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Dom Mooney's Website

They Work for You!

In my heart, I believe deeply in the parliamentary processes that we have in the UK. So, whilst part of me feels a visceral thrill as MPs left, right and centre are outed as having lost their moral compasses, another part of me winces at the hurt that it is doing to the processes and the reputation of our representatives.

Trust is a difficult thing to recover once it is lost, and I have yet to see a proposal that gives a route to regain it anytime quickly. It’s clear the stables need a good clean, but the stench will last for a long time. Those that weren’t at the trough have been stained by those who were. As our society has increasingly moved to one which seeks divorce rather than reconciliation, I don’t think the reputation of our elected representatives will recover any time soon, as people will be hungry for them to go rather than make amends.

Anyway, if you are interested in what is actually happening in parliament, rather than what the media feels is important about what is happening, then I commend TheyWorkForYou.com to you. It is a website run by a charity – mysociety.org – which seeks to promote democracy. You may be aware of the petition system at the Number 10 website; this was one of their projects. Anyway, TheyWorkForYou.com allows you to find your local MP, examine their voting record, see the speeches that they’ve made, and generally be more informed about what they do against what they say they do.

As an example, I know that my local MP (Colin Burgon, to retire at next election) asked questions on Cuba and other topics most recently. I also know his voting record:

How Colin Burgon voted on key issues since 2001:
  • Voted moderately against a transparent Parliament. votes, speeches
  • Voted moderately for introducing a smoking ban. votes, speeches
  • Voted strongly for introducing ID cards. votes, speeches
  • Voted moderately against introducing foundation hospitals. votes, speeches
  • Voted moderately against introducing student top-up fees. votes, speeches
  • Voted strongly for Labour's anti-terrorism laws. votes, speeches
  • Voted very strongly for the Iraq war. votes, speeches
  • Voted very strongly against an investigation into the Iraq war. votes, speeches
  • Voted very strongly against replacing Trident. votes, speeches
  • Voted very strongly for the hunting ban. votes, speeches
  • Voted very strongly for qual gay rights. votes, speeches
  • Voted moderately for laws to stop climate change. votes, speeches
  • Sometimes rebels against their party in this parliament.

The actual figures are there as well. And the summary of their expenses, albeit not as detailed as the Telegraph has been presenting.

Visit this site and understand what your representative is doing!

A final note; earlier this week, I heard a government minister doing something that I feel is unforgivable on Today, Radio 4’s news programme. When challenged on whether the UK Parliament should dissolve itself and hold a general election as members across all sides of the house had been dishonourable, she replied that this wasn’t necessary, as there was an election at the start of June.

But that election has nothing to do with MP’s expenses; it is about our local services and about how we are represented in Europe. Nothing you do at that election will change Westminster or punish those who have their snouts in the trough. Bear that in mind when you chose who to vote for; what is the best for you and your family? This isn’t the time to punish the MPs who have erred; that will come sometime in the next 12 months. Don’t let them divert the blame!