Sir Paul Judge took the meeting and in his opening speech told us that politicians are totally disconnected from the people and that, at present, less than 1% of the British people actually belong to a political party. In fact, Parliament has become an employment bureau for career politicians.
The Jury Team would like to see their representatives restricted to three terms of office. They would like to see a referendum called if requested by 5% of the people. At 60M people in Britain that would mean three million would need to request one. Not totally impossible through the Internet, but large enough to ensure that frivolous referendi would not be called.
Martin Bell told of the huge gap between the political class and the rest of the British citizenry and that the gap has to be closed if Parliament really wants to restore trust.
Philip Openheim spoke of the people’s anger, apparent everywhere he went, and that being a member of Parliament should be a vocation and not a career. Government and Opposition advisors had trebled since 1997 and did not help as our leaders lacked any depth of vision. He also said that having an unelected house of Lords just led to more and more corruption.
Eshter Ransom spoke next. She said she was not standing for the EU Parliament but was interested in standing for Luton South. She was horrified when she learned that Margaret Moran the sitting Labour MP took £23,000 of tax payers’ money to fix dry rot in her holiday home nowhere near Westminster or her constituency in Luton. In fact, it was on the coast near Southampton, and also when she learned that the Labour Party in Luton South are refusing to deselect her.
Esther is considering her position and will make an announcement next Tuesday. She says people deserve some home truths from their politicians but she had always been a floating voter and had never read a manifesto that she could totally agree with.
Another candidate, Rizi, was an ex Labour man but told us of his total disillusionment with the present system which he surmised was probably no different to the majority of the British public!
The last candidate, Nick, said that we needed more common sense and a breath of fresh air to cleanse the corridors of power. He believed, and so do I, that many MPs had never done a day’s “proper” work in their lives.
Richard Taylor MP, Independent Member of Parliament for Wye Forest, came out of a meeting a little later to talk to us and, when asked whether any of the talking in Parliament ever actually changed people’s minds, said that in the two terms he had served he only ever had one MP come up to him and say his argument on passive smoking did change his mind. Dr Taylor became an MP to save a hospital in his constituency from closure.
All in all, an interesting morning and I shall vote for any independent standing under the Jury Team‘s umbrella, no matter whether left or right of centre.