Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

The Tories have worked themselves up into a real lather over Gordon's visit to Iraq.

This was his first visit since becoming PM. What better way to avail yourself of the current situation then going out there and seeing it for yourself, talking to the troops and meeting the Iraqi government.

But Cameron's cronies have accused him of playing politics with "our boys," conveniently forgeting their own leader's visits to Afghanistan and Iraq with camera crews in tow.

The problem is that when the Westminster village and the media are caught up in election fever, visits like this tend to get interpreted this way (Wrongly in my opinon, but there you go.)

So expect hours of pontification on rolling news channels, yards of comment in the papers and a loud yawn from the electorate. A recent poll found Gordon has done a great job in his first 100 days but almost two thirds of the public don't really want an election now.

If we want to win back public trust in the democratic process and politcians, I think we must remove the Royal Prerogative power of Government to dissolve parliament.

Gordon has already proposed a change in the Green Paper on Constitutional Reform, 'Reforming the Governance of Britain,' to devolve this decision to MPs.

I think this is a great start and along with other proposals in the paper - allowing parliament to have a say on whether we go to war, ratify treaties and appoint judges - it shows that the democratic principle is in Gordon's DNA.

But I think we should go one step further and introduce fixed term parliaments.

We have fixed term governance in every other institution that we vote for - only Westminster is the exception.

If we knew when we'd be going to the polls, our local parties would be able to better plan their General Election campaigns, ramp up resources around the peak areas of activity and allow their candidate to bed in and start campaigning at the earliest opportunity.

It would help to prove that we are selfless reformers putting the people's interest at the very heart of our democratic process.

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