With another meaningless election looming, if anyone needs reminding what a pile of horseshit representative democracy is, consider the parliamentary proceedings of the 28th November when the Tenancies (Reform) Bill was subject to a filibuster* by Christopher Chope and Philip Davies to prevent it being voted on. Like a grotesque parody of BBC Radio’s ‘Just a minute’ game these two arseholes talked rubbish for hours deliberately running the bill out of time.
The Private members bill by Sarah Teather, the member for Brent, was intentionally narrow in scope, limited to preventing retaliatory evictions – Teather cited a tenant who was thrown out of her flat for reporting a collapsed ceiling and leaking drains.
Private members are M.P.s who are not ministers, and P.M.B.s are just about the only mechanism by which someone as far down the Westminster pecking order as the member for Brent could do anything their constituents might actually want. But not being on the government’s legislative agenda, these bills have no time allocated to them. 7 Fridays per year are dedicated to P.M.B.s chosen from a list by ballot, and the debate must be concluded by 2.30pm to reach a vote.
See how far removed the people are from the levers of power in a parliamentary system. Sarah Teather is a member of one of the governing parties, and had the tacit support of the minister for a proposal no one in their right mind could object to, yet the faceless bent landlords’ lobby can rent a couple of unscrupulous stooges to sink the whole thing. During her presentation Ms Teather gushed over how privileged she felt to have had her bill come up in the ballot at all. So even if an ‘honourable member’ appears on the face of it to mean well, they are on a hiding to nothing when the needs of real people conflict with the vested interests that run the show.
All 60 (out of 650) MPs present apart from Chope and Davies spoke in favour, expressing their disapproval of the filibuster by voting to close the debate and vote on the bill, however, with fewer than 100 members in the house this decision was not binding. The pair continued to shamelessly thumb their noses at their colleagues and constituents, the vast majority of whom will never own their homes outright, much less have a spare one to generate unearned income.
If you’re actually considering voting in the next election, it’s worth taking a look at the Hansard entry to see what these wankers get up to on our time, those of them that can be arsed to turn up that is. You need to skip to the second page to appreciate the level of childish waffle Chope and Davies resorted to, knowing full well that fewer than one in ten of your elected representatives could give a toss about your struggle to keep a habitable roof over your head.
Jim Fitzpatrick (for Poplar and Limehouse) had this to say:
I do not think it is fair to blame the hon. Gentleman who, with the hon. Member for Shipley (Philip Davies) and others, has been blocking one of my Bills for the past five Fridays. I respect their ability to do that.
Davies is a racist, misogynistic homophobe, paid advocate for the gambling and tobacco industries that proposed a reduction in the minimum wage for disabled people. His candidacy has the support of UKIP and his father Peter stood for the far-right English Democrats.
Soon these smug pricks are going to ask your consent to tell you what to do for the next five years. It beats me how anyone who considers themselves ‘left’ or ‘green’ or has any morals whatsoever could sit around playing these stupid games with them.
We believe in Direct Action, and it works, if you’ve been following this blog you’ll see we’ve notched up a few successes in recent weeks through people getting off their arses and onto the streets. But if your idea of D.A. involves a telephone or a keyboard, feel free to tell these despicable enemies of the people what you think of them; look we’ve done most of the work for you:
Tel: 01202 474949 Fax: 01202 475548
House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA
Tel: 020 7219 5808 Fax: 020 7219 6938 firstname.lastname@example.org
Davies: 76 Otley Road, Shipley, BD18 3SA
Tel: 01274 592248 email@example.com
House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA
*“a form of obstruction in a legislature or other decision-making body. The English term “filibuster” is derived from the Spanish filibustero, itself deriving originally from the Dutch vrijbuiter, “privateer, pirate, robber” (also the root of English “freebooter)”.