The Phoenix bird of Egyptian mythology rose many times with youthful freshness from the ashes of its own self-destruction . Do you think that Parliament might also achieve this emblem of resurrection? If not, it won’t be for want of trying.
Certainly, never has Parliament reached such levels of disrepute but neither have there ever been so many efforts to recover. We have had independent enquiries, reports, committees, sub-committees, police investigations and finally cases referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions. The cynical amongst you may feel that nothing much has changed or will change. I think this is quite wrong.
The temptation is to make a clean sweep – to get rid of everything that offends, to get back to basics (whatever this means), to punish the recalcitrant . In other words to have radical and fundamental change. Much of this is fuelled by the media which is tasked with holding governments and all its institutions to account but which, one hopes, is also fair and balanced. To my certain knowledge the press have deliberately (by which I mean in spite of irrefutable information to the contrary) chosen to villify individuals and to err on the side of salacious reporting thus ignoring some of the attempts outlined above to reform Parliament.
Radical reform precisely because its effects cannot be guaranteed is a risky business. The UK Constitution has progressed over hundreds of years incorporating bit by bit ever more democratic practices in terms of legislation and its execution. This is what is happening now and the eventual effect will very probably be profound.
I wonder if there is a section of the public that recognises the need for gradual and doable reform and perhaps sees that this is what the parliamentary authorities are trying to achieve?