With the continuing Brexit mess unfolding in the House of Commons, can people around the world see our parliament as the Mother of Parliaments ever again?
Since the beginning of the year, the UK government has been held in contempt of parliament. It has also seen the biggest government lose on a piece of legislation. As the Prime Ministers Brexit deal, otherwise known as the Withdrawal Agreement was rejected by a whopping 230 votes.
So let us face it, the Mother of Parliaments looks a real mess over the Brexit issue. At the heart of it is the conflict between the sovereignty of the people vs sovereignty of the parliament. It does not help that we have an unwritten British constitution as it confers total sovereignty on parliament as the epitome of a representative democracy rather than a direct democracy. So it seats very uncomfortably with the notion of asking voters to make policy choices like it is done regularly in Switzerland. That is a representative democracy where we elect members to represent us on a host of issues not necessarily on a singular one like Brexit.
Now the process and manner of our democracy may not matter to us much as we make it up as we go along but it does leave many visitors of our democracy in the Commons perplexed on how we actually go about undertaking it. Indeed one member of Sarawak Assembly delegation who watched one of the Brexit sessions at the Commons from the public gallery said while we were entertaining them at the Chinese restaurant “May you live in interesting times”. The well known Chinese proverb or curse seen very appropriate indeed. All l could say was that you have certainly come to our shores in very interesting times.
So as and when this episode is eventually finished, the adoption of the Westminster model of parliamentary democracy and its practises by many countries around the world will be all the more unlikely. As many will look back over this period as a clear example of how not to run a democracy at all.