19 May 2010

A question of process

Once upon a time, the newspapers used to quote what politicians had said. Nowadays they quote what politicians are about to say. Hence this quote from Nick Clegg in The Independent:
Raising the coalition's sights, the Deputy Prime Minister will say: "I have spent my whole political life fighting to open up politics. So let me make one thing very clear: this government is going to be unlike any other.
"This government is going to transform our politics so the state has far less control over you, and you have far more control over the state. This government is going to break up concentrations of power and hand power back to people, because that is how we build a society that is fair. This government is going to persuade you to put your faith in politics once again."
Aye well. Treating parliament with disrespect by telling reporters in advance what you are going to say is hardly likely to persuade me to put my faith in politics once again. Government announcements should be made first of all to parliament. To do otherwise is not only an abuse of process but it demeans parliament itself. Why bother to pay attention to a parliamentary announcement when you can read it in advance?

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