Honourable Friends?: Parliament and the Fight for Change
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Whether you support the Green Party or not (I do!), Honourable Friends? is a fascinating read as it illuminates the wasteful and frankly ridiculously old-fashioned way business is done at Westminster. In this memoir of her first years as an MP, Lucas describes her experiences and exasperations at trying to do a challenging job in an environment patently unsuited to twenty-first century politics. She is essentially an outsider in an exclusive club which allows her a unique viewpoint, and I enjoyed her easily accessible writing style and frequent humour. Did you know that new MPs often have to wait up to two weeks before being allocated an office after each election because of petty bickering about who is 'entitled' to the 'best' space? In the meantime they are camped out in corridors and cafes. I was horrified to think that my MP might be discussing sensitive constituent information in such circumstances!
On a personal level Lucas explains the root of her political beliefs and demonstrates how, as an MP, she continuously fights to get basic messages of change and fairness heard and acted upon. She talks about the NHS, campaigning against Page 3 sexism, fracking and her arrest during a protest. However, as much as I admire Caroline Lucas and her adherence to her strong principles, the most memorable episodes of Honourable Friends? for me were the examples of ludicrous political practice and the continued refusal of Westminster to modernise. Why do MPs still run to a lobby when they could more efficiently vote electronically? Why are MPs with particular expertise excluded from committees where their knowledge could add real value to discussions? Why is it still considered acceptable to waste House time filibustering instead of actually debating? In my opinion Britain needs lots more principled MPs like Lucas who will fight archaic methods and her words in this memoir enthused me to continue and redouble my efforts supporting the Green Party.
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