This post is provoked by the Downright Dishonourable member for Shipley, Philip Davies making the news yet again for talking out a bill that had cross-party support. Following on from his deliberate talking out of a bill to provide carers with free parking at hospitals, Mr Davies’ latest effort is to talk out a bill that would have made first aid training a compulsory in schools. Therefore, before sharing some pictures with you, I am going to provide my plan for stopping the practice of filibustering.
Before getting on to the ‘how’ which is the main part of this post, I am going to address the ‘why’.
Mr Davies (IMO he should be renamed Phil E Buster after his recent performances) has merely highlighted a practice which is profoundly anti-democratic and dissatisfying. The anti-democratic nature of the practice is obvious – it prevents the matter being discussed from being voted on. The dissatisfying nature of the practice is obvious in cases where the bill that has been talked to death is one you support. However, even if the bill under discussion was one I did not support I would like to see it voted on – I prefer to settle the issue fair and square rather than have it go undecided.
The first part of my suggested solution would be to pass a law requiring that all bills put to the house get voted on no matter what. Secondly, to prevent scum like Mr Davies from making such a law unworkable, impose limits on the amount of time for which someone is allowed to speak and back them up with severe discipline, my suggestion being:
- For a first offence a warning
- For a second offence a ban on speaking in the house for a set period (say one month)
- For a third offence, a compulsory by-election to enable the offenders constituents to pass judgement.
I reckon that one person losing their seat in these circumstances would be sufficient to deter all other would-be filibusterers. If you would like to see filibustering stopped, please sign and share this petition.
I have some pictures from in and around King’s Lynn, and also some badges that will be in our auction on December 9th (a full catalogue for our November 25th auction can be viewed here)…