Douglas Carswell

29 DEC 2011

2011 was a good year for ....

1.  Tom Watson MP, who tenaciously banged on about phone hacking until everyone else eventually started listening. To Tom, that is, not to other people’s phone messages. Many of the things Tom said would happen seemed to happen. Much of what his critics said turned out to be nonsense.   

2.  Adam Holloway MP and Stewart Jackson MP, who both resigned as PPSs because they wanted to be free to honour the promises they made to their constituents and vote for an In / Out EU referendum.  History and the country are on their side.    

3.  Select Committee chairmen, like John Whittingdale MP, Bernard Jenkin MP and Keith Vaz MP, who in their different ways each showed that select committees now have real clout. Time to give them the power to confirm ministerial appointments and veto departmental budgets?         

4.  John Bercow, who is helping restore purpose to Parliament. Ministers must now come before the House to answer urgent questions. Amendments that inconvenience the front benches get called.

Not surprisingly the whips and the Westminster old guard hate it. They much preferred it when Parliamentary democracy was stitched up through “the usual channels”.   

But do not believe the anti-Bercow spin. The Speaker is an ally of everyone who believes Parliament – and the people - should control government, rather than government control Parliament. For precisely this reason, Bercow has quietly built up a strong support-base on all sides of the Commons – particularly among the newer sort of MPs.   

5.  Parliament, which is slowly getting off its knees and might even have started to grow a bit of backbone in 2011. 

Whether it was the health Bill or votes on the EU or the IMF, once again it matters what Parliament – and by extension the people – think. The technocratic elite, who for years have mismanaged this country - relying on ministerial mouth-pieces to defend their disastrous decision-making - are beginning to have to answer outwards to the rest of us.

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