Thursday, August 29, 2013

Wait a second... Parliament worked!?

Well, not our Parliament, which is in a state of continuous decay. The British House of Commons, however, has done something that we would find unprecedented here - members rejected a proposal from the governing Prime Minister who notionally controls a majority in the House. Specifically, MPs at Westminster voted 285-272 against David Cameron's motion to grant some broad acceptance of British military involvement in Syria. Members of Cameron's governing Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition abandoned the PM in his time of need, allowing a combined force of Labour and smaller party MPs, alongside 30 Conservative MPs and nine Liberal Democrats, to completely shut down Cameron's agenda before it even got off the ground.

Its amazing to see how a Parliament should work. It isn't unstable - its representatives speaking their minds and voting their conscious. Could you imagine if we saw that kind of thing here? We saw what happened when a handful of backbench Conservative MPs no one has ever heard of challenged the PMO's control over small issues - I have no doubt that if a vote came on Syria, Harper would bring out all the whips and chains against his caucus if he even hinted at dissension among the ranks. But it doesn't have to be that way!

God, its sure nice to dream.


  1. It only worked because Cameron, himself, in 2010 promised the House a veto over warmaking. He suspended the royal prerogative although he has yet to follow through on his promise to actually abolish it. The whole thing was to play pin the tail on the donkey on Tony Blair for the Iraq War fiasco. Cameron was visibly upset to be hoist on his own petard.

  2. I tuned into the live debate in the commons, and was rivetted in front of my computer for nearly an hour. The debate was lively, but courteous. On both sides of the house they drilled down deeply into the relevant facts and uncertainties. The legality of the act itself was debated. The reliability of the intelligence. The objectives of an intervention. There were so many speakers, and the debate flowed back and forth almost seamlessly. Then Parliament voted and based on the debate I heard it was the correct decision, made by an informed deliberative body. I was ashamed that Canada has the nerve to call our pale imitation a Parliament.