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The Whig illusion

The fashionable Whig view that the executive is secretive and tyrannical and the House of Commons impotent is nonsense. That does not mean that all is well with our parliamentary system or our MPs

By Douglas Hurd   February 1997

Those of us who instinctively oppose mechanistic constitutional change should not delude ourselves into supposing that all is well with our parliamentary system. Parliament and politicians attract less interest and respect than they did in the past. This is not necessarily a disaster except to those for whom politics are all important. Politics and political leadership are most important in times of disaster. A war, a slump, a civil commotion bring forth a Churchill, a Roosevelt or a de Gaulle. When by contrast, as now, a country is reasonably prosperous and safer than for many years, the political process seems…

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