May 18

Parliament of spivs; Prince of good sense

In the middle of what we are told is the biggest global financial crisis since the depression, the Federal Parliament has  agreed to increase the politicians' electoral allowance by 17%. ( The MP is under no obligation to return any surplus to the Treasury.)

A fortune is being spent in Africa to acquire votes for a temporary Security Council seat, and massive funds spent on overseas travel, with some say the ultimate aim of making our leader the UN Secretary General.(Andrew Bolt, Herald Sun, 15/5)

   

By releasing the ministers' record travel bill just for last winter while the Treasurer was delivering the budget, the government hoped to escape scrutiny. (This tactic proved far too clever; it ensured the story appeared on the front page of the nation's highest circulating newspaper, the Sunday Telegraph (17/5).) 

In addition the vast sums extracted from the taxpayers to pay for campaigns to secure the re-election of our politicians have been increased.

And although the Treasurer has decreed that our children will now have to work until they are 67, this will not apply to the politicians  generous, mainly taxpayer funded pensions.

Notwithstanding this, the heading “Parliament of spivs; prince of good sense” is not about our Federal Parliament.

However it is about our Prince. He is the Prince, readers may recall, whose succession our republican politicians now believe will be the silver bullet  which will finally deliver into their grasping hands a  politicians’ republic.

  

…contempt for politicans unrivalled in living memory….

This heading is in fact from two consecutive editorials in The Spectator (16/5). They are not about our trusty and well beloved Federal  Parliament. They are about her dear mother, the mother of all parliaments, who sadly in  old age has sunk into the depths of depravity.

As The Spectator says, the expenses scandal means that the British nation now beholds Parliament with a collective contempt unrivalled in living memory.  Harsh words indeed, but entirely appropriate.

We need, says the editor, a modern-day Trollope to do justice to this wave of revulsion, triggered by the remarkable revelations in the London Daily Telegraph.   

“Gilbert Burnet, the great ecclesiastical and political historian of his time, wrote of the corrupt MPs elected in 1710 that ‘this is the worst Parliament I ever saw’.

It was not always like this. Thirty years ago, Lady Thatcher decided she di not like the colour of the walls at 10 Downing Street, and ordered it redecorated. But as Fraser Nelson says, she paid for this herself.

How different it is now. As the editor rightly observes, the Palace of Westminster is home not to an ancient institution but to a disgraced rabble of second-rate spivs who have dishonoured the public trust as flagrantly as they have raided the public purse. 

This has extended even to the once venerable House of Lords, an institution so debauched by Mr. Blair in his alleged constitutional reforms and by some of the appointments he made. 

How wise our Founding Fathers were when they removed the ultimate control of the Australian constitution from the politicians and vested it in the people.

…not every part of our constitution is faltering….

”But says The Spectator, at a moment of such alarming disconnection between the political class and the electorate, “it is cheering to be reminded that not every part of our constitution is faltering, or at odds with the grain of public opinion.”

The editorial refers to a recent visit by the Prince of Wales to the Royal Institute of British Architects. This was 25 years after his famous description of the proposed National Gallery extension as a ‘monstrous carbuncle on the face of a much-loved and elegant friend’.

As The Spectator observes, The Prince was mocked as a fogey and a reactionary. Some unethical journalists have long tried  to reinforce this caricature.

“But his cry from the heart against the vandalism wrought by modern architecture proved to be the act of a popular tribune — not least because it reflected common sense as opposed to Corbusian delusion,”  says the editor.

Viewed from Australia,  you would think The Royal Institute has more reason than its Australian counterpart to change its name, or to engage in the uncomfortable and indeed impossible practice of trying to walk on both sides of the street as the Australian one does so badly. (“The Royal Australian Institute of Architects has a bet each way,” 30 August 2008 )

But it has not. The Royal Institute of British Architects it is and The Royal Institute of British Architects it will remain. How commendable.

…the constitutional monarchy in good health….

And as The Spectator says, the Prince came to The Royal Institute in the spirit of friendship rather than to gloat, but — quite rightly — stood his ground.

He remains implacably opposed to the ‘brutal destruction’ of so many British townscapes and the way in which ‘much of the urban realm [became] …de-personalised and defaced’.

This was a spirited and sensible intervention by the Prince, observed the Spectator.

“With Parliament effectively AWOL as it sorts out its affairs, it is good to know that our constitutional monarchy is still in such good health.”

This is  an opinion with which the great majority of rank and file Australians will heartily concur. 

The republicans who think his succession will deliver them their politicians' republic have yet another moment of truth to endure. 

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