I took a few minutes out this afternoon to listen to Gordon Brown tell parliament that he has a few proposals to make the government a ‘better servant of the people’. The metaphor is rather dull. I am not entirely sure that I want a British government to be a ‘servant’ – but let the metaphor pass.
The proposed changes may be summarised as: giving MPs the final say in who we invade etc etc, giving MPs a ‘bigger role in approving public appointments’, establishing Commons committees for the English regions, a future ‘Bill of Rights’, the creation of a national security council (with regular publication of strategy) – but all subject to the caveat that this must limit our (his?) ability to deal with operational decisions and emergencies.
Brown also felt it would be good to surrender the power to appoint Church of England bishops – a new take on government taking action about an entity that does not exist?
Justice Secretary Straw LC will handle the business of bringing shape and reality to these concepts. While Brown is no fan of proportional representation, he welcomes a debate. He also suggested that 16 year olds should be given the right to vote. Interesting idea, given they can’t drink (and there are plans to stop them buying cigarettes) until they are 18! I hardly need to state the obvious….
POSTSCRIPT 8.45 pm 3rd July
The Attorney-General, Baroness Scotland, has decided that she will no longer make key prosecutions in individual cases – for example: Cash for honours.
In the meantime, while they sort out these reforms (and I have had quite enough constitutional reform for one day)… I am off to watch Malcolm Tucker swearing like a trooper in “The Thick of it” and get some good old fashioned political satire on BBC Four.
PS… it is pleasing to note that WebCameron has an insight into Brown’s first week: I quote from WebCameron website/blog / Manifesto….
“Brown’s been PM for a week, and it hasn’t stopped raining”
“With reshuffles, constitutional statements and PMQs on the agenda, the weather isn’t much of an issue for me. Except in one case. At the weekend I had to erect a £40 tent from Woolworth’s in my garden so that parents and godparents at Elwen’s christening didn’t get soaked. Working out what went where, getting tent poles to fit with each other, lashing down the cover so the whole thing held together – this made political activity look simple and straightforward.
Why am I writing this now? In the new world of non-spin from the Government (likely to last 2 ¾ days) there is no advance notice of what the PM is going to say in his statement this afternoon, so I am at a loose end. Normally you get to hear the whole thing on the Today programme and read it in the newspapers. So this time only Gord knows what’s coming. I’ll guess it’ll be: “I’ll restore trust in politics”. We must all keep a straight face.“
Indeed… Mr Cameron… one must keep a straight face.
Right… I’m definitely awf to lie on my futon and watch The Thick of it.