So let’s catch up a bit: MP Rory Stewart joined the Tory rebels on Lords reform (so did Mensch) and was solid in the debate on the alleged reform of the House of Lords. See this excerpt from Hansard (think Congressional Record) in support of a referendum on Lords reform (My feel based on what little I know about the issue is no change in the Lords):
What kind of democracy do we have in that context? We can have as many different kinds as there are trees: we can have flowers on it, like a cherry tree, or strange brown leaves like a beech in winter, or needles like a pine tree. Within our democracy, we have judges who are not elected, as we have heard ad infinitum, and generals who are not elected. Certain powers are taken away from the House and given to non-elected people as part of our democracy. For example, the Labour Government were proud to take away control of interest rates from Parliament and to give it to an independent central bank. Government Members were proud to take control of economic forecasting away from this place and give it to the Office for Budget Responsibility. Indeed, there was a lot of consensus on taking away investigative powers from the House and giving them to the independent, judge-led Leveson inquiry.
Exactly what balance of elected and unelected people we want within a democratic constitution is an interesting question. Like the Chinese, we could elect our generals; like the Americans, we could elect judges; or, like the Canadians, we could have an appointed upper Chamber. What determines that balance in a democracy is what we want to do and the problems we are trying to solve.
Wouldn’t you like to hear that said out loud? It is eloquent and powerful. Try this in another part of the debate (go to just before Column 86):
Rory Stewart:Does the hon. Gentleman agree that before it goes round preaching about democracy to the rest of the world, Britain should take the example of the rest of the world by not introducing major constitutional change without either a two-thirds vote or a referendum?
As they say in the UK, Hear! Hear! In other news: Stewart’s email was apparently hacked to make him look like he is a supporter of the Assad regime in Syria. But what he DID say, thanks David Frum at the Daily Beast, would not please, say, Sen. Graham and thus pleases me very much:
Mr Stewart, MP for Penrith and the Border, said :”I have not really spoken publicly much about Syria at all. I do recall getting an email from someone with a different name back in April.
“I replied saying that I fully agree that what Assad was doing was abhorrent and he should go. But this should be done through diplomatic means. I said that I did not think that the British Government should get involved militarily and that we should not get involved in arming the rebels. I certainly did not quote Lawrence in any way.”
MP Kwasi Kwarteng was quoted recently as calling for more free enterprise:
“More specifically our proposals deal with three areas of policy. To support jobs and growth, we suggest redirecting the Treasury, reducing regulation on small firms and giving young workers a national insurance holiday. To boost the country’s infrastructure, we have suggested the bold idea of building two additional runways at Heathrow. The authors also propose a new Ministry of Infrastructure to offer concessions to the private sector. Finally, the paper puts forward the creation of care ISAs [individual savings accounts], encouraging greater saving for long term care needs and limiting paperwork for consumer financial products to just one page. These ideas are just a start. Many details will have to be worked out. Yet the policy document, we hope, initiates a much needed debate about Britain, her society and the economy. This debate will result in a better strategic sense of the direction in which Britain needs to travel.”
I like less regulation and a national insurance holiday (I assume that means opt out of the National Health Service) Thanks to Shay Riley at Booker Rising!
David Nuttall and Steve Baker are honorary Young Turks – we’ll cover them in a future posting!