I have been banging on for a while now about parliament being no longer ‘fit for purpose’ and so the news that the Palace of Westminster is in such a state seemed a ringing endorsement of my thinking.
I have to quickly say, however, that it gave no satisfaction whatsoever to hear this. Indeed I was filled with a great sadness last night as I watched the Newsnight presenter break off some of the rotten masonry from the roof with her bare hands. That sadness was then replaced with a growing anger as the implications of this news started to sink in.
I am incensed that it has been allowed to get into such a desperate state of disrepair and I ask myself, would MP’s allow their own properties to deteriorate in such a manner. I don’t think so, judging by the recent expenses scandal. Here we were treated to endless proof that vast amounts of money has been lavished on their accommodation, even down to a pristine Duck House!
This, like the pension’s crisis, health service and most of Society’s infrastructures have been deteriorating for eons and MP’s have been fully aware over those same eons. So why has it been swept under the vast political carpet, also in a sad state of repair from all it has been hiding over the centuries. The answer is simple, of course. It doesn’t win votes . . . neither did the expenses scandal but at least MP’s have well maintained homes, unlike their place of business!!
At times like this I always try to find the positive. Here I see a HUGE opportunity to overhaul our present outmoded political system, as I think many would agree needs doing. The present house encourages a two party system of constant confrontation, where too much time is spent in scoring political points and not enough on running the country.
The environment has to change and that can only be achieved by starting again with a new purpose built building designed for the modern era. By that I don’t mean replicating Brussels, a political ‘bureaucratic rice pudding mold’ designed by politicians for politicians. No, this new building should be designed to accommodate modern communication and the ability to facilitate and process people driven referenda on subjects of importance to the country.
Cameron is teasing us with a referendum on the EU for 2017, if he gets elected. How bloody patronising! It should become the norm that if sufficient interest is established, people are able to call a referendum on anything, including a new building for parliament . . . and whenever they like, as is the case in Switzerland. This would truly return democracy to the people but I don’t hear any of the party’s seeking our vote next year promoting this certain election winner . . . wonder why?! But I digress.
Returning to the Palace of Westminster. Structurally this is truly a magnificent edifice and a global trademark of London. It is on a par with the Taj Mahal in India and the Eiffel Tower in Paris, I would suggest. I believe that it has already earned its worth many times over in its contribution to tourism and therefore the right to a full restoration to its past glory. After all we owe it at least that for all the hot air it has had to process over its lifetime to date!
‘Guestimates’ for its repair have been suggested at £3 billion and so we can be sure it will be a lot more than this! By restoring it we are assured the presence of a global icon that will continue to earn its keep in tourism and a place of interest and education to future generations. Of equal importance, it will be a reminder of a past political system that we can no longer return to, like many other historic monuments including the Tower of London and the barbarism of Traitors Gate!
On behalf of the people I offer our humble apologies for your flagrant abuse, we know what it feels like, and thank you for the incredible opportunity you have now provided us with. We won’t let you down!
Until the next time