The arteries of our parliamentary system have become sclerotic. They are unable to respond to the real heartbeat of a people who feel they have been well and truly misled. There is a growing disquiet about the whole of Britain's future, its role in the world, or what it really means to be British.
I perceive a growing decline in the unity of people in Britain today. This is reflected in the growing interest in the self determination of Scotland and Wales. Writing in a letter in the Guardian recently, Professor Paul Salverson of Huddersfield University argued for a reshaping of the United Kingdom based on regional governments (see his book on the issue here). He believes in an amalgamation of the Yorkshire Region, the North West, the North East and Cumbria. In effect a new region stretching form Berwick-upon-Tweed down to the Trent in the East Midlands; and in the west from Carlisle to the south of Merseyside.
This is a bold idea. It has become increasingly apparent in recent times that the Westminster governmental system does not command the respect of the electorate. In a democracy, reciprocal respect between the government and the governed is the prerequisite needed to build the confidence people require, if they are to feel that they are part of the national family.
Our governmental system is an an anachronism, stuck in the past and out of touch with almost everything around it. None of the political parties have a vision for the future. They offer no future for our young people and almost every part of our public services are in crisis! The services for the elderly in Britain are a national disgrace. The House of Commons is full of self seeking individuals; many lack an honest bone in their bodies. This is not just my opinion. On 5th March, Peter Kellner a national pollster revealed that nearly two-thirds of voters say that politicians lie "all the time" and less than a quarter think that parliament does a good job debating issues of concern to them. Kellner concluded that the figures show that Britain's democratic system is in danger.
It would be unwise to ignore the straws in the wind, yet this is what parliament continues to do. Before these people aspire to lead the nation, they should examine their real motives for wishing to represent them. I have been in the Labour Party for over sixty years and increasingly feel I have been deceived by not one, but by many who have sat in our parliament.
I am not alone in my concern. I feel that I am expressing the concerns of many. I, therefore, feel that if parliament can not reform itself, we must press for reforms which will ensure that we have structures which properly reflect the real needs and concerns of the people. I broadly support the call for a Northern Parliament. For over sixty years the North-South divide has grown and today is a chasm that is wider than ever. If the Westminster Government is not addressing the proper concerns of the North, then perhaps it is time for us to take matters into our own hands, away from a structure dominated by self-seeking individuals who have no real feeling of kinship or empathy with the people they purport to represent.