Thursday, 1 October 2009

Witty bits from what I learned in the UK (11) [Vorbe de duh din ce am învăţat în UK]

I don’t know how true the next statement is, but I’ve been planning to write something on this issue ever since I heard that the House of Commons has only 450 seats in the debate chamber, although there are currently 646 mandates. Therefore, first and foremost, I humbly ask my readers to confirm as plain truth or deny as malicious myth the above piece of information. I didn’t find supporting evidence online, nor did I – to my shame! :-( – use the opportunity to verify this when I had the chance (as Chevening Fellow).

Taking the risk of this episode being rather a ‘silly bit’ than a ‘witty bit’, in case that the above information is false, I’ve still got another serious aspect to refer to. The total number of Members of Parliament (MPs) in the UK is absolutely huge, when compared to all ‘big democracies’ of the world, whilst being the greatest in the EU!

With a population of 309 million people in 2009, the USA has a Congress made up of 435 representatives, and 100 senators (+ 1, the Vicepresident).

All members of the House of Representatives are changed every two years, and a third of senators are changed every three years (although a senator stays six years in office), I personally believe it’s a pretty good parliamentary system.

Undeniably, there are voices complaining that today’s American citizens are underrepresented in their Congress, but what could the Indians say then?! There are only 802 (552 + 250) MPs elected to the Parliament of India, for a population of 1,198 billion people.

Well, if you asked Britons about their confidence in Parliament, I’m sure you’d get many people saying they feel ‘unrepresented’. Nevertheless, the figures would disagree with them, as merely feeling unrepresented cannot deny the fact that the Brits are better represented than other (most?!) nations of the world.

There are 646 MPs in the House of Commons + 757 (unelected!!!) members of the House of Lords. This makes a total of 1,403 parliamentarians having a great time on the recession stricken taxpayers’ expense :-(

I find it useless to add any of my comments, as long as I can quote some data, illustrating that there are considerably more MPs in the UK than in any other ‘big democracy’ of the EU. For instance, in Germany, the Bundestag has only 611 members, not 646 like the House of Commons!

Moreover, there are only 69 unelected members in Germany’s Bundersrat, a federal council with some (but not all!) characteristics of an upper house. In the UK’s House of Lords, there’s no limitation on the number of peers who can be part of it!

Let us not forget that Germany’s population is 82,1 million, not 61,1 million like the population of the UK. This means that there is one MP for every 121,000 German citizens, while one British MP (at least theoretically) ‘represents’ 43,500 inhabitans.

[For all the episodes of this series, and all the posts on this blog go to/Pentru toate episoadele din această serie şi toate postările de pe acest blog mergi la: Contents/Cuprins]


Gregor said...

Interesting piece Bogdan, I did not know we had so many MPs comparative to other nations.

As for the House of Lords though, I do often agree with them, even if they are unelected. For example they stopped a 'religious hatred' bill which was largely aimed at stopping criticism of Islam.

Of course, the whole 'election' thing is someone being paid by the state to say they'll represent people even though they have no way of knowing (and I suspect little interest in knowing) what most of their electorate think.

Take my MP who I write to occasionally and who generally ignores my messages. One issue I write about is the bigotry towards Russia his party has shown and yet he ignores this. I cannot think that there are many people in his constituency (of about 30,000) who write about this issue but he is told what to say by his party. So if out of 30,000 people someone disagrees with his party, it is pretty obvious what he will say.

His party is the third biggest in Britain et it has no chance of changing things. Occasionally they will come up with a popular idea that will be stolen by another party, but that is as far as their influence goes.

Now the EU has decided that Georgia was to blame for provoking war with Russia. All major political parties in Britain raced to lick Saakashvilli's feet at the time at risk of being seen as 'appeasers'. Now they would look stupid if enough Brits cared.

And then of course there is the spectacle of Tony Blair who lied to get the country into the Iraq war (and even if this war was a resounding success I would still think he should be arrested for lying). Now he is making 1/2 a million dollars for every speech he makes in America.

The moral of the story is, you can betray an electorate of 60,000,000 for a handful of wealthy foreigners and your interest will be looked after.

Your tag is correct Bogdan: democracy is a hoax.

MunteanUK said...

Dear Gregor,

Due to time constraints only (otherwise you know I'd like to write more :-), here are some brief remarks from my part:

1) Check from any sources you like: Britain has 'one of the biggest' (maybe THE GREATEST) numbers of parliamentarians in the world. Only China has some 3,000 representatives who gather once a year, but that's not really a 'parliament', is it?


2) I agree that the House of Lords issued many common sense decisions, and that's undoubtedly a 'big plus' for them. However, don't you think such a chamber is a bit outdated? What part of contemporary Britain do they represent?


3) Sadly, most MPs in European countries have the same attitude, of being utterly uninterested in what their voters believe.

You may be skeptical of my example, but I do believe that American congressmen are more 'in touch' with voters. This probably happens also in countries like Denmark, Norway, Switzerland or 'lilliputian' ones like Malta, and Luxembourg.


4) It was really funny to witness Brussels acknowledging the fact that the 'hero of democracy' was actually the 'guilty party' in last year's conflict with Russia.

However, appart from yourself and a bunch of other intelligent people, who really cares of that in the UK? Britain was AGAIN on the 'wrong side' but I'm sure many people in your country still believe they must be always right.


5) But what about the latest 'catasthrophic' piece of news, my friend? Could you imagine Tony Blair as the 'first president of the EU'?

Just how credible is he? Greedy, sleazy, dishonest, warmonger, abortionist, and... Catholic?! We should not 'judge' him as a human being, but is him what the EU 'deserves'?

Gregor said...

Dear Bogdan

I was not disputing what you said, only saying I didn't know that we had such high per capita representation.

As for America, I'm not so sure. It seems that Americans will claim to hate the Democrats/ Republicans, but they elect practically identical parties. When someone offers genuine change like Ron Paul, Pat Buchanan or Ralph Nader, they end up getting 1-2% of the vote (incidentally I do not think that Obama will really achieve the changes he wants).

As for House of Lords; sadly Bogdan they seem the last bastion against 'political correctness' totalitarianism.

With Georgia, as I said, it is this irritating British obsession with WWII- everything is Hitler V Chamberlain.

Yes indeed, Tony Bliar, getting in line for EU president is very sad. Maybe I was naive giving Sarko the benefit of the doubt for making pro-Christian comments: seems he's in line with the Atlanticists anyway. Probably they are all masons, or whoever it is that's running the world.

MunteanUK said...

Dear friend,

I knew you are not 'disputing' my figures; I only wanted to emphasize the fact that you can check from many sources and witness that your country may well be the one with most parliamentaries in the world.

Too bad that the average voter gets no benefit from this high per capita representation, as you illustrated in your example with the MP in your constituency.

I agree that Americans end up electing presidents from the same 'pool of choice', previously approved by by the 'masters' of this world. But there's still a bit more diversity in choosing their MPs. At least they can change their Representatives after two years, not five years, like it's the case in Britain!

It's quite unlike that Obama will ever put into practice the 'changes' he preached. I don't belief his 'crocodile tears' for America's poor, I don't believe that he's much 'different' from the political establishment he promised to change.

Did you know who was his choice for Ambassador to Romania? Mark H. Gitenstein - a former lobbyist for Lockheed Martin. Is it a coincidence that Romania has been lured with an offer of F-16s for the past years?

This Obama has got no strong beliefs in anything, he's no 'genius' as the media often portrayed him, neither such a 'good speaker'. He is an extremely ambitious man (like Sarkozy) but nothing more.

Ambition can only lead to relatively 'benign' leaders (V. Putin, A. Pinochet, A. Salazar, F. Franco), whose 'good parts' outnumber the 'bad ones'. But it can also lead to catastrophic moments in history (A. Hitler, I.V. Stalin, Pol Pot).

I hope that Obama won't be more than another ambitious ruler - able to impose martial law in the US, if given the opportunity - but nothing more. The way I saw him at a rally in Iowa (Sept 2007) didn't offer me any reason to 'fear' that he'd turn into a calamity for mankind.

What worries me is that all the PR & marketing techniques used to promote the 'Obama brand' are some kind of 'rehearsal' for the 'great leader' of tomorrow... Big Brother, Antichrist.

Let's hope that Tony 'Bliar' won't get the chance to be 'leading' (albeit rather ceremoniously, like the President of Germany I guess)the EU.

Anyway, dark clouds gather on the horizon for Britain... after T. Bliar, you now have sunked deeper under G. Clown, and I don't know if any miraculous resurrection would be possible under someone who I see as D. Chameleon. :-(

Gregor said...

'What worries me is that all the PR & marketing techniques used to promote the 'Obama brand' are some kind of 'rehearsal' for the 'great leader' of tomorrow... Big Brother, Antichrist.'

And now he's won the Nobel prize after a few months in office?!

He seems a likable enough guy and I support some of his ideas (like universal healthcare) but doubt if he'll achieve it.

As for our friend Tony, I see that Berlusconi supports his EU presidency bid, which says it all really.

It is true that things do not look good for Britain's future. Still, only God knows what is in store...

MunteanUK said...

I must be honest and admit that I couldn't have anticipated that the 'global farce' around this 'global president' would ever go as far as to give him the Nobel Prize. :-(

At one point today, I was hoping that he'd have the decency to refuse the prize, but how can a person with such an inflated ego be 'decent'?!?!?!

'They' (I let you, Gregor, and my other readers imagine who these people are!) hurried to give him this undeserved award. What puzzles me are not his inexistent 'achievements', but why now?!?!?!

Should I dare making two suggestions? Because...

- he couldn't have received a 'peace price' later on, as long as - in less than a year maybe! - he could order the bombing of Iran;

- in case he is assassinated, a Noble Prize is some kind of sine-qua-non condition of 'martyrdom', like in Martin Luther Kings's case (also a Nobel winner).

I don't think Obama is a 'bad man', but I'm pretty sure that are 'bad people' controlling him. Because of his boosted ego & ambition he is blind to the strings which make him a puppet.

He's only another tragic character, and his life will be another episode in the neverending series of 'ascensions to glory and downfalls' which make up human history...

Obama is as worthy of the Nobel Prize as the 'anthropogenic climate change' theory is worth believing :-)

As for T. Blair & 'Berlu' - I guess we shouldn't worry that much; I believe that their political careers are on the wane.