Gary's News and views

Gary Streeter MP for South West Devon

Gary writes a weekly article which appears in the Plympton Plymstock and Ivybridge News in South West Devon. The articles are published here.


Thursday, 1 April 2010

This is the last column I shall write this side of the general election. We now expect the Prime Minister to slide into the back of his Daimler on the morning of 6th April to start the short trip to Buckingham Palace to seek a dissolution of Parliament.  I cannot imagine that Her Majesty will decline. The date for the general election will be finally announced, the worst kept secret of all time: 6th May 2010.
A few more days of haggling at Westminster will follow, negotiating over which bits of the current legislation will be permitted onto the statue book and then, probably over the weekend of the 10th/11th April the big guns will start to fire and the 2010 general election will be properly underway, with the formal dissolution of Parliament taking place on 12th. The phoney war is nearly over, the battle for Britain is about to begin!
It has not been a great Parliament, especially in the past 12 months. The good news is that the new expenses regime is clear and transparent and the unacceptable scandals that have savaged our reputation are unlikely ever to happen again.
Because of the record number of retirements, whoever wins the next election, there are likely to be over 200 new members coming into the House of Commons of 640, it could be as many as 300. If I am re-elected I will be a veteran! All this new blood and energy will help the Commons embrace more efficient working practices, suiting the mood of the nation. We must not throw out the baby with the bathwater, as for all its faults the Mother of Parliaments works as well as any in the world, but there are real improvements that need to be made so that the people you elect hold the executive to account.
At the last election only 61% of the 44 million people entitled to vote in this country actually did so. (In South West Devon constituency it was 68%). If the figure slips any lower there is a question mark over legitimacy. Please do not let your disillusion with the past year or so keep you at home on 6th May. If we allow a political vacuum to grow, it will be filled by something else, possibly something unpleasant. This has happened elsewhere in history and we dare not take our democracy, and the freedoms which flow from it, for granted.

posted by Gary @ 12:37