Sunday, 14 June 2009


There is no doubt at all that the Leader of the House, Harriet Harman, has expressed the events of the last few weeks as being traumatic, and I am sure that history will show that this period is one of the most important milestones in this Country's evolution and development in the 21st Century.

I have not at all been comfortable with the apparent 'bloodletting' that some sections of the media have taken to parodying in reporting the events of Westminster whether it be to do with Expenses or the ousting of the sitting Premier.

And I am still bemused by the manner in which a Secretary of State should depart the Government on the eve of highly important elections and to do so with such self assurance, only to then be interviewed a week later and be expressing such regrets.

At the day's end we live in a parliamentary democracy and one which works well and in which the electorate are well able to exercise their wisdom and judgment when it comes to dealing with very serious problems and which threaten to undermine the life and stability of the United Kingdom.

But the cement is in the bricks.

We are repointing, and I am confident that we will, all of us, set about restoring Parliament's standing and authority and returning members that will be truly representing the interests of all constituents. Public service means public duty. It is good to know that a clear warning has gone out from the great British Public - that serving one's self will not be keeping a member in office for very long.

I recall about two years ago watching a pavement interview in which the Foreign Secretary was asked whether the withdrawal of a coin of the realm was a matter to be put to the people as the intended withdrawal was upsetting a large section of the population. I recall the reply to the effect that the government had been elected, and they cannot keep going back for endorsement by the people on every issue. The government had the mandate to govern. At the time I remember feeling uneasy. I felt as if I was being ridden roughshod - that my views would count for nothing. Multiply this by, say, many millions feeling similarly, and are we not in danger of seeing a government no longer in touch with the people that elected it? Has it drifted into those very dangerous waters of arrogance and 'we know better'?

I think perhaps as we all see a very chastened and humbled new Cabinet this week, that suddenly every Member of Parliament whether or not in office realises one very important factor is in play: public accountability.

I am pleased to see that the Prime Minister can now get on with governing the country and hopefully with people who are loyal.

I am also pleased that Lord Mandelson has been able to hold things together. I will be unpopular for saying this, but I have great respect for this man. He has done much for this country but as so often happens in politics, these are not truly understood or appreciated until many decades have passed.

Watching the President of Iran's News Conference today was interesting. A few years ago that would have been impossible to imagine. But the religious undertone throughout the session as well as religion being used to define what is acceptable and unacceptable democracy is a very clear signal to all of us that whilst religion most surely has an important role to play, we must not forget what happened to the Puritan Era in this country. Keep them apart.

As for that benighted group of people, the BNP, I think already Nick Griffin has learned that being an elected member of such an obnoxious organisation is not a pleasant position to be in after all. What he and his cronies are learning rather fast is that the People of Britain might well be dissatisfied with their politicians, the democratic process etc, but it is this same British People that stands resolute against any form of fascism. It is no good them hiding behind the banner of too liberal an immigration policy. Parliament has already got the drift of what the people think on this score. But we are a free and open society and the BNP, like all groups, can enjoy the freedom to express their views.

But that doesn't mean we agree with them.

Despite declaring war on Germany in September 1939, the Government did not move to outlaw Mosley's Blackshirts until the following summer, and only then, at the height of the Battle of Britain when they decided to march down Whitehall with their Nazi paraphenalia - and even then it took two weeks to implement it. I wonder if certain other countries would tolerate such provocation?

That is the substance of all of us in the UK.

Let us now rebuild Parliament and restore confidence in our institutions and also restore the confidence of individual MPs who, let's face it, haver taken one hell of a trucking.

Kenneth T Webb
Liverpool CityLife

14 June 2009