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Hero or villain? Bercow’s notoriety is a consequence of parliament’s crisis – not its cause | James Butler | Opinion | The Guardian
The Speaker’s rulings are a consequence, not a cause, of the political impasse – the unavoidable effect of a conflict between legislature and executive eagerly pursued by successive governments. Small majorities or minority governments – as much the result of a democratic process as the referendum – find their rebels empowered; if any such government treats parliament as a truculent inconvenience, it will find MPs ready to humble it. Bercow’s instinct to empower parliament is real and consistent – though he delights in making enemies – but his “constitutional vandalism” is unlikely to trouble any government with a majority. Whatever the tabloids claim, this government’s inability to win a vote is its fault, and its fault alone.

The competition to replace Bercow is already under way. Some candidates, such as Labour’s Chris Bryant, promise a return to procedural orthodoxy: umpire-like impartiality, slavish adherence to the rulebook. Yet it is hard to see how any candidate could avoid controversy in a restive, finely balanced parliament with an executive determined to test the limits of its power and a legislature impatient with abuse.

Brexit has seen the withering of many parliamentary delusions: the strictures of convention, the stability of the parties, the reliability of the “good chap” theory of office. Bercow’s pugnacious defence of the legislature is a boon, but he must realise that reform conducted solely through the Speaker’s chair also tests democratic legitimacy; such a realisation must be behind his embrace, in last night’s lecture, of a more codified constitutional settlement. As the legal case over prorogation waits to be heard by the supreme court next week, and the looming Brexit deadline leaves the government scrambling for political safety, Bercow’s final act remains yet to be played. It is certain to be a stormy one.
UK  politics  BercowJohn  HouseOfCommons  retirement  democracy  executive  legislature  Speaker  neutrality  accountability  MPs  reform  controversy  impartiality  dctagged  dc:creator=ButlerJames 
5 weeks ago by petej
EU leaders tell May to find Brexit consensus among MPs | Politics | The Guardian
Denmark’s prime minister, Lars Løkke Rasmussen, said the EU was being “as flexible as we can be. I think it is now up to the British to come together and create a kind of national consensus in order to tell us exactly what to do to get this through the British parliament.”

The prime minister of Luxembourg, Xavier Bettel, said the discussions with May had been an “honest exchange”.

“Theresa May is clear, but the fact is that Westminster is not that clear. So we know what Theresa wants, and she wants the best possible deal in Westminster, but the problem is the MPs in London,” he said.

“For internal political reasons some people want to gamble with the relations between the European Union and the UK for the future, and it is bad.”
UK  EU  Brexit  negotiations  withdrawalAgreement  backstop  MayTheresa  JunckerJean-Claude  Ireland  politics  Parliament  MPs 
december 2018 by petej
Why we stopped trusting elites | News | The Guardian
If a world where everyone has their own truth-tellers sounds dangerously like relativism, that’s because it is. But the roots of this new and often unsettling “regime of truth” don’t only lie with the rise of populism or the age of big data. Elites have largely failed to understand that this crisis is about trust rather than facts – which may be why they did not detect the rapid erosion of their own credibility.

Unless liberal institutions and their defenders are willing to reckon with their own inability to sustain trust, the events of the past decade will remain opaque to them. And unless those institutions can rediscover aspects of the original liberal impulse – to keep different domains of power separate, and put the disinterested pursuit of knowledge before the pursuit of profit – then the present trends will only intensify, and no quantity of facts will be sufficient to resist. Power and authority will accrue to a combination of decreasingly liberal states and digital platforms – interrupted only by the occasional outcry as whistles are blown and outrages exposed.
elites  representativeDemocracy  trust  politics  media  business  honesty  norms  authority  liberalism  technology  Internet  populism  lies  alienation  disillusionment  UKIP  MPs  expenses  wikileaks  phonehacking  MurdochRupert  Libor  finance  BBC  Tesco  Volkswagen  exposure  whistleblowing  FOI  BlairTony  transparency  Brexit  Leave  MetropolitanPolice  RobinsonTommy  conspiracyTheory  relativism  dctagged  dc:creator=DaviesWill 
november 2018 by petej

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