Monday, 16 May 2011

Is there room in the House for back benchers?

  It's crazy but great fun. The smaller you are the bigger you want to be, like this notion of having backbenchers in our mini Parliament.
  I remember our Parliament had 15-seats, I think. Now, we have 17. And they want to make it bigger. Where would they put the backbenchers, down in the Piazza?
  And how big is big in these days of grandeur. I suppose we could squeeze a couple behind the government and another couple behind the opposition, but is there more space in the House?
  Another point is whether having backbenchers would work in Gibraltar, which is the place where people are afraid to criticise the government in public. Would they criticise the Government from a back bench? If they did so, how long would they last before they were promoted to be a I-see nothing-I hear nothing minister?
  It must also be considered that the more fronts and backs we have, the more the number of candidates we would need to vote for. It's bad enough having to remember who are the 10 you have to vote for at present.
  It is UK practice that there be more back benchers than ministers. If we follow that practice would be have over 17 backbenchers. Where do we draw the line?


  1. If we are going to have backbencers there is a lot of work to do. Will they have to vote according to party affiliation, will there be free votes for them?
    In Britain one often hears of backbenchers belonging to the Government party voting against the Government; and one also hears of backbenchers of the Opposition parties also voting against the Opposition.
    Unless they have this sort of freedom, it would be a waste of time to have backbenchers. And who would want to be a muzzled backbenchers?

  2. Backbenchers? Surely what is required is a system of parliament that allows for total transparency, checks and balances and the ability to keep a watchful eye on ministers, since it is ministers who have the power to do or not to do.
    However, since in Gibraltar not even development and planning is carried out in the full glare of the public, how can anyone expect anything else to get that kind of treatment?
    There is so much more that can be said, objectively and in a spirit of debate and achieving a better politican environment for Gibraltar. What do others think?