Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Too many Chiefs

I’m not quite sure by Tom at Lets Be Sensible is annoyed that filibustering was used to defeat bad legislation. The blockheaded use of the Party whip makes filibustering an essential parliamentary counterbalance.

If Parliament listened to reason, tactics such as this wouldn’t be needed.

But, on another subject, Tom makes a detailed argument where one isn’t needed against the loathsome Simon Jenkins.

Jenkins lists a set of government posts (Chief Economist, Chief Scientist etc) and argues that we need a Chief Ethicist as well.

I’d go the other way and sack the Economist, the Scientist, and the rest of them. But the reason that Jenkins wants all of these un-elected Chiefs is because he is opposed to Representative Democracy. He prefers referenda and populist demagogues such as the late Pim Fortuyn.

As Roy Hattersley told the Nolan Enquiry*, the role of the elected representative is to represent their constituency, their party and their conscience – in no particular order. The conscience part deals with the ethical issues much better than any Chief Ethicist could.

*This quote is from memory. As far as I can see, the text of the Nolan Enquiry is not available on line. It should be. The summary that is pointed to by the Hansard website is a dead link.

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