More change for change’s sake

LIBERAL MP, St Norman of Lewes, was, of course, one of the first to sign up to the latest chattering classes obsession – the oath that MPs have to swear when we’re elected.

Spying an opportunity for some publicity, he’s supporting a new oath of allegiance – to an MP’s constituents rather than to the Queen. No-one could argue with that, of course, and if they did they would be accused of putting monarch before their own constituents.

But I’ll argue against it anyway.

As far as I know (and if readers can help out with additional information, that would be useful), it’s pretty much the norm for members of national legislatures to swear some kind of oath to the nation, be that in the form of the constitution, the people, the head of state or the monarch.

Does St Norman really believe there’s any kind of contradiction in swearing loyalty to the Queen and serving your constituents? If he does, why has he made the oath at all in the past? I certainly wouldn’t if I thought for one second it would compromise my commitment to the people who elected me.

This campaign is perfect, though: it’s meaningless, it’s happening during the silly season and therefore likely to be picked up by the media (and blogs), and it promotes change for its own sake – not change to improve anything, just change. And that must be good, surely…?

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11 Comments

Filed under LibDems, Media, Norman Baker, Parliament

11 responses to “More change for change’s sake

  1. No.
    For one thing, what is so wrong with the chattering classes giving a damn that our democracy means something and questioning tradition? Yes, the intelligentsia unite around certain issues sometimes that most don’t care about. That doesn’t make their ideas unwarranted and without merit.
    For another, personally, I have since joining the cubs always baulked at any swearing in which invoked god or any religion and I think that removing the Christian elements of this oath would be a positive move to help acknowledge the plurality of belief and disbelief that British citizens have.
    If we can introduce a citizenship test, then I think we should at least be able to countenance debate on changing the oath MPs take.

  2. Patchouli

    “That on becoming a British citizen I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, her heirs and successors according to law…”

    MPs doing God Syndrome again, I see.

    “…not change to improve anything, just change.”

    What, like changing PMs half-way through a term?

  3. Alex: “…removing the Christian elements of this oath would be a positive move…”

    That happened years ago. MPs can “affirm” instead of swearing if they wish.

  4. Stu

    I’d far rather MPs took an oath to carry out their manifesto promises to the best of their ability. There’s no system by which politicians can be held to their pre-election promises (until the next election 5 years later), and that would be change for the better.

    Is change for change’s sake still change we can believe in?

    On a lighter note, try my Where’s Gordo challenge! (Sorry, I know. Self promotion is rude. I can’t help it, though…)

  5. Madasafish

    Tom
    I agree 100% (is this a record? 🙂

    But as the man is a LibDem what can one expect? Obviously not commonsense:-)

  6. Doug

    I would be happier if we got rid of the queen and her family of wasters. Swearing allegiance to country is fine but not to the monarchy. I could go on. But I will not because you know my arguments!

  7. Johnny Norfolk

    I agree with you Tom. but parties like yours dont keep manifesto pledges so it must mean little to you.

  8. Chris Gale

    This is the 21st Century and why would anyone want to swear allegiance to a bunch of pampered nasty minded aristocrats we should have been got rid of a long time ago?
    They are sadists who get kicks from killing wild animals for entertainment.
    Its time Westminster shook off all the nonsense of monarchy and 19th Century claptrap.

  9. Auntie Flo'

    I totally agree with you. To those who object to oaths involving God: as I understand it MPs do not have to refer to God in their oath.

  10. Auntie Flo'

    No more change for change’s sake – or for money making scams – could also be said of road pricing and fortnightly bin collection.

    On fortnightly bin collections, I find it deeply disturbing that former government minister, Hilary Armstrong, has been revealed to have taken up a job with SITA.

    The shadow local government spokesman Eric Pickles has rightly said of this:

    ‘As a minister for local government and for the Cabinet Office, Hilary Armstrong has been deeply involved in creating the financial and regulatory climate for fortnightly rubbish collections.

    ‘Now she has sold out to one of Europe’s biggest bin barons, helping the waste industry peddle Gordon Brown’s plans for new bin taxes.

    Miss Armstrong, MP for Durham North West, said last night her job as chairman of SITA’s advisory committee had been vetted and approved by the independent advisory committee on business appointments, the body that scrutinises-private sector posts taken by former ministers….

    She refused to say how much she was being paid in her new job.

    How disgusting.

    And how long before it emerges that a former government minister has signed up as an advisor to one of the satelite road pricing companies?

  11. Zim Flyer

    I totally agree, the reason we have the oath is that it allows MP’s to be both loyal to the Crown and with it the Government of the day, thus freeing them up to legally oppose that said Government without fear of being accused of treason.

    If only the people who want to change the oath actually understand the reasons why it’s there and I totally agree this really is change for changes sake and has little support from the majority of people in this country.

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