Alex Massie

Better MPs, please...

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As we all know Her Majesty's Armed Forces have spent the last seven years fighting in far-flung parts of the world. Their deployments have hardly been uncontroversial. So you'd think that the release of a new Green Paper on the "way forward" for the armed forces might be a moment of some interest and, indeed, even at this stage of the electoral cycle, some importance.

Not so. At least it doesn't interest our parliamentarians. As Think Defence points out only one in twenty MPs bothered turn up to listen to and debate the Green Paper. I think that's a grand total of six Labour MPs on the governmentback-benches. I assume most of them are members of the Defence Select Committee which would mean that it's possible that not a single Labour MP who ain't on that committee bothered to turn up for this...

If parliament is scorned or despised then this isn't just a consequence of the expenses scandal, it's also because the distance between MPs who bleat about restoring honour and integrity to Westminster and their own actions is so vast. By their presence may you measure them and only a platoon of members could be bothered to hear Bob Ainsworth announce the latest strategic review.

Perhaps its naive to think that MPs might take their promise to restore the prominence and pertinence of parliament seriously. Judging by their attendence today it certainly is.

[Photo pinched from the excellent Kings of War]

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

Topics in this articlePoliticsdefencewestminster