26 May 2009

Cameron does it again

You have to hand it to Cameron.  He really does know how to chime with the public mood.  He has a whole serious of articles in today’s Guardian setting out his proposals for constitutional reform. In summary:

  • Limiting the power of the prime minister by considering fixed-term Parliaments, ending the right of Downing Street to control the timing of general elections.
  • Boosting the role of Parliament by giving MPs free votes during the consideration of bills at committee stage. MPs would also be handed the power of deciding the timetabling of bills.
  • Increasing the power of backbench MPs by allowing them to choose the chairmen and members of Commons select committees.
  • Curbing the power of the executive by limiting the use of the royal prerogative which allows the prime minister, in the name of the monarch, to make major decisions.
  • Strengthening local government by allowing councils to reverse Whitehall decisions to close popular services, such as a local post office. They would be given the power to raise money to keep them open.
  • Open up the legislative process to outsiders by sending out text alerts on the progress of parliamentary bills and by posting proceedings on YouTube.
  • Publishing the expenses claims of all public servants earning more than £150,000.

Some are rather gimmicky and others will be difficult to implement.  However, the proposal for ending the prime minister’s right to call an election will hit home.  It puts Brown on the back foot and highlights his refusal to go to the country.

Iain Dale commented on Sky News last night that Cameron had been planning these changes for sometime.  Maybe.  However, it can be assumed that he has announced them at this time due to the expenses scandal, and because he wants to highlight the general election issue.

Interestingly, Cameron comes out against PR:

Proportional representation takes power away from the man and woman in the street and hands it to the political elites. Instead of voters choosing their government on the basis of the manifestos put before them in an election, party managers would choose a government on the basis of secret backroom deals. How is that going to deliver the transparency and trust we need?

In one hit, Cameron puts Brown on the defensive and directly challenges Alan Johnson.  The novice has done well.

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  1. wonderfulforhisageMay 26, 2009 at 8:49 AM

    "You have to hand it to Cameron. He really does know how to chime with the public mood."

    Yep The Heir to Blair, just like the real thing, is a focus group follower.

    Leadership - bah humbug. Followership - now your talking.

  2. But of course he's told one of the big lies about proportional representation - handing over power to the political elites. Just how is that different from what happens now? All 3 parties are coalitions of differing interests and each leader imposes a view based on how he or she and his cohort can manipulate the membership.

    PR - and my preference is for the single transferrable vote - gives power to the voter. We choose who we best think should represent us not the party elites in the constituency parties; we can split the ticket according to our choice; the politicians don't like that which is why we had the party lists imposed on us for Eeurope and the Scottish parliament.

    The other objection is that PR doesn't produce strong government. Well after 30 years of elected dictatorships which have imposed a lot on is on a minority vote - poll tax, Iraq, post office closures anyone? - I can't really see what's wrong with it.

  3. He's doing very well.

    Where exactly is Brown?? In a bunker somewhere??