For the people, by the people … accountable to the people

So, one of the fall outs from the coalition’s decision to send aid to help the Yahzidis in Iraq is the spectre of Britain becoming embroiled in the third Iraqi conflict in recent history.  Questions have already been raised about whether Parliament should be recalled to sit on the matter of whether Britain should send in fighting forces A recall of Parliament now looks even more likely.

The mess that is Mesopotamia or, more particularly, ISIS’s scourge on that region has been linked to inaction by the West over the Assad regime in Syria; by not supporting the rebels in overthrowing Assad, ISIS were able to move in instead and, once emboldened by their action, decided to run an opportunistic campaign of genocide, rape, and a litany of further heinous crimes Hillary Clinton: ‘Failure’ to Help Syrian Rebels Led to the Rise of ISIS.  Some are blaming inaction in Syria on politicians listening to a vocal minority Opinion polls should be the last thing on MPs’ minds now but have politicians sewn the seeds of their own interference?

“One of the most unedifying things about the decision that Parliament took almost a year ago on action against President Assad was that MPs seemed to be giving serious consideration to tweets and letters they’d received from constituents. … We elect our MPs to be better informed than us, to understand the complexities of foreign policy or of the banking system and the energy market so that we can usefully deploy our labour elsewhere.”

Whilst I agree with the sentiment, we should have a right to expect that our politicians are better informed than us and that they will be in a better position to make better judgements over what is in our best interest, the problem is that politicians have continually shown that they are more concerned with their own greed and self-interest.  Innumerable expenses scandals and other incidents of financial impropriety, where those guilty have avoided criminal prosecutions because they enjoy ‘Parliamentary privilege’, have weakened pubic trust in our political class to act in any other than their own best interests.  Far too often we have seen incidents of cronyism, where the friends of ministers who are responsible for the allocation of tax payers money become the recipients of lucrative contracts, or incidents like the recent Post Office sell off, where an estimated £1billion was given away to the City from taxpayers pockets.  Then there are the criminal acts beyond the financial, Huhne and Ruffley amongst them.

Time and again, ministers demonstrate that they are in it for what they can get out of it, believing they are beyond the law or the spirit of the law, and the public have the lowest of regards for their ability to act responsibly or with better judgement than they can make themselves.  So, yes, politicians should be acting from more informed positions and making judgements based on the broadest of our best interests and ignoring a vocal minority if that does not represent the best actions that we should be taking but they also need to start earning that responsibility.  Accountability appears to be the watchword for the rest of the public sector but there appears to be a severe lack of accountability for politicians.


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