The Westminster Parliament appears to be tearing itself apart. The current turmoil resembles the time before party whips came to play the role they do today. In the old days, parties were not stable: a leader could not depend on the votes of other MPs and Lords as a matter of course. Much of the time, a member of the legislature had to be persuaded or cajoled into voting in favour of a proposal.
NEO ran a post at his blog, yesterday, commemorating George Washington. The post is well worth a read. In particular, I was struck by George Washington’s dislike for political parties (especially on the basis of geographical divisions). He knew history well, and he was a true patriot. He desired that the people would be united and that faction would not lead to tyranny. Struggles, he contended, can lead to people placing their faith in one man: and that man can prove unworthy of such faith. The people loved George Washington – they put their faith in him. That he should hold such a view speaks highly of his humility and moral fibre.
The legislature holds a dangerous position in the United Kingdom’s constitution. AV Dicey, the great legal scholar, held that Parliament could make a law on any matter it chose, and that statute is the highest form of law in our country. In other words, Parliament is omni-competent and supreme. Our American cousins (who separated from us long before Dicey was born) wisely avoided creating a legislature that could hold such pretensions.
We were not wise enough to limit our own Parliament directly – though it ceased to hold its lofty position when the United Kingdom joined what would become the EU. The infamous Factortame cases revealed just who occupied the highest position. Leaving the EU would mean that we would revert to the former position of Parliament being supreme and omni-competent.
Many of us who voted for Brexit (and perhaps some remainers who have subsequently re-thought their position) do not want to see a reversion to Dicey’s concept of Parliament. Our country is in sore need of constitutional reform, alongside the other changes in law and culture that would make our nation a better host for the Kingdom of Heaven. We need a Parliament that will be limited, just as the American Congress is subject to the Constitution of the United States of America. It must not be free to pass any law it pleases – Parliament should never have been free to pass a law permitting abortion.
An ideal Parliament would know that it answers to a Higher Power, whence comes all authority on this earth. It would respect the right to life and the right to the fruit of one’s labour, and the enjoyment of one’s property. As our country continues to endure political turmoil, it is my prayer that God will raise up politicians after His own heart, who will reform our laws and constitution.