Today is Estimates Day – when ministers seeks the consent of Parliament to tax and spend. If those we elected were doing their job properly, it would be a key moment. Instead, it is a ritualistic formality. Parliament has lost its purpose.
When Charles I attempted to bypass Parliament and levy ship money on every county in England, we cut his head off. What would those who fought at Marston moor think of the nodding donkeys who sit in Parliament now?
Parliament then was prepared to wage war over a few hundred thousand pounds' worth of taxes raised without their consent. Today the Commons will okay over £220 billion pounds' worth of public spending on the nod. There may not even be a vote.
How did we get to this sorry impasse? A key moment came in the 1930s, when the front benches colluded to remove from individual MPs the right to amend budgets. Since then, MPs can only vote for or against a package of figures presented to them by the Treasury.
Politicians have become play-actors, the script often written for them by senior civil servants. Real scrutiny of Government has given way to booing and cheering at Prime Minister's Questions. Independence of thought has been replaced with robotic repetition of party lines. Real representation of the people has been supplanted by slavish subservience to the Whips. We have a pantomime Parliament.
This is why our democracy is in disrepute.
Unsustainable national debt, uncontrolled borders, unaccountable Government. These are the products of Parliamentary powerlessness. When will the people revolt?
"A revolutionary text ... right up there with the Communist manifesto" - Dominic Lawson, Sunday Times
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