By Max Bartie
I COULDN’T believe my eyes!
The headline read ‘Parliament may close for 5 years’. Magnificent, I thought.
No more putting up with the kindergarten of the House of Commons, no more frustration with the geriatric House of Lords.
Politics absent from the front pages for half a decade – what a wonderful thought! Unfortunately my joy was short-lived.
It transpired that the Houses of Parliament are crumbling and rat infested – rodents not politicians – and plans are afoot to refurbish or rebuild.
However, it occurs to me that a five-year holiday from the current shambles might be considerably beneficial to NSGB.
Just think about it.
There are currently around 650 MPs in the Commons and more than 800 members of the Lords (including, for no good reason, 25 bishops).
Add on support staff, researchers, security, administration, catering, cleaning, etc. and you have a community half the size of Milton Keynes doing nothing much for most of the time and, when they do manage to do something, usually doing it wrong.
Get rid of the lot of them and install a benevolent dictator with a small retinue of specialist experts from the business world (financial, legal, environmental, etc.) and you would not only get the country back up and running efficiently, you might just save a quid while you were at it.
No more expenses frauds, no more quangos, no more expensive consultants, no more dummy-spitting arguments between the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition.
After four and a half years political parties would be permitted to put forward manifestos and candidates for election to a new parliament.
Probably no more than 100 MPs all of whom must demonstrate at least 20 years successful business experience.
Forget the House of Lords and especially the bishops.
Streamline the whole set-up and run the country like a business.
The dictator will have taken all the difficult decisions and if he or she has half a brain will have put right most of the wrongs that have been allowed to fester for the last hundred years.
I might even apply for the job myself.
Try as I might, I can ignore Julian Assange no longer.
When it comes to self-publicising narcissists I always try to take as little notice as is humanly possible in the hope that they will go away to somewhere distant – a swamp in northern Australia comes to mind – and inflict themselves upon some other life form.
On reflection, in the case of Assange, it would mean returning to a homeland that is showing distinct signs of rejection.
News media in general highlight Assange’s fear of extradition to the Disunited States of America where he could be tried for anything from high treason to jaywalking.
In this particular instance I suspect that even the latter offence may attract the death penalty.
However, the real issue is the sexual offences allegedly committed in Sweden – a matter that Assange is equally reluctant to defend in person.
The latest episode in this tawdry tale reveals that Assange has sought and has been granted political asylum in the London embassy of Ecuador (evidently a small South American republic with a penchant for bananas).
Of course, the fact that the Ecuadorian president, one Rafael Vicente Correa, also happens to be an America-hating self-publicist had nothing to do with the rapid decision to clutch Assange to his political bosom.
The sad thing is that this story is likely to run for another year. As far as I am concerned, the only good that has emerged from this sordid saga is that Assange’s society friends who put up around €300,000 to fund his bail have lost their dough.