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Another day, another key vote. But no way, apparently, to engage Parliament’s forward gears. Has there in modern times been a more undistinguished House of Commons than the one we have today? Was ever Britain’s destiny at a time of national crisis reposed in such a band of nincompoops, know-nothings and nobodies?
Historians will refer back to the days of the Long Parliament (1640-1660) in search of a more enduring case of self-serving incompetence. For our grandparents, the House elected in 1935 that gave Neville Chamberlain a Tory majority of 242 might provide an alternative example of sustained ineptitude – though in that instance a certain Winston Churchill was poised to fill the void. But for the rest of us, it is the 650 MPs currently elected to the green benches of the Palace of Westminster who look destined to win the Oscar for Most Useless Representative Body of the twenty-first century.
Let me admit, though gritted teeth, that there are in fact individuals possessed of brains and common sense. Several might reasonably be thought brilliant, others patriotic beyond consideration of party. But just as the Metropolitan Police was once labelled institutionally racist, so the 2017 House of Commons, constructed on the shaky foundations of its 2015 predecessor, must be dubbed institutionally incompetent.