Friday, July 10, 2009

Supporting ex-servicemen is a fickle business

As I posted earlier on this week, there is a campaign to scrap, or at least reform, Early Day Motions because they waste massive amounts of public money and rarely produce anything meaningful, and sometimes talk about things no one really cares about.

The BBC World at One picked up on this which can be listened to here, where Jon Shepard spoke about the campaign. One of the interesting things in the piece is that quite a few MPs that signed the 10p tax rate EDM attacking the Government actually voted the other way on the issue in Parliament. Who'd have thought they'd be so fickle huh?

Whilst we're on the subject of fickleness by MPs about the causes they choose support through the Early Day Motion system there is a very good example on the issue of pensions to ex-servicemen and women. Over the past three years, the Labour MP Colin Challen has tabled the following motion in each session,
That this House believes that all ex-servicemen and women should be treated equally in the payment of pensions, regardless of when they served in Her Majesty's armed forces.
When he tabled it in the 2006/07 session it received large support with 217 signatures. When it got tabled in the 2007/08 session it only managed 189 signatures, many new but lots of others deserted the cause.

Now, in the 2008/09 session the support for the motion has fallen dramatically down to just 96 signatures. Makes you wonder what they really think about the issue doesn't it? What's more it highlights the sheer impotence of EDMs.

For three sessions this EDM has been tabled, and each year the issue doesn't get addressed, and each year the support for it falls by the wayside. If ever there was a good example and reason for change then this is surely it.

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