The Nasty Side of Politics

There is very little I detest more in politics than elected officials who “abstain,” don’t vote at all, or just plain do not show up. It happens, I suspect, in every country that allows it – the US and UK are not unique in this respect – but that does nothing to reduce my indignation when it occurs.

What happened, you may ask? Well before I launch into it, we’ll need so background information. So let’s talk about parliament for a moment; Parliament consists of two houses: the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

The House of Commons consists of 650 members of Parliament – this is important to note because yesterday they had the second reading and debate of the Immigration Bill in which:

303 people voted yes (“aye”) and 18 people voted no. Meaning a blooming: 329 PEOPLE ABSTAINED FROM VOTING.

Which sends the Immigration Bill and all of its vile and despicable glory to the House of Lords to debate next.

I, along with others, managed to speak on Twitter to one such individual (I’m looking at you Karl Turner) who said they would abstain.  This is what he had to say:

Screen Shot 2013-10-23 at 13.51.36

Let’s make this clear: if I am reading this right, he’s basically saying that he’s refusing to do the job he was elected to do; the same job that he gets paid £66,000 per year PLUS expenses… why? Because the House of Lords, of course, will do it for him. Because it’s perfectly acceptable to play hot-potato with the lives and livelihoods of the “common man.” And what happens if they DON’T kick it back? Well gee…

Screen Shot 2013-10-23 at 13.51.56

For some reason, he seems to have missed my question related to his, which I’ve had to piece in below. I’ll just assume it got lost somewhere in delivery.

Screen Shot 2013-10-23 at 13.59.52

Ignoring that, to answer the other fellow’s question, what is his reply? Let’s see that again; you know, just to make sure we didn’t miss it.

Screen Shot 2013-10-23 at 13.52.10

I am not impressed. “Ask them” is not an appropriate answer. When you are addressing the public, they deserve an answer better than the copout of total responsibility. Yes, Mr. Karl Turner, Labour MP of East Hull, Yorkshire, I’m sure that a great many of your constituents will be asking themselves that very question the next time they are voting.

Because let’s be honest: if they didn’t want someone to represent them in Parliament, if they didn’t want someone to vote at all, they would have saved their money and not bothered to elect anyone in the first place.

And this is why abstaining/refusing to vote irritates me. Instead of voting, this is basically giving what is akin to silent approval of everything this bill is, and for all that it represents.

But don’t think that the Labour Party is the only party I have a bone to pick. Thus far, only three parties I have seen have made any kind of real stand against the current government’s anti-immigration, racist, rhetoric: The Green Party, Plaid Cymru and The Scottish National Party.

All others have either been completely silent (again, approval by lack-of-protest), or minimal token members speaking out only (these can be observed in the transcripts shown above on the second reading of the Immigration bill).

So what are we going to do about it? We need to make ourselves heard, again and again until they cease denying that they can hear us. I encourage everyone to write to their MPs as I have done and to sign as many protests against the bill as you can find (here’s one to start with). Those among us who are directly effected by the changes, I urge you to come forward and share your stories with Britcits, with your local anti-discrimination groups (there are a bit too many for me to list – you’re going to need to google-fu it) and by contacting the media.

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