Whipping in Parliament

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

In order to be a true democracy whipped voting cannot be tolerated and this shows that Britain is NOT a democracy whatever it may wish to claim.

rg-cartoon-1cIf members of parliament are compelled by the leaders of their party as to how the MUST vote – as they are in most cases – then that is totally against the letter and the spirit of democracy.

Parliamentarians who are not able to vote as their consciences dictate or in line with the wishes of their constituents cannot be regarded as representatives of the people. They are but puppets who have their strings bulled by their political masters.

True representatives of the people must be free to vote as their consciences dictate and as their electorate wishes and expects them to and not toeing the “party line”. This is not democracy. No more than women's only lists or trade union board members “elected unopposed” on ballot papers which members cannot vote for or against.

Britain, which claims to be the mother of modern democracy is, as far as I am aware one of only a handful of countries (give or take a country or two) where parliamentary whips exist. Others are those that took, by “virtue” of having once been part of the Empire, the British system.

While the British legal system of “common law” is by far superior to that of the rest of Europe of “Roman law” the political system stinks and that to high heaven, especially the parliamentary whip thing.

The British parliamentary system, as venerated as it may be, is not the be all and end all despite of what we are being told and taught. It is, in fact, rather deeply flawed with its “first past the post” system and the fact that, in most cases, Members of Parliament are made – actually forced to – vote as they are told by their part whips.

One could argue that the very system of political parties is one that causes problems not allowing parliamentarians a free vote and that, even though being used almost everywhere (the system of parties not of whips), the system needs abolishing and replacing with independent and freely elected members of a parliament. And this would make yet for another argument namely that for a tribal system with the “heads” of the clans and tribes forming the parliament.

But who will then be president, or prime minister? If one still wants to play with the nation state even then it should be possible for those “parliamentarians” to elect a “speaker” and “deputy speaker” from within their own ranks and that only on merit.

To say that the party system has served us well we most certainly cannot. It has caused divisions in the same way as denominations and sects have done in Christianity, Islam and even Judaism and Hinduism and often has led to internal strife and civil war.

A president or prime minister (as long as we still have the party system) should also not automatically be the leader of the victorious party in an election regardless. That post should be dependent on merit, as already said, and that is where almost all political systems the world over are flawed. And party loyalty also, in general, leads to voting, in the majority, whip or no whip, of parliamentarians along party lines, and, more often than not also to the fear that if they do not vote with the party that they may lose their positions or parliamentary privileges.

This very fear of losing position and such is also the reason why, even if no party whip or similar exists, the voting will almost always be in favor of what the party and its leader wishes to achieve and thus the system needs changing, including the abolition of the nation state itself.

We don't need a new government; we need a new system.

© 2013