Wednesday, 29 August 2012
A Historical Pageant Isn't Democracy.
Plaid Wrecsam, Borthlas , and Change of Personnel have all commented on the report that The Houses of Parliament could close for up to five years while essential repairs are carried out at a estimated cost ofbout £3 billion.
Yes £3 Billion this compare to the £70 million it cost to build the National Assembly and the £414 million. The cost of the latter was highly controversial the initial estimate in taking in all costs was £109 Million .
So the Parliament refurbishment (not even having to purchase the site) of £3 Billion could be even more.
There seems no complaints from the Tax Payers Alliance so far.
Of course the supporters of this project will speak of the "unique historic role" of the UK Parliament but if devolution has shown us anything Democracy does not need to come from a Gothic Palce and acane procedure
All Members of Parliament cannot fit in the Chamber, which can seat only 427 of the 650 Members it appears the refurbishment plans wil not change this and even if after 2014 and the 59 Scottish MPs did not attend . There would still be not enough room for them all.
And there would be less if they adopted a sensible electronic voting system.
At the Moment when the debate concludes, or when the Closure is invoked, the motion in question is put to a vote. The House first votes by voice vote; the Speaker or Deputy Speaker puts the question, and Members respond either "Aye" (in favour of the motion) or "No" (against the motion). The presiding officer then announces the result of the voice vote, but if his or her assessment is challenged by any Member or the voice vote is unclear, a recorded vote known as a division follows. The presiding officer, if he or she believes that the result of the voice vote is clear, may reject the challenge. When a division occurs, members enter one of two lobbies (the "Aye" lobby or the "No" lobby) on either side of the Chamber, where their names are recorded by clerks. A member who wishes to pointedly abstain from a vote may do so by entering both lobbies, casting one vote for and one against. At each lobby are two tellers (themselves Members of the House) who count the votes of the members.
Once the division concludes, the tellers provide the results to the presiding officer, who then announces them to the House. If there is an equality of votes, the Speaker or Deputy Speaker has a casting vote. Traditionally, this casting vote is exercised to allow further debate, if this is possible, or otherwise to avoid a decision being taken without a majority (e.g. voting No to a motion or the third reading of a bill). Ties rarely occur—the last one was in July 1993. The quorum of the House of Commons is 40 members for any vote. If fewer than 40 members have participated, the division is invalid
Our AM's simply press a button and the result is instantaneous and it clear who voted for what.
There are division bells in some local pubs and eating housed close to Westminster. So MP's can rush back and vote .
The whole system is arcane and before Televising was largely unknown to the majority of the electorate.
Clearly I would rather see a Welsh Parliament of an Independent Wales and whilst there may be a role for some procedure . A Legislature should get on with the job of running the country and not be a floor show.
You may think a 1906 Roils Royce Silver Ghost is a car to impress onlookers but you wouldn't (unless you were a billionaire) use it for everyday use..
If we are still to be stick in the Union lets have at least a modern Parliament building and confine Westminster to the tourist attraction it should be.