The accountability of our MPs is far from clear. They are re-elected every 5 years, but due to the way in which General Elections are held the Political Parties and their messages generally get heard much stronger than those from the local candidates. This is arguably one of the reasons why so few Independent and small Party candidates ever get through the first past the post system. So the extent to which my vote really sends a message to anyone is questionable. Last nights BBC Radio Moral Maze programme included one speaker who argued that our vote was less likely to make a difference than the risk we were involved in an accident on the way to the polling station. None of this is encouraging. However if our MPs are barely accountable to us, how much less the Ministers who are all selected by a small subset of the Political Party. Yet these are the people who have the power to stand up and speak and create headlines and change policy. One example of this is the work of the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Liz Truss.
Last October she spoke to a conference of farmers that they would no longer receive agricultural subsidies for land that had solar power on, saying the “ugly” panels were “a blight on the countryside and villages” and were pushing production of meat and produce overseas. “I am committed to food production in this country and it makes my heart sink to see row upon row of solar panels where once there was a field of wheat or grassland for livestock to graze,” she said. However a Freedom of Information enquiry to environment department officials has shown through private correspondence and documents that they hold no data on the land covered in England by solar panels; they have no idea how much they will save in agricultural subsidies through the change; and the claim that solar power is harming food production does not stack up. Now if she worked for you or I we might call her into our office, so to speak to explain why she has made such dishonest statements and damaged the reputation of a vital source of power in our nation, along with the reputation of our Government. Sending her back to the back benches for incompetence is clearly one of the options open to a Prime Minister. The problem for us is that the Prime Minister who really does have the power to do all that is the same person who stood on a Husky Sledge and promised that if we voted blue we would get Green. So there you have it, two Liars who have no respect for you or I, and neither of them accountable in their work to anyone, certainly not the environment.