Saturday, 5 December 2009

Parliament in an anti-politics age

The Speaker of the House of Commons gave this year's Hansard Society/Political Studies Association Lecture. Sadly I missed it, due to my teaching commitments at Leicester University. However, the Hansard Society recorded the speech and an audio recording is available here. The House of Commons has released the text which can be read here.

Towards the beginning of his speech he says - "It is a cruel paradox that at a time when MPs have never worked harder, their standing has rarely been lower. Let me be brutally honest about the scale of what has occurred.

I cannot think of a single year in the recent history of Parliament when more damage has been done to it than this year, with the possible exception of when Nazi bombs fell on the chamber in 1941.

The difference is that the physical wreckage then was done by dictators whereas responsibility for the reputational carnage inflicted this year lies with the House."

The speech contains both a diagnosis of the problems - and suggestions for the way ahead. As with yesterday's post I would appreciate any comments you have to make.

Further information is available about the sponsors of this annual event.