CORRUPTION and parliaments are inseparable.
Oliver Cromwell made this clear when he shutdown the Rump Parliament, reciting as he did the vices of the various MPs.
His dispersal of the rump and other parliaments was revolutionary since he was interested in cementing the bourgeois revolution and making it irreversible in the period after the 1649 execution of King Charles I.
The period of the rotten boroughs, before the parliamentary reforms began in 1832 when every seat and every voter was available to the highest bidder, is another example of rampant parliamentary corruption.
Lloyd George was infamous for his sale of peerages, at the highest commercial rates possible.
Not to be outdone, the Major government was conspicuous for ‘sleaze’, the passage of brown envelopes between wealthy patrons and MPs.
The Blair-Brown governments followed on and saw the financial shenanigans surrounding the different Mandelson resignations, the cash for peerages scandals, peers willing to amend legislation for cash payment, and now the ‘expenses scandals’ where moats were filled, and property empires built up at the taxpayer’s expense.
What is different about the latest parliamentary scandal is that it burst out of the greatest banking and industrial crash in the history of capitalism.
With hatred for the bankers, the G20 police, and the capitalist system building up like a volcano about to erupt as millions lost their jobs, their homes and saw their futures and their children’s futures blighted, the Daily Telegraph and the financial group behind it cleverly turned the massive explosion of anger against the parliamentary spivs – relatively minor criminals.
The bankers no doubt breathed a sigh of relief and, like Sir Fred, got on with enjoying their ill-gotten gains, made from the unlimited government aid.
The police also breathed a sigh of relief, and are getting ready to parade as the heroes of the hour by raiding the House of Commons and dragging off some of the petty criminals to face charge and trial.
The call is now going up for parliamentary reform, and that the House of Commons should be less corrupt.
In fact, it is more about giving the House of Commons a face-lift, to keep the stench of corruption down, so that it can play its part in the major bourgeois campaign of the period we are living in. This is the battle to force the working class and the middle class to pay the full price, with losses of wages, jobs and homes, for the multi-billion rescue of the bankers and capitalists by the Brown government.
The News Line’s policy is crystal clear. The House of Commons is unreformable. It will always be a corrupt institution because its master is not the public but big business. It will always be a front for the machinations of the capitalists.
Parliament cannot be reformed, in the same way that capitalism cannot be regulated so that it is crisis free.
Parliament must be closed and swept away into the dustbin of history if workers are to have a future.
It must be replaced by a government of workers councils (soviets) through which a workers government will develop a planned socialist economy based not on profits but on people’s needs.
These Councils of Action must be built up in the fight to mobilise the masses to occupy factories and hospitals to stop them being closed, and to wage the battle for the nationalisation of the major industries under workers control.
Councils of Action will play a leading role in fighting for the trade unions to organise a general strike to bring down the capitalist government of the day. The working class will then take the power, shutting down the Houses of Parliament and ruling through workers councils.