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Keep on whipping

The Power inquiry suggestion of reducing the power of whips is populist and wrong

By Greg Power   April 2006

The Power inquiry—the recent Joseph Rowntree Trust-funded inquiry into the failings of British democracy—suggests that parliament is toothless and ineffectual. This may resonate with a sceptical electorate, but it is an assumption that is out of date and misleading. And it highlights a flaw at the heart of this potentially important report—the assumption that highlighting public concern about politics and politicians is the same as identifying the real weaknesses in our institutions. By concentrating too much on what the public thinks is wrong, the report draws some wayward conclusions.

This is especially evident in its treatment of parliament, and most…

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