Sleep An Oc­cu­pa­tional Haz­ard for All MPs ?

The Economic Times - - The Edit Page Longer Lifespan -

In­dia may have based its bi­cam­eral sys­tem of democ­racy on the West­min­ster model, but our honourable Mem­bers of Par­lia­ment are cer­tainly more en­er­getic — al­beit not al­ways in the man­ner their vot­ers may ex­pect — than their coun­ter­parts at least in Bri­tain’s up­per house. In a soon-to-be-re­leased TV doc­u­men­tary, a Bri­tish par­lia­men­tar­ian has con­tended that many of his 804 fel­low mem­bers of the House of Lords col­lect their £300 daily al­lowance but con­trib­ute prac­ti­cally noth­ing to the pro­ceed­ings. And yet an­other has pro­nounced it to be the “best day­care cen­tre for the el­derly in Lon­don”, com­plete with snooz­ing ar­eas and sub­sidised food. In In­dia, while the is­sue of sub­sidised food in Par­lia­ment has pe­ri­od­i­cally caused heart­burn in some quar­ters, the ad­vent of live TV cov­er­age in par­tic­u­lar has cer­tainly done much to keep mem­bers’ eyes open, and also spur them to ac­tion — by walk­ing out — more en­thu­si­as­ti­cally than their Bri­tish coun­ter­parts. En­act­ing leg­is­la­tion can­not pos­si­bly keep MPs en­grossed for en­tire ses­sions. And de­bates on ‘live top­ics’ con­ducted out­side the House of­ten give them more in­di­vid­ual TV time to vent any­way. So the Bri­tish par­lia­men­tar­ian’s ac­cu­sa­tion that MPs do not “con­trib­ute” to the House should oc­ca­sion a relook at what ex­actly that word en­tails now.

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