Parliament represents society.
While Parliament fails to fully represent society it fails to represent the best of society.
So any imbalance in representation is an indictment of the failure of Government to fulfil the potential of all the members of society.
I watched the three main party leaders face the committee and I have to say this was an instance when the best of our politics was on show.
Brown, Cameron and Clegg all made excellent shows of the efforts they've made and provided good reasoned (if partisan) arguments why more democracy is necessary to solve the weaknesses in our current democracy.
With all the furore being caused by the BNP's appearance on the BBC it has been easy to get distracted from the positive politics going on under our noses, but it is also easy to lose sight of how these issues are two sides of the same coin.
So it is a shame that QT was dominated by the assumptions surrounding perceptions of the BNP and its' leader Nick Griffins' anti-democratic credentials, when the time may have been more productively spent quizzing him on what efforts he is making to improve the overall balance.
I for one don't see the BNP encouraging gender balance, nor do I see them doing anything at all to help ethnic minority representation or arguing for an extension of the democratic franchise to any group - in fact they are doing the reverse!
Therefore amid all the hype over who exactly is bullying whom I think it is important to remember who is actually offering greater support to the greatest part of society and therefore who has the best interests of society at heart.
Brown and Cameron can both proudly stand up to say they are taking positive steps, but I have to get behind Nick Clegg's argument that it is a wider problem of our politics that we aren't doing enough. Maybe we can never do enough, but I think it is vital to recognise we must always try to do more.
Friday, 23 October 2009
A short statement on the speakers' conference on Parliamentary representation
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