Get rid of parliamentary immunity

The most striking and frequently hot scene in any parliamentary debate is that of politicians pointing their manicured fingers at and accusing each other of, well, lying.

From time to time we get people on social media and the traditional Press appealing for the abolition of the parliamentary immunity that gives our MPs, of whichever side of the House, the right to say anything about you, including barefaced lies, without fear of any sort of legal retribution. For all the democratic values in the name of freedom and fair play, there is hardly ever a reaction. You see, MPs want to retain that privilege and you may as well dismiss the idea it could one day make it into an electoral manifesto.

So why bring it up? You see, Wales is reported to be introducing soon a ban on politcians lying through their teeth. Granted, not exactly an end to parliamentary immunity but certainly the most effective weapon that can be wielded against politicians of all shapes and sizes, as often come their lies on one another and on Joe Public. The most striking and frequently hot scene in any parliamentary debate is that of politicians pointing their manicured fingers at and accusing each other of, well, lying.

Our Renzo Piano-lustred parliamentary nest is not without its barefaced liars and as long as MPs are protected by the immunity privilege, they will continue to yarn untrue stories and to embroider grey-to-pink-to-red lies whenever politically convenient. From prime ministers, cabinet ministers, and civil servants to personal staff, canvassers, and close friends have, over the decades, been targeted and the practice persists. Families have been made to go through traumas and to face underserved utter disrepute thanks mainly to false accusations, not so subtle innuendos, and an abusive play of words by the very persons who go knocking on their doors at election time.

The Welsh, always the most practical of nations (if you’ve never read Jan Morris, the celebrated Welsh author, do so at your earliest), are instinctively aware of the need to stop the rot. In this very space we have already read how they continue to protect and promote their national language in every way possible. Now the Welsh government has committed itself to introducing legislation before 2026 which would mean Senedd (Parliament) members could be removed for knowingly misleading statements.

It means that members and electoral candidates found guilty of deliberate deception through an independent judicial process, will be disqualified. There is every possibility that were we to adopt the same principle, a hefty chunk of our MPs and electoral candidates would quickly go down the drain. Then you find politicians reacting negatively when people say that trust in what politicians across the globe has fallen to an all-time low.

Out comes, not so unexpectedly, the Conservative James Davies complaining the proposal had “the potential to undermine our parliamentary privilege.” Is it any wonder the Conservatives have been wiped out in Wales as a result of the recent UK elections? If you have the spreading of lies, false accusations, and all the scam work removed, you can enjoy what’s left of your privilege, Honourable gentleman.

Magyar message to Metsola?

There is no love lost between the European Union hammerheads and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. Not because of his established right-wing views, which they share, even if not publicly, after his decision to quit the EPP fraternity, but more because he is perceived as “a friend of Putin”.

In his comment on his recent visit to Kyiv, a decision taken badly by war-minded Brussels, Orbán seemed to be sending an obvious message to the EU hierarchy, in particular to the President of the European Parliament, our girl Roberta Metsola, who was of course free and uncriticised to travel more than once to Kyiv.

Orbán was quoted as saying: “When someone comes to Ukraine, it is easy to predict what will happen. Everyone applauds, saying that we are Ukraine, we are with you, this is our war, and so on. But you know, the Hungarian position is different. We don’t think this is our war. And Hungary’s interest is not in continuing the war, but in peace. And I try to represent Europe’s interests in a fair and objective way, which is different from what they usually did before.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy (right) and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán holding a meeting in Kyiv on 2nd July 2024. Photo: Zoltan Fischer/Hungarian PM’s Press Office/MTI via AP.

Sanctions or no sanctions

Tiny Malta and the other EU member states cannot deal commercially with Russia, all part of a US-imposed system of sanctions meant to bring Putin to his knees following the unfortunate invasion of Ukraine. That the net result so far has been an incredible growth of the Russian economy to the frustration of European nations that used to do huge business with Russia, is another facet to the story, but the very fact the inspiration of this sanctions affair has been exposed to still be dealing with Russia makes it a bigger farce.

It has just been revealed that the US, bow your heads Von der Leyen et al, has purchased uranium – not cabbages and potatoes – from Russia for a record amount. Last May the US significantly increased purchases of enriched uranium from Russia, reaching the highest levels since March last year. According to the US’s own Bureau of Statistics, the total value of uranium supplies hit the $209.5 million mark.

One assumes it is because it is almost impossible for the US to wean itself from enriched Russian uranium, more so since another top producer, Niger, has become an ally of Russia, having kicked the Americans out of there.
As for Europe, so dependent on electricity imports from the French nuclear network, there could be more trouble as the French have also lost their cheap source of uranium from Africa.

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