My personal opinion regards a constitutional change that I feel is necessary to mark a clear delineation between the Legislative (Parliament) and the Executive (Government) pillars of our democracy. In a nutshell, serving Ministers should not also be sitting MPs. Ministers would have to be appointed by parliamentary majority from outside the House (sitting MPs can also be considered on the proviso that they resign their parliamentary seat if appointed Ministers). The selection would be decided on the basis of competence, after having being nominated for parliamentary approval by the PM. Select parliamentary committees would oversee the operation their Ministries and the execution of their responsibilities, however the Ministers would answer and report to the whole House once a year. They could only be removed by 2/3 majority. If introduced, this would
– eliminate the overlap between the executive and the legislative,
– eliminate parochial leanings in executive decisons requiring national perspective,
– have Ministers answerable politically to the whole nation-wide spectrum through the House, and
– allow ALL MPs to function as MPs.
As things stand, not only is the executive overlapping with and effectively dominating Parliament, but they are also not performing ther duties as MPs, since they cannot even field Parliamentary Questions to other Ministers. Their is also an inbuilt conflict of interest between their responsibility towards their constituency (where they have to be relected) and their responsibility towards the whole country. Ministerial decisions and policies impacting positively or negatively on their respective constituencies are unavoidably also seen through ther MP eyes, and not through their nationwide Ministerial responsibilities, in a subjective extension of the NIMBY or IMBY approach. Such a model of good governance structures may be considered radical, extreme or even a pipedream, because one could argue that our politicians will never vote themselves out of a Ministerial role. The model I am proposing, or something very close to it, already exists in other countries, such as Holland and the United States. In the latter, a Minister is termed Secretary, and cannot be a member of either of their two Houses (Congressman or Senator). We inherited the British system of appointed only MPs of the winning party to form a government, but it is high time that we, as a people, start to think for ourselves, forget our polarised views , and adopt a system that is suitable for our situation. This system would give the whole of parliament more power as a body, with a role of monitoring the operation of government on behalf of the people, all the people.