 105,000.

In effect, the statistics mean that England absorbed 20 times more international migrants than Scotland even though the population is only 10 times larger. England also took 11 times more migrants than Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland combined, even though its population is only 5 times larger than these three parts of the UK put together.


Anonymous said...

In terms of Scotland, well it's not so surprising, really, is it?

Up here we have far fewer available jobs, natives who tend to be openly hostile to "incomers", and terrible weather.

Of course the immigrants stay in England.

JuliaM said...

"She fights on though - she fights to win."

Didn't work. BBC reporting that she's stepping down...

Anonymous said...

Actually electoral reform where you can choose between the least corrupt mp of your choice for your party would be a good idea.
If you have a choice of Tory candidates then someone like Julia Kirkbride has no chance.
But under the current system if she is the Tory candidate you have the choice of voting for her or Labour/Lib Dem - not appealing for a Tory.

Anonymous said...

Imagine for a second that a "British" government controlled almost entirely by ethnically English people (plus a few immigrants) intentionally flooded Scotland with foreigners, to stop the rise of the SNP, somehow I don't think it would be seen so benign..

The immigration we face it about stripping our national identity for the creation of an EU superstate.

North Northwester said...

"If we want more women in the Commons we must let them rely on the support of their families."

As Tonto replied to the Lone Ranger as, surrounded by hostile Apaches the Masked Man said "It looks like we're in trouble here, my redskin friend,"...

"Who's this WE, Paleface?"

WE want proper representation in the Commons, O grey-haired juggler of family, career, expenses and scrutinising EU legislation in seconds flat.

Let YOUR family support you then - not the police force who guard my daughter or the Defence Spending Review or hospital spending for 2009-10.

Sgt Troy said...

"After speaking to Luton citizens who were present on the Anti-extremist protest on Sunday May 24th, about the events on the day, it was pointed out to me that this chicken and chip shop that was targetted, was attacked specifically because it was a local heroin front for the organised Pakistani Moslem drug gangs of Bury Park, Luton."