Part-time Parliament…

Today’s Queen’s Speech contained 15 bills – with only 33 days left of the current parliament. Let’s forget party politics for a moment, and consider that fact. Parliament will sit for a mere 33 days out of the next six months. That’s absolutely disgraceful.

It’s lunacy. This country cannot continue to be governed on such a part-time basis. It really can’t. Yes, I know it’s traditional – so was Tyburn, but that’s long gone. Traditions can, and in this case must, change. New Labour pointlessly trashed previously treasured parliamentary  traditions when they first came to power, yet the tradition of  part-time government – which has long outlived its usefulness – lingers on.

The night-shift needs to end, too. Yes, I know MPs use the mornings for constituency work, if they’re conscientious, and for pursuing extra-curricular activities if they’re not. Screw that. A parliament working for 4 full days a week, with an hour for lunch, for, say, 44 weeks a year (two month’s holiday should be enough for any normal person, and far more than most get), would accomplish far more, with a whole day a week set aside for constituency work. Outside interests, like directorships? Forget it – their job is running the country first and foremost. If they want to run other jobs on the side, they can do it in their own time, like everyone else.

We need full-time politicians, taking much more normal breaks – it really is no longer a job for part-timers who have no qualms about clearing off to the other side of the world for weeks, sometimes months, on end. They need to work more normal hours, for far more days and – here’s a thought – like lesser mortals, they should stay out of the bars during “office hours” too! How much use is a half-pissed MP?

The current system is archaic and profoundly inefficient – it has to change.

But here’s something to chew on – none of the major parties has the slightest interest in changing, and it really is a far more important and fundamental issue than a few MPs fiddling their expenses, ffs.

The boy Cameron will doubtless be PM by next summer (and anyone who thinks the Tories will be better than Labour is deluding themselves – politically you could barely get a fag-paper between them, if you ignore the hyperbole – if you’re sick and disabled, a single parent, or out of work, you’re still gonna get shafted), but can we hope that he, and his bunch of Etonian and Harrovian chancers, have the balls for real change? In your dreams…

Update, November 25: I wonder if Call me Dave reads my Blog?