There’s something quite disconcerting about hearing that anyone involved in government is sacked merely for having an opinion that differs from the party line. The Brexit debate is currently dominated by the ping-pong between the Commons and the Lords over amendments that the Lords have requested.
The Lords dealt their second blow to the Article 50 Bill yesterday. Lord Heseltine was leading a rebellion against the current proposals – as he is perfectly entitled to do in the Lords – only to receive a crushing blow in return. Theresa May sacked him. Apparently he was leading the rebellion of himself and 12 other Tory peers against the current state of Article 50 and the Brexit debate.
Brexit Debate or Debacle?
I have no intention of delving into the details of that debate itself here – we have many other posts picking at other pieces of it – but more about Heseltine’s sacking, and what it says to me as a UK voter. And not that it was done so flippantly as he sat and ate dinner – as unaware of his fate as the teenage boy dumped by a single text and a change of Facebook status. It’s a political debacle.
Obviously many people have a problem with he house of Lords being unelected. Well, they have a problem with them until they do something in our favour, at least – such is the hypocrisy we have to live with in the UK. A bit like second or third generation migrants all getting together over a nice Indian curry, slurping German beers, bemoaning “all them immigrants…” – but that’s a whole other issue, too.
As a voter in the UK I have a good idea of how our democracy works. We vote for our local MP. The “first past the post” system then hands the power over to whichever party squeezes the “majority” of seats first – totally regardless of how many people voted for that party. That’s why we currently reside under the cosh of the Tories despite only having 25% of the electorate putting a tick in a Tory box.
The Lords…oh, we don’t vote for them.
But then I also didn’t vote for Theresa May, because we don’t get to make that kind of vote. Apparently it’s too complicated. The British public will be entrusted with making a drastic, flip-of-the-coin choice affecting the fate of the entire UK and future generations…but not for which leader should take us there. That’s only allowed to be decided behind closed doors. Some
And that is one of the reasons politicians are harder to trust, as they shuffle around all their closest cronies to suit their needs. It’s hard to suggest they are shuffled around for our needs because so few of them are qualified to hold such roles.
But the especially worrying thing is when the Prime Minister can spit out her dummy and sack an adviser just for disagreeing. I am sure she can do so, legally, but it smacks of dictatorship behaviour to shut up the opponents rather than engage with them and show the British public why the party line is correct. Sacking someone for rebelling against PM’s voice is something I expect to hear from North Korea: not from the democratic UK.
The democracy might be in place, it just doesn’t seem like democratic behaviour. It doesn’t seem decent. It doesn’t seem ethical. Places laws aside: it’s just wrong, and would not be tolerated in any good work place.
So for me at least, the Brexit debate has been left with a bitter taste by Heseltine’s sacking, and a rebellious part of me actually hopes he turns up the heat in the House of Lords.