Gordon Brown’s solution for the crisis of legitimacy in British politics is to force MPs to adhere to a code of conduct:
MPs will have to agree to a legally binding code of conduct as part of a plan to “clean up” Parliament, Gordon Brown has told the BBC.
Either Brown has utterly missed the point, or he’s actively trying to subvert democracy (I tend towards the former). As Jonathan Calder points out:
This stands things on their head. It is not the government’s job to hold MPs to account. It is MPs’ job to hold the government to account. Equally, if constituents believe their MP is not adequate level of service then they are at liberty to throw him out at the next election.
An MP’s job is to represent his constituents. If the constituents don’t think their MP is doing a good job, it should be their right to sack him via a recall election. No-one else should have the right to sack an MP, because if he’s doing his job to the satisfaction of his employers, it’s no-one else’s business.
Equally, David Cameron’s call for a general election also misses the mark:
Mr Cameron is also calling for an immediate general election to give the public an opportunity to get rid of MPs who have been caught up in the scandal.
This is an idiotic idea, because:
1. a general election is about electing a government, and therefore the debate would be about all the issue involved in running the country, not just the expenses scandal and constitutional reform proposals stemming from it.
2. giving voters a one off chance to sack their MP will do good in the sohrt term, but does nothing to put in place long term incentives into place that will deter MPs from fiddling their expemnses or other dodgy behavior.
3. to properly give voters a choice we need to change the voting system (where it selects one candidate) from FPTP to AV. Cameron cynically rejects this because it would reduce the power of the party elites, i.e. Cameron if he became prime minister.