The ability to recall our MPs would allow constituents to hold politicians accountable when Westminster fails to meet their expectations.
Following the expenses scandal, political parties devised a new power that could aid in the restoration of public trust.
It was never actually brought in.
I had a depressing sense of déjà vu as I read the headlines about the parliamentary standards system’s failure.
This is a topic we’ve all discussed before.
Cleggmania, Gordon Brown’s penchant for insulting elderly ladies he had only just met, and a mercifully brief trend of trying to make manifestos exciting were among the fads that dominated the 2010 general election.
The Conservative manifesto was titled Invitation to Join the Government of Britain, and Labour’s was titled A Future Fair for All, an inexplicable turn of phrase that made them sound like Yoda announcing plans for a village fete.
The Lib Dems simply dropped capital letters throughout, having outsourced the job to a consortium of every mid-2000s Shoreditch advertising agency and e e cummings.
The documents differed in many ways, but one thing they all had in common was a proposal for a constitutional amendment to “clean up politics.”
The MPs’ expenses scandal was still raging in Westminster’s foundations, and all parties were scrambling to come up with a plausible response to the public’s outrage and distrust.
Both the parliamentary authorities and the party leaderships struggled to figure out how to fix the mess after allowing it to develop in the first place and then misjudging its seriousness until long after it had exploded.
They settled on the right of recall: a power that allows voters to call a recall election for their MP in between elections if they collect enough signatures from the MP’s constituents.
In the midst of a firestorm of disempowerment and abuse – exacerbated by the fact that proven wrongdoers were allowed to sit on the green benches for years until the next election – giving voters more power through direct democracy was clearly the best solution.
The official system felt fundamentally wrong even when people acted within the rules, and the chummy approach had failed to prevent misuse of expenses.
News summary from Infosurhoy in the United Kingdom.
Constituents would be able to hold politicians accountable if they had the power to recall them if Westminster failed to deliver.