Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Order, Order

A new voice will be keeping order in the House of Commons starting on June 22.

Speaker Michael Martin resigned his position today effective on June 21.  The scandal over MPs expenses finally engulfed the Speaker.  Since the Speaker chairs the committee that sets and enforces the ethics rules for Parliament, reforms minded MPs viewd the speak as an obstacle to needed reforms.  Front runners to be elected the new Speaker include Deputy Speaker Sir Alan Haselhurst, former Labour minister Frank Fields, and former Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell.  Personally, I am hoping the Sir Menzies becomes the new Speaker because I think a Speaker from a third party would be a good development for the Commons.

Speaker Martin's problem was the common one of misreading the threat.  He saw the danger as having the situation get out of control and out into the public instead of the issue of expenses.  The misreading caused him to view those MPs  calling for reform as threats instead of allies in an attempt to save the reputation of Parliament.  In doing so he forfeited his ability to lead.  A common mistake but one that cost him the Speakership.

That being said, this scandal is not a Speaker issue it is a Parliament issue.  If the scandal is so deep that the Speaker resigned over it then it is too much for this Parliament to fix.  More then a new speaker is needed; a new Parliament is needed.  Parliament should be dissolved and a general election should be called.

1 comment:

  1. Alas, I had liked this Parliament when we were there in October. And Speaker Martin. Au revoir, monsieurs.