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What has this Parliament meant to you?

09:46 UK time, Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Party leaders have clashed at a final prime minister's questions as parties continue horse trading over bills which must clear Parliament in the next two days before it is dissolved on 12 April. What is this Parliament's legacy?

In negotiations in the period known as the "wash-up" several key measures have been dropped from the Finance Bill, including a 10% tax rise on cider, a 50p broadband duty on land lines and a reduction in libel lawyers' fees.

As parliament draws to a close, Lord Mandelson has said Labour plans to fix the "rupture" between politicians and the public, and the Tories have called for a cut in the number of MPs to renew public trust in Parliament. But Lib Dem leader Mr Clegg says only his party, not the two "old parties", can be trusted with renewing the political system.

What is the legacy of this Parliament? How has it affected your democratic and political engagement? Do you think the political system needs reform?

What would you do if you were prime minister?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.


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  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 2.

    Do as I say and not as I do.

    That phrase sums up Parliament under New Labour for me. Sleaze, corruption, contempt, beligerence and arrogance are the hallmarks of the British Parliament. We were once the standard-bearers of democracy, justice and civilisation through our Parliament. Now we are the laughing stock of the world.

  • Comment number 3.

    A bunch of crooks allowed free rein under totally ineffective governance.

  • Comment number 4.

    Parliament is where the people think democracy is practised; it is anything but...

  • Comment number 5.

    schoolroom and childish behaviour mixed with corruption and greed

  • Comment number 6.

    To quote my late grandfather "The Place of Plausible Liars"

    For the first time in 42 years I find myself wondering if it is worthwhile voting! I already know who will win in my constituency so I have been effectively disenfranchised! We urgently need to reform the voting system.

  • Comment number 7.

    For myself, it is a byword for dishonesty, immoral behaviour, greed, corruption and the hangout of scoundrels. Bring back Guy Fawkes!

  • Comment number 8.

    Rottern Boroughs emerged soon after this system was established, and nothing has changed. Parliament stands for privilege and corruption now as then.

  • Comment number 9.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 10.


    Look at Conservative only Carlton Club, London. Just one tiny glimpse of how Conservatives live 'off-screen'?

    In fact, look at all political party 'private' clubs - this will tell you more about a political party bedrock than Parliament?

    Also, if you want to know about your MPs, MEPs or Lords tax-free allowances, browse for

  • Comment number 11.

    In its current format Parliament is a mess of dogma and hypocracy. It is not fit for purpose. Instead of continuously adding half baked policies that weaken the individual and the community why not have a balanced policy portfolio. If you want to add a bill then you also have to take one away. The French do this - not sure how effective it is but at least it has some balance to it that would appeal to me. It would I suspect make parliament think about what it does. I would also like to see less influence from minority groups on what should be local community issues - they seem to have an undue influence where there should be none.

  • Comment number 12.

    The Electoral system needs a massive overhaul as the majority of people in the uk are completely disillusioned with politics. The voting system means that at least 80% of voters vote don't really matter, as it is a forgone conclusion which party will win the seat in at least 400 constituencies. The only votes that really matter are the votes of a few million floating votes in a number of marginal consituencies.
    You then have vested interests ensuring that their candidates are parachuted into safe seats, ignoring the views of the local people. The candidate hoisted upon them often has no link to the constituency at all, and don't really care about the issues affecting it, and will simply toe the party line, or support the interests of their sponsor, be it Unite or some other body, rather than the interests of their constituents.
    The last parliament was as we all know extremely corrupted, with many MP'S claiming expenses that simply would not be allowed outside of parliament. Although some changes have been made to deter with some of these abuses, there are still plenty of opportunities for MP's to feather their nests.
    The pension entitlements they have voted themselves is particularly disgraceful, as it is better than anything available outside of parliament.

  • Comment number 13.

    I suppose All we are going to get for the next month is POLITICS on here and on the TV
    There are other things MORE interesting in this world than that

  • Comment number 14.

    Debt, debt and more debt.

  • Comment number 15.

    This government's legacy is of 'government by gimmick'. Law after law has been badly thought through, and sometimes even reversed after a couple of years (for example, declining then zero corporation tax for small businesses). Another example is the rush to do everything on-line with inadequate, or inconsistent, advice and help from a very confusing web-site.

  • Comment number 16.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 17.

    A democratic UK has the advantage of representation and direction. National legislatures increase the membership to improve opinion and decisions. If the American Congress added to the number of elected politicians to Washington DC, the level of competence would enhance.

  • Comment number 18.

    Scandal, waste and lies - Brown has some nerve to say we've been deceived over NI - he is the arch deceiver. If his lot aren't out I am leaving this country

  • Comment number 19.

    Parliament to me stands for many things....corruption, greed, super nanny, interfering, deceiptful, warmonger, thief, wasteful, unfair, dictatgors, criminals over victims.

    This election there is only two parties that I will consider voting for, Lib Dems or the BNP. Lib Dems seem a little more honest (time will tell if they truely are) and the policies on the BNP website do not appear racist as you would be made to believe but more in favour of the wishes of the British people. Labour and Conservatives have proven that they are not worthy so why not give the other two a try. Surely they can do nothing worse can they?

  • Comment number 20.

    Unfortunatley not alot as MP's cannot be trusted, even after the election I will still have no trust in MP's they one thing and do the total opposite. We know that who ever wins the election lets pray its not Labour)will have a hard time balancing the books as Brown has made such a mess of our enoconmy for the last 12 years. I always thoughtMP's were intelligent and sensible people but I was wrong as they seem to live in a different world to me and have very different values. I would like to see parliment re think the whole British political system and bring it into the 21st centuary, get rid of the Lords and cut the number of MP's for a start.

  • Comment number 21.

    To me Parliament is a building where MPs sit to try to work out what course of actions will most benefit their own party.

    Occasionally this also benefits the British public, but thats largely down to coincidence.

    Party Politics created a country vs Party conflict for all our MPs many years ago.

    Thats why the concept of British democracy is a bit of a joke for large sections of the public.

  • Comment number 22.

    A bunch of self serving fools, the majority of which care little for the people they are supposed to represent & are only interested in lining their own pockets & one-up-manship on each other.

    Remember how they used to do the Parliament scenes on Spitting Image?

    Our whole political system is rotten to the core, it needs tearing down & starting again.

  • Comment number 23.


  • Comment number 24.

    I should like to think that Parliament will be transformed when we have rid ourselves of the current government otherwise it will continue as before.

  • Comment number 25.

    The legacy of this parliament is dishonour and dictatorship.

    Before Tony Blair came to power when MPs in any party overstepped the mark and were found out they resigned (I admit they generally had to be found out first). But they didn't come back. End of career. Now the same people can be found out time and again over various matters as they stay away for a while and then return to the various Labour cabinets we have had over the past 13 years. Or with the Iraq enquiry turning up issues of deception - they just don't go at all.

    Just two people who stand out as being honest and prepared to stand by what they believed in - Mo Mowlam and Clare Short.

    Whether anyone wanted the Lisbon Treaty signed or not - there was a promise by Labour that the public would be allowed their say. For everyone who is happy that it was signed without that, the next major issue which sidesteps the public may not be what you want. This is not democracy.

    But this government has been like Toad - "I'd have said ANYTHING in THERE".

  • Comment number 26.

    As part of any constitutional reforming legislation in the new Parliament it should state that as soon as a General Election is called any legislation that has not got through third reading and is only awaiting the Queens Consent should fall.This present period of "horse-trading" is nonsnse.As a case in point the Digital Economy Bill which will affect thousands of people is only to get 2 hours to-day for debate by the Commons which as usual will probably be poorly attended by MPs to cover Committee;Report stages and Third Reading.How can this Bill have any legitimacy when Parliament is not granted sufficient time to scrutinise it ?The Bill should have been withdrawn and the new government brought it back in the new session and allowed it proper debate through the Commons .Such tactics totally devalue Parliament even more than it already has been in the eyes of the public

  • Comment number 27.

    "A cheap boozer fill with half wits "Bullingtons" and drunks."

  • Comment number 28.

    In countries like the US government was set up by the people to tackle mutual adversity. Ours turned up in 1066 with big swords and big horses and stole out pigs … and they are still doing it.

    … and when the lady of the manor hands a ham sandwich to a beggar all the, well fed, henchmen at the castle jump up and down and think themselves ‘compassionate’.

  • Comment number 29.

    What does Parliment mean to mean? Lies, corruption and imunity to prosecution. There isn't one party worth voting for as we will replace one bunch of crooks with another bunch of crooks.

  • Comment number 30.

    This parliament should have been better than it was, it represents a wasted opportunity and an awakening of the people as to their knowledge of what goes on within those walls. It represents the end of any respect that any of us could have held for them.

    This parliament is a shame.

  • Comment number 31.

    This Parliament has demonstrated a scant regard for its duty, failing in its obligation to serve the nation and its citizens. Its members have put self and party first, and ignored the needs of those they are there to represent and serve.

    I am glad not to have been a member of it: I would be ashamed of myself.

    Shame, like responsibility, honour and ethics, are foreign to the members of this Parliament however.

    We need new blood, people who understand the concepts of public service, of duty, of responsibility, of honesty; people who are there to represent the electorate and carry out OUR wishes.

    Nobody else need apply. They are not wanted.

  • Comment number 32.

    Sleaze. Lies. Hypocrisy. We do not have a democracy. Two thirds of the seats in parliament are safe so two thirds of the election is already over. My vote won't count along with another 25 million potential votes. It's a disgrace. Elections in this country are settled in a few marginal areas, how can this be deemed democracy. We should all voice our opposition by not voting for the 3 main parties. Vote for anyone but the main 3 parties. It really is about time we gave these villains a kick in the pants they won't forget for a long time.

  • Comment number 33.

    A desire for the total control of people's lives fuelled by paranoia and a fundamental distrust of the general public.

  • Comment number 34.

    These last 13 years have shown me that our elected representatives can't be trusted and that our current system has had its time. I truly don't see why we need representation anymore. Its very possible these days to set up a web-based system where people can vote directly themselves for whatever issues are important.
    I'd like to see them vote on that as a first choice for electoral reform!

  • Comment number 35.

    As parliament draws to a close, Lord Mandelson has said Labour plans to fix the "rupture" between politicians and the public, and the Tories have called for a cut in the number of MPs to renew public trust in Parliament. But Lib Dem leader Mr Clegg says only his party, not the two "old parties", can be trusted with renewing the political system.
    Frankly, I am not impressed with any of the above. Peter Mandelson is offering to 'fix the rupture'? After he has spent the summer, (probably on the private yacht of some Russian oligarch, sipping dry Martini and playing backgammon) I presume that he will then ask us all to drop our trousers, warm his hands, and ask us to cough? That makes me just a tad uncomfortable.
    Mr Cameron's suggestion of cutting the number of MP's needs a little closer scrutiny, also. Apparently, the 'small print' indicates that he intends to cut the number of MP's to the 193 seats currently held by the Conservatives.
    As for Mr Clegg, his talk of renewal was apparently made minutes after watching the first of the new series of Dr Who. He was apparently so pleased with the renewal that he decided to try it out on the electorate. Less impressive is his first policy statement, which suggests that if elected leader, he would assume the title of 'the Doctor' and employ Amy Pond (complete with kiss-o-gram police uniform) his new personal secretary. Finally, Parliament would be re-named 'The Tardis', which seems appropriate because nobody would ever believe that a place so small could contain so many liars at any one time.

  • Comment number 36.

    This parliament's legacy is the continued distrust of the public for MP's. They've shown that they're so far removed from 'real life' that they think they are entitled to use our hard earned money to pay for duck ponds, porn & paying off non-existent mortgages, while the mere minions are forced to live in poverty. This government in particular have revealed just how much they hold the electorate in contempt by not allowing us to vote on important issues such as the lisbon treaty because they don't trust us to make the right decision for THEIR finances.

    This government have shown us all the holes in the system, just how little power the electorate having in disposing of MP's who are corrupt or generally incompetent & how much power they have in covering up even obvious fraud & wrongdoing. Our country has been irrevocably damaged by greedy ignorant MP's who are looking to take all they can before they lose power.

    The biggest legacy of this government is the hundreds of dead servicemen/women who gave their lives for a political lie. The lack of governmental support for these brave people is sickening. The government expect the armed forces to do their bidding, yet MPs seem unable or unwilling to equip & fund them properly since the money gets syphoned off by MoD in Whitehall before it ever reaches the front lines, the people who need & deserve the financial support. This government have shown most MPs to be spineless low lives who are willing to put other people's lives on the line to prove a political point but wouldn't do the same themselves.

  • Comment number 37.

    Parliament means "a powerful old boy network that servers nothing but its own interests" to me.

  • Comment number 38.

    #2 has got it about right.

  • Comment number 39.

    It's shown the complete contempt that professional politicians have for the voters. Promises to amend the voting system so that the votes of all counted rather than those of a 100,000 or so in 100 constituencies have been ignored. Regardless of the supposed political bias of the next parliament the voters will still to paraphrase George Orwell be looking from Conservative to Labour and be unable to tell the difference.

  • Comment number 40.

    As a child I used to think it was somewhere staid, dignified, respectable where, pompous (probably), boring old duffers got on with running the country and ensuring that we were all safe in our beds.
    Since the advent of nuLabour and 'cool britannia' it seems to me to have become rather down market and tacky, full of 'babes' more interested in child friendly hours, breastfeeding in the chamber, designer outfits and the interior design of their several homes than in taking care of the economy and what is in the best interests of the people of this country.

  • Comment number 41.

    More tax, more waste, the price of everything rising while the quality crashes, taxes on enterprise and job creation resulting in jobs moving abroad, everything being measured in minute detail leading to the things being measured improving while the things the people care about disintegrate. The taxman cracking down ever-harder on the people making minor errors while allowing MPs to brazenly ignore the rules. One rule for us and another for them. Political correctness running riot to the point we can barely say anything any more in case we offend someone.

    Shall I continue?

  • Comment number 42.

    Th legacy of this Parliament? Ever-increasing taxes taken from the hard-working families (and by this I mean every hard-working family, not just the low-paid which is the context in which Gordon Brown likes to use it) to pay ever-increasing benefits to those who feel actualy getting out there and earning for themselves.
    High-quality, high-tech, and highly paid jobs being shipped offshore wholesale and without so much at a whimper from anyone in Government (elected or not).
    The sale of many industries to foreign parties. And this is looked on as a good thing as "it brings inward investment", despite the fact it has a commensurate outflowing of profits. All this overseen by a craven and non-elected business secretary. Other European states would never allow this to happen.
    An overwhelming feeling that the only tool in the arsenal of the government to influence behaviour is to introduce more and larger fines for every minor transgression such as overloading your bin, but too scared to take on the bigger issues and crimes that plague society today.
    And an utter contempt for those of the ruling party who after 13 years in office still try to blame the last Conservative administration for problems. I can remember the Harold Wilson "13 years of Tory Mis-rule" statement. Well, he didn't do too well himself, did he?
    If after 13 years you have failed to put things right, time to move over and let someone else show you how it's done.

  • Comment number 43.

    The legacy of this Parliament is:


    That, simply means that WHOLE communities have been destroyed and innocent individuals have DIED from the destructive term 'anti-social' behavior!

    ABOLISH THE TERM ANTI-SOCIAL BEHAVIOR - AND CALL IT WHAT IT IS - CRIME and allow the police to PROTECT the majority who are the VICTIMS of this statistical manipulation!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 44.

    'Look at Conservative only Carlton Club, London. Just one tiny glimpse of how Conservatives live 'off-screen'?'

    Look at Tony Blair. Income of 20 million a year. Holds a press conference, then ejects the press while he takes questions. Just one tiny glimpse of how a man who described himself as 'a pretty decent kinda guy' lives. Oh, and the taxpayer funds his security and pension.

  • Comment number 45.

    My thoughts on 'parliament' (as opposed to the current government) are essentially that the members of the House of Commons seem to see themselves as superior beings, and above the law.

    The whole point of the 'House of Commons' was that it would be a group of normal people, fighting for the side of the average person, against the "elites" of the House of Lords.

    Instead, what we have now is a state where the House of Commons seems to be vastly more elitist than the House of Lords. The House of Lords may not be perfect, but at least they seem to try to fight against the more stupid laws as much as they can (unfortunately, they've been stripped of most of their power, so they can't really help us any more).

  • Comment number 46.

    It seems to me that parliament is stuck in the 18th century, with MPs constantly scoffing and sneering at each other. It is a place of party politics, and not a place to genuinely debate what is best for the country. MPs constantly act as if they know what is best for everyone, patronising the whole population and thinking they are a special case.

    The whole sorry system needs a thorough overhaul.

  • Comment number 47.

    "Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely" so it is said. The truth is that Parliament, as an institution, has far too much power and none of the proposals by any of the political parties aim to change that. Therefore Parliament will remain a place of corruption and where power is manipulated and misused.

    If any of the political parties were serious about reform then they would introduce PR forthwith, make the House of Lords an elected chamber, enable referenda on key legislation and have a directly elected Prime Minister.

    Is anyone considering such change? I think not, hence there will be no change after the next election.

  • Comment number 48.

    Guy Fawkes - The only man ever to enter Parliament with honest intentions.

  • Comment number 49.

    Can't wait to see the back of them. They have brought our once great country virtually to its knees with their fiddling expenses and allowing more and more immigrants to flood this country.

    The party for me will be one that supports it's own citizens, before giving immigrants priority. One that will actually DO something about crime and yobs, instead of just talking about it, and finally, one that will bring our soldiers back from Afghanistan, where they are fighting a war that is none of our business.

    We never voted you IN, Mr Brown....but we sure can and will vote you out.

  • Comment number 50.

    yes,yes and yes! on the legacy of this parliment,it can only be judge on the improved living standards of "all" the people after the disaster of thatcherism.on the whole things have improved,there not by any test perfect but they are better than they were.the biggest effect on myself and my political attitudes was the X/P scandal and new labours fasination with the iron lady herself.oddly it was an american juornalist who brought it to our attention,"irony as got to be in there somwhere?". as for reform "yes" proportinal rep must be on the cards.politicaly were somewhat fragmented it's time to give it our consideration,referendom seems the best way forward on this issue,it is not to be left to parliment alone but to the british people.

  • Comment number 51.

    Unfortunately all I percieve now is our Parliament is there for their benefit not ours. Be it Tory/labour or Libdems they are all the same - tell you what you want to hear and then do something else. If they make promises they should keep them, be truthful, jail the expenses crooks( as I would be)try and get some credulity back.They need to take more interest in what goes on here,when our house is in order then we can look at foreign aid.

    However politicians are corrupt all over the world - very few are actually there for the benefit of their constituants.

  • Comment number 52.

    I can't believe that this parliament is going to finish by passing a bill which is going to criminalize the general public.

    Some aspects of the Digital Economy Bill are diabolical. Why is such a massively important issue to the majority of the public, being rushed through with out proper scrutiny and public debate.

    Specifically I am referring to the issue of copyright infringement and the obligation of Internet Service Providers to warn subscribers, suspend accounts and notifying owners of the infringed material.

    It is a bad solution for several reasons.

    1. To say that digital piracy cost the economy £800 million a year is a fallacy as that is to say that all copied material would have otherwise been purchased.

    2. The British public will be place on offer to being sued by corporations yet the rest of the world is still free to copy British made material without repremand.

    3. Search engines and other enormous internet based corporations are copying material on a gargantuan level, providing books and images free to view, and at the same time making vast sums of money yet the typical file sharer makes no revenue from such activities and is purely for personal consumption.

    4. It does not consider the fact that many file sharers also are massive purchasers of films and music, and will often buy hard copies of material that they like.

    5. Regulation of infringement on text would be impossible and likely ignored, but it will place many unsuspecting users ill of the law as citation use within websites, blogs, forums is virtually non-existent and is not common practice, even to those who have been through the university system.

    6. Downloads via public wifi and internet cafes are practically anomynous

    7. People high-jacking others private wifi and downloading pirated material will become more commonplace and put the owner of the internet access is trouble with their ISP

    7. More people will use proxy servers to disguise their I.P address and will proliferate more anonymous internet usage.

    8. Knowledge about copyright law in the public domain is minimally understood.

    9. This serves no one but the large corporations who are able to sue members of the public vast sums of money which they are never able to pay or even able to afford to contest the matter in a court of law.

  • Comment number 53.

    This parliament will be remembered as the one in which MPs abuse of the expenses system was finally exposed. I hope voters will look at their local MP's financial conduct when making the choice in the ballot, and that the next parliament will be more honest and transparent as to how our money is used by elected servants.

  • Comment number 54.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 55.

    A place where the will of the voter is ignored. A place where democracy is not the order of the day. A place for part time workers to gain extra pay and allowances. A place of MISTRUST. A place to bring a country to its knees. A place where nothing worthwhile is produced. A place for the unscrupulous, untrustworthy to go to work (part time of course - too many other jobs to take care of.

    A place that has created a nation who now have no confidence in any MP no matter which party they serve.

    I for one will not vote for any sitting member of parliament. Nor will I vote for any candidate that does not live in my constituency.

    AS you may have gathered I am fed up with the whole sordid mess.

  • Comment number 56.

    I`m currently watching PMQ`s and it really does look like an episode from the Muppet Show.
    How childish and foolish they sound calling each other names, so pathetic.

  • Comment number 57.

    THE most destructive legacy of this Parliament is the 'translation' of serious crime/gangs/feral youth bullying of the vulnerable, therefore, ALL of us? The murder of a family man challenging youths damaging his wife's car: murdered.

    This Parliament and THE HOME OFFICE AND MINISTRY OF JUSTICE, effectively allowed a women and her disabled child to commit suicide in a burning car by not affording a mum and a daughter protection for so-called anti-social behavior?


  • Comment number 58.

    Here is a new use for parliment, collect all the hot air expelled by the members of both houses and use it to heat the whole of the country, there you go a renewable heat source :-)

    My father always called it " The House of Liars" he wasn't far wrong

  • Comment number 59.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 60.

    The Rotten Parliament, riddled with lies, sleaze, corruption, nepotism and a total unwillingness to give any consideration to the needs and desires of the people they are elected to represent.

  • Comment number 61.

    What has this Parliament meant to me?

    A slow motion train crash caused by so many voters in 1997 choosing presentation and platitude over past record.

    For the future, the institution of Parliament needs radical modernisation including:

    1. Halving the number of MPs.

    2. The introduction of a secret voting system such as the UN requires for all normal voting procedures so that MPs can vote with their own reasons not party whipped reasons.

    3. A professional speaker remote from elected MPs to keep order.

    4. A professional set of accountants to scrutinise expenses just like any other business has to have.

    5. An overhaul to the out of date discussion forum approach where the standard tools of modern business meetings (charts, spreadsheets and financial formulae etc.) are banned, i.e. the introduction of screens to allow MPs to show modern data presentation rather than just shouting unsubstantiated opinion at each other.

    6. An insistence on PMQ becoming a place where people answer direct questions with clear concise and direct answers.

    7. A test for innumeracy in all MPs, a minimum of A level math to be a pre-requisite for each.

    8. A constitutional change to force balancing of the UK’s books by any parliament.

    9. A House of Lords staffed by un-elected non-party partisan, leaders of business, industry, science, arts, media, charities, sports etc. to apply a commonsense sanity test to all government legislation proposals.

    In short, a basic change in attitude from a place overstaffed by amateurs showing off to one where professional business-like decisions are taken on substantive evidence.

  • Comment number 62.

    What Parliament means to me, as presently constituted, is a complete and utter corruption of the principles of democracy, the placing of party politics and personal advantage over the best interests of the country, coupled with an almost total lack of accountability and the cynical promotion of people with few real skills into positions of enormous responsibility. The whole thing is rotten to the core and should be outsourced to people who actually know how to make a country run - the Norwegians for example! Lord knows, they couldn't do any worse.

  • Comment number 63.

    Why all the 'breaking news' yesterday? And announcing election day as May 6th ? When that is what is already says on my voting card!

  • Comment number 64.

    One good piece of legislation from this Parliament was the Animal Welfare Act 2006. It received all party support, was seriously and constructively debated, and will serve as the foundations for animal welfare law in the UK. All it needs is the will to enforce it. The joke is that the MPs are too dumb to draw attention to this potential vote winner.

  • Comment number 65.

    MPs? Opportunistic, greedy, selfish, lying, evasive, arrogant, juvenille and overpaid. I'm sure there are a few good ones in there, but the damage has been done.

    It's time that political parties were abolished - now. These people are meant to be our elected representatives - not party puppets. Every MP should be an independant candidate and not a gang member.

  • Comment number 66.

    At best, it is a pantomime.
    At worst, it is a collection of self-seeking, avaricious, public-school-type clowns who make us the laughing stock of Europe.

    As for the House of Lords ...
    Give me strength !!

  • Comment number 67.

    Somewhere for politicians to plot against the people.

  • Comment number 68.

    corruption ! from top to bottom

  • Comment number 69.


    Bootsy Collings, George Clinton, P-Funk, Brides of Funkenstein...

  • Comment number 70.

    Democracy? Don't make me laugh... 1.3% of the electorate belong to either the Labour, Tory or LibDem parties, but these three provide over 90% of the MPs.

  • Comment number 71.

    Quite simply, the problem is that we have professional politicians now who have never entered the real world, never been successful in any other discipline in their lives and have no idea about the areas that they are subsequently put in charge of. What needs to change is that politics needs to become a vocation again and not a profession. Some simple changes could be ;

    1. Politicians are only allowed to stand for a fixed number of Parliaments. Perhaps 3 or 4. That's it, then you leave.

    2. You can only represent a constituency if you've lived and been registered to vote there for a set period of time prior to the election. Five years sounds fine. That way you avoid Parties parachuting cronies into safe seats.

    3. If you are to become a minister or department head, you must have proven relevant experience in the area required. e.g. For Defence, you must have experience in the Army or Arms. For Health, medical experience and qualifications. At the moment, unqualified people are being put in charge of areas they have no idea about and have never been involved in.

    4. Your main residence must be in the constituency you represent. Any other home will be State owned or provided by yourself. To be blunt, if you've moved into politics after your career and can't afford to be a politician with your own means, then it's a fair guess that you haven't managed to be successful in your previous career and I'm not sure that unsuccessful people should be allowed anywhere near the levers of power.

    5. No Lawyers !

  • Comment number 72.

    Parliament is brought to the public's attention once a week thanks to PMQs. The public therefore would be forgiven for thinking that their representatives are nothing but a crowd of infantile, petty time wasters who have no respect for each other and therefore the deomcratic process.

  • Comment number 73.

    Legalised sleaze, greed, corruption and lies from a bunch of squabbling adults acting like spoilt children purely for their own gain with absolutely no consideration given to the electorate or what's best for the country.
    They have no moral fibre and are so out of touch with the electorate yet don't even try to understand our requirements or needs. This apology for a human race sits in Parliament and governs us. What a tradegy!

  • Comment number 74.

    Increased payment to the eu for nothing in return. Continuing kowtowing to their eu masters.

  • Comment number 75.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 76.

    A bastion of corruption, do-gooder hypocrisy, sleaze and blatant lies, eating from the trough and the pork barrel, micromanaging and mismanaging the country into outright ruin.

    That about sum it up?

  • Comment number 77.

    Its a fix and a sham. We dont have a constitution, our MP's dont represent us. The system needs complete reform and no party on the ticket wants to do anything except the bare minimum. We need a constitution, an elected house of lords, a fedaralised UK and open primaries for MP selection.

  • Comment number 78.

    Parliament - A place where the wishes of the majority are ignored for the benefit of every minority who may vote for the labour party in the future.

    It is past time that the voice of the majority was heard and then we will be able to say that we once again live in a democracy and not the dictatorship that exists at present.

  • Comment number 79.

    Without ranting and raving, This Parliament has been in session during a complete loss of confidence in both the consititution and governance of the UK. As a child of Thatcher, I had hoped Labour would have left a legacy of fairness and openess, this has not happend and I am disappointed in this.

    I am left with a feeling that John Major wasn't so bad and I think I'd prefer him to the alternatives. And this really suprises me.

  • Comment number 80.

    Where the inmates run the asylum

  • Comment number 81.

    Corruption and more Corruption. Never live up to there promises. Tell you one thing to get your vote then do an other completly different, have always believed that this is a Criminal Offence of obtaining a service by deception contary to the Theft Act, but hey they can run rings around that Act as seen by there Expenses feast. This sounds daft but I have always voted since I was 21 never missed an election local or national, so I will have to think long and hard. One party not getting my vote is the Lib Dems. I want my vote to count for who I vote for not there floating vote system they are after.

  • Comment number 82.

    I know everyone is revving up for the election but hasn't the price of petrol gone quiet? It now stands at £1.20 or thereabouts in most places. I commented on this last month and said it would go up even further because the election is on peoples minds and no-one would notice - it has now gone up nearly 15p since I first commented and no-one - no no-one is shouting about it!!! There was absolute chaos last time... come on people are you going to let this government and the next one get away with it? I think everyone should lobby their current MPs and ask them why have they allowed the price of petrol and diesel to go up!!!

  • Comment number 83.

    As a lot of people on here have commented (in one form or another), currently the palace of Westminster is not fit for purpose.

    In saying that though, I count my lucky stars that I live in the UK. As unjust as it seems from time to time, we are still a fairer, freer nation politically than a great many others around the world and for that i am grateful.

    But! Parliment does need change

    I would however, recommend that some changes need to be made.

    Firstly, I would appreciate someone explaining to me (in simple terms) what Proportional Representation means and why so many think that this is a better system than our current method (which I would also appreciate explained).

    I disagree with an elected House of Lords however, on the personal belief that this house should sit as an intellectual body, made up of the countries various top scientists, acedemics, philosphers, theolgians, religious leaders and captains of industry.

    Some may scoff at the inclusion of religious leaders, but they do represent a large swathe of this country and as such should be able to represent a view point shared by this section of the electorate. All walks of life and systems of belief and practice should be represented. Its fairer and more productive.

    An oath of honesty should be required of all MPs prior to sitting within Parliment with a minimum jail term for all MP's who abuse this oath whether for corruption, rigging or any duplicitous behaviour.

    Exspense should cover only the needs of an MP or their staff in order to do their job - not second homes or duck houses.

    MP's should reside when sitting in Parliment in a purpose built hotel or communal village, owned by the state. Being an MP should soley be about serving the people, not lining your pockets.

    Fixed term elections.

    But for me, most importantly of all is an immidiate end to voting by Welsh and Scottish MP's on bills and subjects that are English based only. If we are unable to have a say on what goes on in Wales and Scotland, the same rules should apply here in England - Failing that an English Parliment.

    Johb done - well its a start anyway!!!

  • Comment number 84.

    The parliament means little, it appears that the "Banks" and the "Old Boy Network" who all have a vested interest in the Banks, who profit from us all, if we are in debt or credit and if the worst happens, the tax payers will bail them out, actually run the country. The parliament are just their puppets.

  • Comment number 85.

    Given the complete lack of interest expressed by MPs in the Digital Britain bill, which is of extreme interest to many of the actual voters, I would say that parliament current represents an enormous waste of time.

  • Comment number 86.

    It's a pseudo forum for a five year dictatorship peopled by self serving types who's interests begin and end in their back pockets. Worse, by creating the illusion of democracy they are undermining the established values of many decent British people. Once the new Parliament starts you can bet as sure as putting money on a form horse that the MP's will start manoeuvring little advantages and touting privileges because of the weight of the office they think they are doing us a favour by occupying.

    The privilege is to serve the country that elected them and not to use the position of an elected representative as their own personal gravy train.

  • Comment number 87.

    This doesn't apply to all of them, but it does apply to most in one way or another...

    Childish: Way too much "Yaah-booo" and too little respectful debate.
    Selfish: Career before public service.
    Corrupt: Just because you can abuse expenses doesn't force you to do it. I certainly could claim far more on expenses than I do.
    Incompetent: Many MPs are not worth their basical salary, let alone their fringe benefits. At least Mandelson is competent, even where I disagree with him. Can't think of another Labour cabinet member I'd say the same of. Arguing about how much responsibility they have is moot, because it doesn't change the fact that they are not up to the task. Paying more will have limited effect in attracting better people, because those I know who might be persuaded by this are put off by the thought of having to work with the existing bunch.
    Untrustworthy: Very few seem to feel the need to give an honest answer. Not lying is not the same as being honest. Avoiding a clear question in order to deny the public information you know they would not like is dishonest. (Yes, that's you, Gordon, amongst others.)

    As a group, they sicken me. I'll probably vote Lib Dem as they seem to have been slightly better than the other main parties, but even they disgust me with much of what they do (e.g. knowingly libelling the Labour candidate in my local election where I used to live).

  • Comment number 88.

    I belive that some MP's join politics for all the right reasons. They feel it is the calling in life to help others and to make the world a better place. Sadley for many they give into career developent and the money and perks that go with it. This last three and possibly before terms Parliaments has seen a rapid decline in the real ethos and good meaning of the word Parliament. I will vote because my father fought in a war for my right to do so, and also I will have no right to complain if I do not bother. The "cowboys" of parliament are no differant than the "rip off" car mechanc or plumber etc, except they do it legaly. Please can we havew MP's who will not sell their soul for career and perks. For them that do not, let me say that they are appreciated.

  • Comment number 89.

    Yes it has effected my political engagement - I no longer have the least inkling to trust anything said by politicians. I previously suspected corruption but the last parliament in particular has conclusively demonstrated it.

    To get back any sense of engagement I would want to see:
    1) Lords disbanded and replaced by an elected 'overseeing' house.
    2) Number of MPs reduced.
    3) Overhaul of 'first past the post' system so votes will actually count towards the number of a political flavour in parliament - my vote is and always has been totally pointless as a donkey would win in my constituency if it had a red rosette pinned to it.
    4) The ability to call parliament to task over poor legislation. Maybe if a certain amount of voters sign a particular petition etc.
    5) A significant move towards actually representing the general public rather than vested interests/lobbyists/big business

  • Comment number 90.

    This parliament (as opposed to "this government") has finally proved to me what a bunch of untrustworthy self-serving people our members of parliament are. They are only interested in their own personal power and fortunes, and any benefit they may bring to the country is purely coincidental. Their standard of truthfulness only shows how economical they are with it. Many of them, if employed in other jobs, would by now be in prison for fraud. Many of their ideas just show how disconnected they are from the real world.

    Now they have the nerve to say "Trust me & vote for me; I'm a politician"

    Perhaps what is even worse is that we are still ruled by unelected Lords who only got into their positions either because they were rich or the best mate of someone's best mate (witness Lords Ashcroft and Mandelson). This has not changed since the middle ages.

    I am not going to vote in this election because I may end up with a politician as my MP, or being ruled by someone no-one voted for but who just happened to be someone's buddy.

  • Comment number 91.

    Power hungry oiks driven by self-interest alone.

    Ben Elton once said that, 'anyone wishing to own a gun should, by virtue of their desire, be prevented from ever doing so.' or words to that effect. The same can be said for anyone craving power or wishing to be in charge. Unfortunately, the people who should run the country, the fair and the just among us, have no desire to.

  • Comment number 92.

    Parliament (both houses) is a place where the privileged few live out their superiority complexes.

  • Comment number 93.

    Currently it means 640people with their mouthes in a massive trough!

  • Comment number 94.

    Mr Brown has become a dab hand at rhetoric by posing questions back to the other leaders in opposition. So much for it being a "Prime Ministers Questions". Roll on May 6th.

  • Comment number 95.

    The world has some huge problems, but career politicians by their nature are only interested in their careers. And this Parliament is full of them, from all sides.

    Parliament is a steaming pile of foul smelling irrelevance, as those at the top live above the stench in their own little bubble and have no concept of anything other than what their masters in big business tell them.

  • Comment number 96.

    Parliament to me means such things as the expenses row, legitimising the invasion of Iraq and a whole host of other non democratic activities. In the 21st century I believe the British public deserve better than MP’s who are compelled to follow the party line by whips. I believe we also deserve proportional representation, the real sort not some version that favours the prevailing party. I believe we also deserve better than opposing party members braying at each other and waving order papers across the house. In short we deserve a parliament that is accountable, honest and representative, but we will just get more of the same.

  • Comment number 97.

    The only things of worth that have happened since the french toffs took over is the NHS and compulsory education. The toffs are still in charge(Prescott must have pictures), they care only for themselves and they wont change a system that benefits them for one that benefits the people.

    There is no democracy and the only way to change this system is to rise up, unfortunately we are such an emasculated nation that all we do is moan on things like this.

    Never trust a politician, they are all lying, corrupt swine.

    There is such a strong argument for a Jury style parliament where say five hundred people get called up randomly every five years. Surely that would be better than allowing someone who wants to be in power to actually have it, and would probably lead to a more qualified government.

    Don't vote, demonstrate.

  • Comment number 98.

    Parliament was a place where leaders were made.

    Sadly it is now just another place where petty liars and crooks seem to thrive. Even the wash up will not be clean.

  • Comment number 99.

    parliament means to me greed and corruption. MP'S voting on their own pay, something that was taken away from from us when the company went into partnership with the union!!. Claiming expenses for luxuries instead of neccesities. And this election is doing my head in already, childish schoolboy tactics i'll call you names and you call me names maybe that will get me a vote!. Get with the real world realise people that work for a living are struggling and need government to realise that maybe people that are on benefits are draining the system and need to get a job!! none of this (if i work i'd be be worse off!!)

  • Comment number 100.

    It's where the traditional political parties send their representatives to do their bidding. Selling the population down the river for their own benefit and desires, or those of multi-national corporations who will make the donations or stump up the "£3-5k per day".

    We need PR, and we need it quickly or else we will need a revolution.


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