Monday, 4 June 2007

The democratic deficit (1)

This is the first of an occasional series of comments I want to make about what I perceive to be failures in our democratic system. One major problem of being a government minister or even the prime minister is that you are still an MP representing a constituency. We are led to believe that holding a ministerial post or being an MP are each full time jobs if performed properly. Now MPs have to respond to lots of concerns raised by their constituents many of which are not party political but still requiring some investigation and a reply. Fortunately my MP is not in the government so that on the very rare occasion I have written to him a prompt reply was forthcoming.

So if I lived in the Sedgefield constituency how long would it be to get Tony Blair to respond to a problem. Even if he has a good team of helpers I can't see him getting too involved with the minutiae of day to day queries and problems up there. Presently of course he is saying (at our expense thank you) one of the longest goodbyes in history. The question I would pose is this: should the Prime Minister and members of his cabinet and possibly other government ministers be drawn outside of the normally elected MPs. No I don't quite know how this could be done in practise but it seems to me that we could well benefit from using the talents of people who really understand how to run things as ministers. Just a little food for thought!

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