There has been a long tradition in UK politics that Ministers of the Crown must be members of Parliament. The bottom line reason has always been that if the Ministers are MP’s, they are accountable to Parliament, and through Parliament to the people.
We can afford this pantomime no longer. It is now obvious to all but the most obtuse and narrow-minded that we have, and have had for some time, some of the worst Ministers in charge of government departments, that anyone could imagine. Incompetent, driven by ego and ambition and very little if anything else; so badly unknown by the public generally, that the only people who can put names to Ministers and Ministers to departments are the political journos who see them and write about them every day.
On top of that, the system as it has been allowed to develop, also places in the hands of a Prime Minister the power to move these unknowns from department to department in “shuffles“. Sometimes caused by Ministerial resignations as with May recently, but more often in recent times, on what seems to us, a mere whim. MP’s who started out clueless as to what their jobs were supposed to involve, find themselves moved to other departments – equally clueless, but having to start again. What’s more, the movees are, again with few exceptions, most delighted to move.
And sometimes, appointments defy all logic and any explanation, even when we know who they are. Bozo as Foreign Secretary? Gove as Anything At All? What did they have on May that she had to make these idiotic moves? Some of Blair’s Ministers? Same thing. Who? Why?
And with vanishingly few exceptions – usually those who are lifted out of the House of Lords and not always then – not one Secterary of State or more minor Minister has had any experience whatever in the field in which he-she is expected to do stuff that matters.
So – enough of this. There is a much better way, and if you would be kind enough to wait for just a couple of weeks, you can get hold of my book, “The Party’s Over” in which I set out in some detail, two essential changes to the British way of Democracy and Government, as well as how they can happen, what the consequences would be, and when we need to get busy.
Two things: First, get a big majority of MP’s in the HOC elected as Independents, and bury the political parties. Second, adopt and adapt the US method whereby Secretaries of State and others in the Executive branch CANNOT BE members of Congress – either the House of Representatives or Senate. Have Chief Executives of the really important national Ministries (no more Ministers and no more Prime Anything) recruited by advertising, vetted by a Select Committee, appointed under contract, and fully answerable to Parliament.
I’ll stop there. Now I must complete that book. Stand by. You’ll be amazed that it will have taken so long for the ideas I propose, to surface. Or will you? The shackles that have bound the national British feet were strong, but now they are rusting and weakening. Break them!