It is a widely held perception that most parliamentarians are not honest people. It is widely believed that the parliamentarians are often not honest to the people who sent them to parliament. This is where many people hold the belief that the parliamentarians don’t really represent them and their aspirations. Yet ideally, in a republican system, the parliamentarians are supposed to represent the views and aspirations of the people who elect them. We also have people who hold the view that the parliamentarians are actually crooks, who get paid by lobbyists to pass laws that favor the lobbyists interests (often at the expense of ‘the peoples’ interests).
Against that background, a question comes up, as to what can be done to promote parliamentary honesty. I have agonized over this question for quite a while, and I have come up with several suggestions. These suggestions are, in other words, strategies that can be used to promote parliamentary honesty.
Firstly, if we wish to achieve parliamentary honesty, it is critical (and this should really be a matter of common sense) that we elect truly honorable people: people who are likely to be honest. It is important for the electorate to look beyond parliamentary candidates’ rhetoric. It is important that the records of all people aspiring for parliamentary seats be examined closely. It is important to ensure that the vetting process for parliamentary candidates is thorough.
Secondly, if we wish to achieve parliamentary honesty, it is critical that we put in place strict oversight mechanisms for the parliamentarians. The ‘recall’ clauses should be put into use, whenever constituents feel that their parliamentary representatives are not being honest. Thus, parliamentarians who fail the honesty test should be recalled.
Thirdly, if we wish to achieve parliamentary honesty, it is important to put in place stringent campaign financing laws. The idea would be to ensure that campaign financing is done using clean money – and not money from people who have vested interests. If you allow people with vested interests to finance campaigns, you shouldn’t be surprised when the same people attempt to subvert the parliamentarians’ honesty.