Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Fuel Duty Regulator Amendment

Usually, I love working for such a small party at parliament but there are some occasions when it can be disheartening. Take today or tonight for instance. MPs have just been voting on a Plaid Cymru-SNP amendment to the Finance Bill, which proposed the implementation of a Fuel Duty Regulator. It was heavily defeated by 309 to 15 votes. Admittedly, it was a slightly better result than when we proposed the idea in 2005 when the votes then were 351 to 12, but its still a depressing result.

What bothers me the most is that its a good idea. It has a lot of support from ordinary people and not just those who solely exist within the Westminster bubble. Sometimes, just sometimes, I wish MPs would look at the merits of an amendment or a bill rather than solely focus on who's proposing it before deciding if they are voting in favour or against it. This, after all, is supposed to be a democracy. And yet, its not. Its only the small parties, like the SNP or Plaid Cymru, who seem to understand the concept of a free vote. We actually discuss and debate matters on merit before deciding how to vote. Surely, that's how every party and MP should operate? Labour, Tories and Lib Dems are all at fault for operating in such an undemocratic manner when it comes to the matter of voting at parliament. Indeed, I struggle sometimes to understand why we bother having debates or even a parliament at if people have already made up their minds (or at least been told how to vote) before listening and contemplating both sides of the debate?

I live in hope that one day, politics will return to basics. That's why I believe in self-governance for Wales. I think its too late in the day to change the way things operate at Westminster. The undemocratic nature of parliament is far too ingrained by now. But a Welsh parliament could be different. Whilst fighting for greater powers for the Assembly, I believe we, the Welsh, from every political party should keep this in mind and ensure that we build a true democracy where issues are considered on merit. Otherwise, there's no real point to politics. Considering I hope to work in politics for the rest of my life, I truly hope democracy prevails in the future!

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