Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Why should Parliament come before Today?

I've started blogging at the new Public Finance blog in addition to my posts here. In my first posting, I challenge the notion that Parliament really should have priority over Today for those ministerial announcements.

The modernising new Speaker John Bercow has a lot going for him. He has successfully overseen his first Prime Ministers’ Questions, earning plaudits for his timely interventions and brisk business-like manner. But in his short post-PMQs statement he repeated one pronouncement that suggests a parliament not yet in the modern world and not yet in tune with the wider public.

Bercow plans to enforce the convention that ministers should make their announcements strictly to Parliament and not on the Today programme. This means that ordinary people with a job won’t hear it – and may not even hear about it, as its news prominence could be lost. It also leaves ministers and their morning interviewers in an unsatisfactory tussle that can only damage politics further.

Surely, it is more important for the good of politics that the six million listeners to the Today programme and the several million viewers of breakfast TV hear about matters that affect them ahead of 650 MPs and the few hundred thousand viewers of the Daily Politics?

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