Wednesday, October 15, 2008

42 days...

Parliament is a strange old place. When the issue of 42 days detention came before the House of Commons, Plaid Cymru MPs lobbied and argued against this change. Elfyn Llwyd even went on the committee of the Counter-Terrorism Bill, and a lot of work went into preparing arguments, trying to build up support for our views etc. But, as you may recall, when it came to voting on the issue, the Government won. We were all very disappointed, and I certainly ranted in a previous post about how dangerous this attack on our civil liberties was and how cowardly Labour MPs were in voting in favour of it.

Then, this week, the issue went before the House of Lords. And what did they do? Reject the proposal by a majority of 191 votes. Just like that, and it was over. Amazing. I still don't get how that happens sometimes. Though I'm delighted it worked in our favour this time, it does seem quite a bizarre system. Especially since the majority of Lords, if not all, haven't been elected democratically. They aren't accountable to any electorate, and yet, they can put a stop to legislation, even if MPs are in favour of it.

Sometimes I think that the problem with politics and political systems is that common sense seems to be absent. Indeed, that can be the problem with politicians on the whole. MPs should follow their heads and electorate when it comes to voting on issues, and not just blindly follow their party, come what may. As an individual, you can't agree with every single thing your party believes in and stands for and if your electorate know that you will put their needs first and foremost, then I think they'd resepct you far more than if you just followed whatever the party whip tells yo to do. Also, the political system isn't transparent. People don't understand it, and this issue of 42 days is a perfect example of how confusing things are. No wonder people don't want to engage in politics or think its a waste of time if they can't fathom what exactly is going on. I get confused sometimes and have to ask a lot of questions - and I work here!

1 comment:

Dr. Christopher Wood said...

"So 42 is not the meaning of detention after all". Not even the 'meaning of life". *sobs* Perhaps "42" is really a complex number - maybe Douglas Adams gave us the real bit, but not the imaginary part! (Douglas Adams wrote "Hitchhikders Guide to the Galaxy" [sic].)

So, "42 xi" or as the engineers prefer (using 'j notation'): 42 xj, where x is a variable value - so now we need to 'solve for x' ... now where did I hear that last, oh, High School algebra.

So "42" could be the meaning of life after all.