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Monday, July 14, 2014

Politics, politics

To Julia's frustration, I have been rather a fan of Parliamentary Question Time ever since Parliament in the UK began to appear on television. Of course it has, sadly, nothing to do with serious politics - which is a pity, because it was designed to hold the Government to account by giving the opposition the opportunity to question the Government  ministers without notice on as many awkward questions as could be thought up. I think before radio and TV was allowed into the British House of Commons, this probably happened; but the moment MPs realized that 'the country' was listening, the rot set in, and now - and it is as bad in Australia as it was and is in the UK - Opposition questions are never properly answered, and questions from Government MPs are carefully 'placed' - handed out in fact by Ministers to ordinary MPs who are expected to read them from the slips of paper: today, every single question asked by Government Members had a line in them about 'the world's largest carbon tax' (actually a questionable statement) making it absolutely crystal clear that they were not genuine questions, but were supplied in order to allow the Ministers the opportunity to give little speeches  attacking the Opposition's record when in Government. In short, the whole operation is a waste of time - except that, rather like American style all-in wrestling, it does provide a spectacle of mindless and 'fixed' antagonism which I enjoy it rather as I enjoy watching the wrestling, slightly ashamed of myself for doing so. Is there such a thing in America, in the Senate? I rather hope not - though doubtless if there is, it is used for political purposes in much the same way.

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