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sábado, 10 de septiembre de 2016
BRIAN READE: Parliament's £4billion makeover should be a time MPs can reconnect with the people
The good news, folks, is that we’re going to kick every MP and Lord out of Westminster.
The bad news is they’ll be going back in after six years once the place has an estimated £4billion makeover (call it £7bn with backhanders) paid for by you.
Worse news is instead of grasping this golden opportunity to reconnect with the vast majority of people who put them in power, by moving parliament out of London, both houses will relocate to buildings a few minutes away.
Like randy stags on tour in Vegas, they’ve decided what goes on in the Westminster bubble, stays in the Westminster bubble.
And I suppose if you want to fiddle the highest expenses, sell access to dodgy Uzbekistanis in the penthouse suite of a swanky hotel, splash your 11% pay rise on the best shows and restaurants, cadge corporate hospitality and hand out peerages to oily cronies, London is the place to be.
Even if it says to 6/7ths of the country that our home of democracy may be called the Commons but it doesn’t mean you have to meet near the commoners. Because they smell.
As for the Lords, how could we move them out of London when they need to make a morning dash into town to claim their £300 day’s allowance, have a three-hour subsidised lunch and be chained up in a Soho dungeon by 3pm?
But what a Mother of All Missed Chances this is from the Mother of All Parliaments.
Imagine if they’d chosen to move the Commons to Birmingham, and each department to the biggest cities in the UK, allowing them to communicate by Skype, email or whatever high-tech wizardry exists in 2022, when the move takes place?
Government would be cheaper because we wouldn’t be paying the London rate for eating, transport, wages, rent, or even rent boys.
The capital would be less congested, there would finally be a point for HS2 , the Heathrow problem would be solved by building a new airport between London and Birmingham, and there would be a huge boost to the economy and prestige of our major cities.
There’s your Northern, Western, Eastern and Midlands powerhouses sorted, Tories.
And I genuinely think it would happen in most other progressive countries, mainly because the cities outside the capitals would expect it, and the politicians would demand it.
Therein lies the crucial difference.
Our political class talks a good game about being the servants of the people, usually when they’re begging for your vote.
But they don’t mean a word of it, as we discover when they gain power and are willingly neutered by Whitehall mandarins, the judiciary, media barons and powerful pressure groups.
It’s left the majority of voters feeling ignored by a distant, self-serving elite.
Hence Brexit , the rise of UKIP, Jeremy Corbyn, and the Scottish people electing only three MPs out of 59 who advocate rule from London.
Westminster had a chance to change that elitist perception by moving out of its bubble, yet chose not to, because it couldn’t be bothered with the inconvenience.
But the Right Honourables and Your Lordships should be worried that when the time comes to move back into their palatial home in 2028, the nation will long have viewed the place as a museum.