Peter Hoskin

Politicians must ensure that the public doesn’t get left behind

Politicians must ensure that the public doesn't get left behind
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Look, I know that the expenses mess needs sorting swiftly and decisively - I've been saying as much for the past few weeks.  But there's still a sense that things are now moving a little too quickly.  Under the correct interpretation that "this is about more than expenses," polticians have rushed from discussing second home allowances to setting out their plans for tweaking the electoral system.  Even today, there have been concurrent debates about whether there should be fixed-term parliaments and whether voters should be able to recall their political representatives.  All thought-provoking stuff, but it's getting hard to keep up.

This isn't so much of a problem if it all leads to a more effective political system.  (Although, what's the chance of that?)  But it does mean that voters may get left behind as the debate hops about from pillar to post.  And when the debate's effectively about the gap between the voting and the political classes, that could be a destructive state of affairs.  

To my mind, there's a great political victory to be won by the first party to set out all (or most) of the different positions on constitional, electoral and parliamentary reform; to do so concisely and clearly; and to somehow involve the public, armed with this new information, in coming up with a resolution.  Quite simply: if they're going to make the case for greater openness and transparency, then that case needs to be open and transparent in itself.