Stop whispering, start shouting

Susan Delacourt considers yesterday’s disturbance in the House.

I was initially taken aback by the demonstration today — thinking “you can’t do that” in the Commons. But I’m thinking that they’ve done us a favour.

There is no more respect among rivals in the Commons. There is no advantage for any politician to demonstrate respect or show civility or act as part of the institution … So why wouldn’t members of the public, in the public galleries, decide to join in the  mayhem? The point of parliamentary privilege is that it has to be earned. Rather than punish the protesters, I think I’d argue that all the participants in the Commons have lost their privileges, because the foundation of respect is gone.




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Stop whispering, start shouting

  1. What better way to get the attention of the bozos in the House than to shout louder than they do in QP every day. Whether or not you agree with their views, they deserve some credit for letting MPs hear what they sound like.

  2. It's worth noting that while disruptive, the protesters didn't engage in childish heckling, or needless smears directed toward individual members (at least in the clips I heard). Which makes them mildly more mature than the clowns below.

  3. Crazy lefties…no manners.

    • When in Rome….

  4. Manners is now a political issue?

  5. Has anyone ever streaked inside the House? Just curious….

  6. Does naked ambition count?

    • Or being caught with your pants down?

      • You mean someone has boinked in the house, or otherwise been pleasured?

  7. Well… I rather liked the protests by the hunter folks in England a year or two back, so it'd be hypocritical of me to denounce the enviro-lefties.

    I say, disruption is fine, as long as they just make a splash and then get kicked out.

    If they actually shut down Parliament for any great length of time, I'd be very upset.

    ***

    Taking away parliamentary privilege would be dangerous — you should be able to raise issues in chambers without the threat of libel or slander suits.

    Just look at how they're used in Singapore against opposition leaders.

    And also — you know who would immediately start using lawsuits as weapons? My guys, the Conservatives. (Sorry, but you know it's true. And the Liberals would, too — if you've noticed the litigious habits of some of their war-room people.)

    No, privilege needs to stay.

  8. love the hed. pop critic days showing through?

    • Listening to Pablo Honey is so painful.

  9. I don't think their privileges are the kind we automatically think of – entitlements or special perks. I think they are meant to be the protection they need to preserve independence from outside interference in their work. So they can't be sued for exercising their free speech and they can't be obstructed from or intimidated for doing their work.

    From the House of Commons website: "In my view, parliamentary privilege does not go much beyond the right of free speech in the House of Commons and the right of a member to discharge his duties in the House as a member of the House of Commons."

  10. Good management involves setting a good tone and example for your underlings.

    We (the public) ought to be doing this for our underlings (the MPs), not descending to their level of idiocy.

    • Side A: I'm not saying you're wrong, but how? Esconced within their little Parliamentary bubble, they don't see us all going to work and taking care while there to not act like obnoxious jerks toward our co-workers, or sitting at our computers (on our own time, of course), treating even those we disagree with with consideration and respect.*

      *Ahem.

      Side B: Has anyone got a boss who mostly stays out of the way, but every now and then shows up in their actual workplace, just to remind everyone that there is indeed a boss, and that boss is more aware of what's going on than he or she is given credit for?

    • Unfortunately our options for dealing with our employees are quite limited, the inmates run the asylum.

    • "We (the public) ought to be doing this for our employees (the MPs), not descending to their level of idiocy. "

      You tell 'em, Miss Manners.

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