Friday, 8 August 2008

The confused Norman Baker

The Daily Mail today shouts from its front page that the Lib Dem MP for Lewes, Norman Baker, is spearheading a campaign for MPs to ditch their traditional oath of allegiance.

Supporting the campaign purportedly on the grounds that their 'principal duty' should be allegiance to the people who voted for them rather than the Queen are 22 MPs from all three main parties, but reportedly including only a single Conservative.

A full list of these supporting MPs isn't given. Yet what's the betting that most of these sudden adherents to representing their constituents and 'swearing allegiance to the nation' both didn't keep their manifesto promises to support a referendum on the EU Constitution and voted to approve that transfer of more decision-making powers to the EU?

At that time, countless polls showed that a large majority of people wanted a say on the treaty and opposed the transfer of more decision-making to the EU. How many of these MPs were so interested in representing their constituents then?

Norman "it's a matter of democracy" Baker himself certainly wasn't. In line with the instructions of his party leader, Nick Clegg, he didn't bother to vote in support of a referendum on the EU Constitution's "substantially equivalent" successor, the Lisbon Treaty, but he did vote to approve the treaty.

Wouldn't MPs keeping clear promises on which they were elected and taking their own manifestos seriously be a far greater contribution to improving democracy than gimmicky campaigns to tinker with oaths?

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