The election of a new Speaker of the House of Commons (being covered by many on-line sources, including Iain Dale and of course Twitter, shows just how much modernisation is required in our “mother of all Parliaments”. Each round of voting takes hours due to the continued reluctance to introduce electronic voting. The only candidate to speak of social media and outreaching to members of the public was Gloucester’s Parmjit Dhanda, for his efforts voted out in the first round.
Whoever is chosen – I fear Bercow, I would welcome Young – the first modernising priority would be to use all existing powers, and any others he or she could be given by Parliament – to ensure a general election is called before the year is out. This country has no trust in the institutions of democracy. The Speaker of the House of Commons is not a role with any relevance to many people in the country who have not forgotten – are not likely to forget – the expenses scandal.
Faith in the political process comes from real change, honesty, and accepting the need to renew rather than review – to press, if you like, fast-forward, not pause. The sensible way forward is to accept that this Parliament has been tainted for good, its reputation sullied. A new election is not just for the political anorak – it is for the good of the nation.