Monday, September 13, 2010

Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Straw

Impossible though it is to cover constitutional matters in words of one syllable, for the benefit of Jack's rapidly shrinking brain, a summary;

Fixed-term parliaments are good. They mean that all parties are on an equal footing and that governments and parliamentarians are held accountable regularly, not when they want to be.

If you're going to have fixed-term parliaments, they have to be five years long. The European Parliament works on a five-year cycle so to ensure that elections are not competing with each other (and if you want an example of why that's bad, look at the London Borough elections this year which had never previously coincided with Parliamentary elections...)

If you can be certain that each election will fall in May, it makes perfect sense to align the parliamentary sessions, and hence the Queen's Speech, with that timetable. Is having a long session to implement the realignment unusual? Yes, but no more so than having a full speech for a short session that then never gets implemented.

The Liberal Democrats in the Coalition, in particular, will not stand for the continued constitutional illiteracy that is their only response to any reform proposal so far. Labour gave up its moral authority on constitutional matters when it decided that 3,000 new criminal offences, the abolition of jury trials and imprisonment without trial weren't serious constitutional threats...

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