Wednesday, May 19
the question of constitutional reform has been top of many prime ministers priority lists. however, the actual act of changing powerful and influential elements of UK government has been too much for many. since 1997, new labour have introduced radical reforms that have re-shaped the UK. these include; increased devolved powers to scotland and wales, the freedom of information act and the human rights act. the creation of a 'well oiled' parliamentary system is an extremely difficult operation, new labour came close but failed to follow through their original plans. the new coalition government may well desire constitutional reform bu the real question is whether they are willing to fulfil their visions into reality.
the first obstacle to constitutional reform is the house of lords. never elected and for many years wholly hereditary, this chamber needs to modernise. this means to create a fully elected house that has recognition from the public. although they only advise and conjure policies their reputation is down and needs rejuvenation.
in order to make this reform significant and worthwhile it is necessary to reform the house of commons. this reform should include a referendum on a change to the electoral system of mps and the discussion and ultimate change to pmq's. these reforms are needed to stop a u-turn in British politics. the recent general election showed us that the simple plurality system is incapable of dealing with multi-parties. the emergence of smaller parties should not be ignored and therefore the public opinion needs to be asked. the weekly event of pmq's has simply become a joke. the over theatrical media coverage pushes many away from politics and over time can have a detrimental effect. these reforms are desirable and must occur to enable the overall political system to modernise effectively.
the chaos surrounding devolved powers to scotland and wales needs to be addressed. the fact that in the past scottish mps could vote on english issues and english mps could not vote on scottish issues is undemocratic and a deterrent to fairness. referendums needs to be issued to ask people what they want on policies of independence, devolution and executive powers. having a coalition in scotland and wales of labour, snp and plaid cymru means that concessions needs to be made. the publics view could therefore be overlooked. referendums will configure necessary actions to alleviate these pressures. it is the politicians duty to serve its people, deciding important issues by compromise is unhealthy to democracy. the reason why this reform is desirable is because many have become disillusioned by the devolution settlements, they simply donot understand them. although in some cases this may not be of interest, the majority of scotland and wales would love to have their say in a referendum. however, the important question returns as to whether the current government ia willing to concede this reform.
overall the british political system has slowly modernised to keep in contact with the public view. however at this time many reforms are desirable to complete this process. the new government has an opportunity to implement these thoughts into reality. the way in which the recent general election played out shows clearly that the current electoral system is a risk when other parties increase their support. the resulting hung parliament produced a government that public did not vote for. this highlights the problem and shows the desire for change. the current asymmetric bicameral system has become unfair. the lords need legitimacy in order to remove the publics doubt in them. finally, the confusion surrounding the devolution settlements needs clarification. this can only be achieved by consulting the public through a referendum. the ability to desire however, is much easier than the ability to act. now it is up to the politicians to not let this opportunity pass.