Friday, May 22, 2009

Yes to cleaning up politics - but lets get deep reform of the political system too!

Radio 4 – 21 May 2009, 8:40am, transcript of interview about cleaning up politics and deep reform of the political system.

(JN – interviewer James Naughtie)
(CL - Caroline Lucas, Green Party leader, MEP for the South East and Parliamentary Candidate in Brighton)

JN – "You, of course are not in the House of Commons."

CL – "Not yet"

JN – "Let’s not go there at the moment. Looking at it, from the
outside, do you think we going to get deeper reform than simply
cleaning up expenses and allowances?"

CL – "I certainly hope we do. I do believe that there really is a once
in a generation opportunity here … that there is so much anger, not
just about the expenses issue, but about the way that’s symbolic of a
Parliamentary system that is pretty rotten. If you look at how
unrepresentative the people are who supposedly represent us in
Westminster, the very few numbers of women, the very few numbers of
ethnic minorities, if you look at the way that there are so many safe
seats where people just don’t think it’s worth voting anymore. There’s
an interesting correlation between those in those very safe seats, and
those who are most likely to be abusing the system. Basically, they
have felt very complacent. We need to shake that up."

JN – "Then you’re making an argument for electoral reform."

CL – "Absolutely. We need to have a much fairer voting system, some
sort of system of proportional representation, where the people in
Westminster will look more like the people that actually elect them,
not just men in grey suits, doing things behind closed doors, that
people don’t understand, and when they do understand, they feel very
very angry.

JN – "We’ve been here before. The argument about PR has been going on
for, a very long time, let’s say, 25 years in the public context.
There has never been sufficient weight of opinion in the House of
Commons really to get it on the formal agenda. What makes you think it
will happen now?"

CL – "Because we are in completely unprecedented times. You spent the
last 24 hours talking about how amazing it is that the Speaker has
been forced out. Never done before in 300 years. We really do have an
enormous opportunity here. There’s that lovely phrase from the chief
of staff of the White House, "Don’t waste a crisis." This is a very
big crisis, but don’t waste it. We don’t need to just deal with the
expenses system, awful though that is. We really need a root and
branch transformation of our Parliament, so people can feel proud
about it again, so that public life is something honourable again – it
certainly isn’t today - so the whole parliamentary system is alive
again. Parliament shouldn’t just be something that happens behind
closed doors in Westminister. Politics needs to be much more vibrant,
much more alive. This is a real opportunity to do that.

1 comment:

  1. She's speaking the truth: we are in an unprecedented era, an almost revolutionary period, in which we've discovered that the old way of doing things can no longer be sustained: the economic order can't be sustained, the political order can't be sustained, the entire way our country is run simply cannot be sustained. The danger, however, is that people will be afraid of change rather than embrace it: this is the space in which the BNP operates. But they shouldn't be afraid: there is sunshine around the corner if one is just a bit more brave.


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