Last night one Labour backbencher tweeted about how pleased he was that Ed Miliband was proposing to abolish the principle of elections for members of the Shadow Cabinet. It would, he said, allow Labour MPs to get on with the task of serious opposition rather than being distracted by democracy.
Which makes me wonder about the capability of some of our MPs. Is having an election every couple of years really that onerous and time consuming a task that it prevents those who would seek a place in the Shadow Cabinet from actually getting on with the job? Surely, putting in a good stint on the front bench would be the best bit of campaigning the Shadow Cabinet member could do if they wished to impress their colleagues. And for those not in the role already, I’m sure performing well as a challenging backbench MP would hardly damage their chances.
We may all be delighted to see democratic reforms spreading through the Arab world, but it seems they can be a damned inconvenience back home. If only old Hosni had thought of going on Egyptian television and making the case that he had important work to do running the country rather than stopping to hold those bloody inconvenient elections! Oh, what do you mean… he did precisely that!
We are told having elections causes disharmony, encourages cliques, costs too much, and now we are expected to believe it distracts from the job of being… a Member of Parliament! For a party that likes to describes itself as ‘democratic socialist’ it appears to be somewhat lukewarm on both fronts. I’ve long since given up on the notion of the party delivering socialism (Ed’s dad got that one right 50 years ago) and now the democracy bit is gradually disappearing too.