Monday, November 22, 2004

Bizarre Attitude

Does Shadow Rural Affairs Secretary James Gray believe in parliamentary democracy? It sounds a pretty extreme question, but when his fellow Beaufort huntsman Lord Mancroft says that "the House of Commons will have to be curbed" you have to wonder. Will Gray disassociate himself from this, or can we assume that he will be happy as a member of the Commons that his pal wants to "curb"?

Personally I don't care much about fox hunting. But I do care increasingly about the alarming degree to which both sides of politics are displaying contempt for democratic principles. On one side we have a constant tattoo of authoritarian bullying. On the other, an apparently total rejection of the legitimacy of the Commons. Apparently, the nth vote in Parliament was "shenanigans, a shambles, ridiculous behaviour". It's as bad as Nazi Germany! It will "demolish farming"! (How?) We have now had seven years of debate, amendments, official reports, compromises and manoeuvring. Enough, surely, to accept. But no. Instead we are now at risk of losing the Parliament Act, the only means by which the elected house can override the unelected. No wonder the Countryside Alliance like the idea of challenging it. Democracy? Who needs it?

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