Following on from Richard North’s article in which he discusses the effectiveness of Select Committees; and from which:
So often do we see this that we find select committees becoming repositories for misinformation – sharing half-truths and misconceptions and never getting to the bottom of the issues and contributing anything of value. Small wonder they are treated (as I am advised privately) with disdain by ministers and civil servants. If the system is to work at all, we need to see fundamental changes to it – and not just confined to the Brexit committee. In the past, we’ve had major reservations about the Defence Committee, which has proved just as inadequate in monitoring the MoD. One thing I would like to see is the end of the practice where MPs on the committee each take turns questioning witnesses. Instead, it be better if each committee appoints its own advocate (who might be a barrister) to conduct the oral sessions. The MPs would then act in a similar fashion to a judge (or jury).
Let us take that comment a tad further, when considering democracy per se. Select Committees are comprised of a cross-party selection of MPs, with the majority on those committees always in favour of the governing party of the day.
Knowing that MPs are in politics for a career and thus advancement up the ‘political ladder’:
- just how do we know that their questions are not designed to ‘rock the party boat’ whilst possibly appearing ‘insightful’?
- Just what is the point of Select Commitees when, as Richard North so admirably notes, the composition of same appears to know nowt about the subject matter of their ‘inquiry’?
If under representative democracy we are afforded the ‘privilege’ of electing those who are supposed to represent us (but do not), should we also not have the ‘privilege’ of electing those who are supposed to hold, on our behalf, the ‘government of the day’ to account? Coupled with those points – and on the same basis – should we not have the right to appoint those who are to serve as ministers, at whatever level? After all should we also not elect our Prime Minister as whoever achieves that exalted position as leader of the largest political party becomes, in all but name, a dictator (in what is supposed to be a democracy?)
Of course were we to adopt direct democracy it would be we, the people, who would be setting the ‘modus operandi’ of our politicians; rather than them so doing.
Representative democracy, for want of a better word, ‘stinks’ – it is no more than a state of servitude to those we elect; and that aint democracy.
I ask all to recall the definition of democracy from the Greek: ‘demos’: people; and ‘kratos’: power. Now where, on a day-to-day basis does representative democracy allow that?