That’s what I labeled the behavior in the House of Commons in my last post and things have got even worse since.
The House of Commons is an arena to discuss, debate and challenge the decisions of the government but with our own Prime Minister making ‘Yo moma’ jokes, MPs seem to have lost sight of what they are paid £75,000 a year to do, and this is harming the public’s view of politics.
I am not claiming that all sessions in the House of Commons are bad, I know that most of the time the House isn’t full and the atmosphere is not as partisan. However quite often the house erupts into jeering, paper waving, micky taking mayhem, especially at Prime Ministers questions (PMQs). I know this is something we have grown to expect from PMQs and is one reason why it gets so much media coverage, but I feel it has gone too far and something must be done to preserve productive politics.
In last Wednesday’s PMQs a ‘Yo moma’ joke made from the opposition benches caused the Prime Minister to tell Jeremy Corbyn to ‘put on a proper suit, do up your tie, and sing the national anthem’ As entertaining as this clip may have been to the millions who viewed it on the news and on social media, the fact remains that this took up two minutes of the thirty minute period the opposition has to hold the government to account each week. As well as appearance being totally unrelated to how well a person can carryout their job, this seems like a remarkable waste of time, when put into context.
To add more context to this issue, if I behaved in a similar manner, by throwing paper as I shouted jibes at my fellow students in a lesson at college, I would be given some rather heavy punishments. So when did it become OK for MPs to act in this way? Especially when they have a country to run.
I feel this is a reason why many people are becoming more and more disconnected from politics. When you see the majority white, middle aged, male population of the Commons it is easy to understand why many feel they are not represented well enough, and then when their MP or Prime Minister appears on the news making ‘Yo moma’ jokes, while his colleagues cheer him on, you can’t blame 34% of the public for not voting, a key part of political participation.
This is an issue raised by Jeremy Cobryn shortly after his election as Labour leader and it doesn’t seem to have had much effect. So the hope that I can have an impact is relatively small, but I hope I may influence you so that when you next feel frustrated by the behavior of MPs in the Commons, you will not turn a blind eye but say you are not happy with their conduct and force a change in attitude from the people who work for you.