I have been thinking about the amount of work, the cost, the vast number of people, the complication, and the amount of paperwork or computer storage that will be required to bring about these changes that is being bruited aboard with such energy and theatre. This is not to say that change would not be admirable, merely to question whether this is the time, or indeed if it is possible? The electorate is bemused, the parties are pressing for an election, and we are up to our ears in debt, and clearly on the brink of an election with all that implies itself, in change. Is it sensible, economic, and even possible, at this time to make a proper job of such a complex operation? I have previously written my own experience of how, what appears to be a sweeping change for all those valid reasons, turned out to be a total disaster, because the parameters were changed without test. The current system was moulded by attrition over generations, and we can all give copious examples where a change that has been rushed has produced chaos. Let us take a few parameters, the greatest of which will be the thorny one of the Lords, its function, the method of selection – will it be easy or take for ever?
They are talking about changing the number of MPs. Both from an economic point of view and logistically, this seems logical. But just think of the furore that is going to erupt in various parts of the country, where there have been several different MPs representing the variations in traditional allegiances to different parties, possibly being reduced to one or two members. Consider the changes that are being proposed in the procedures of Parliament, such as the sticky question of members’ allowances, the role of the speaker, just to mention two. If it takes them months to create and pass a bill, even ignoring the input of the Lords, how long is it going to take to arrive at an agreeable answer, requiring a horde of people involved, considerable cost, and how is it going to be tested before becoming acceptable policy?
What is vital is that Government must continue during the changes and their implementation, so I believe that change will not be anywhere as sweeping as people are making out, and I also believe that the sponsors of these changes are fully aware of all these facts, apparently ignoring them for the purposes of publicity and to appease public anger. When Hardy comes to Hardy, we shall find that this is as much a storm in a teacup as the fuss over the expenses. Already it is being suggested that there is a two-tier system, whereby those politicians who have digressed from the path of righteousness will be served differentially.