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Friday 16 October 2009

Bring Me Sunlight – 2

The Sunlight Centre for Open Politics has published a report which they hope will stop abuse of the Parliamentary expenses system. The foreword has been written by Douglas Carswell MP. Who he?

Carswell is one of the 2005 intake of Tory newcomers, and sits for the constituency of Harwich and Clacton. With a majority of less than a thousand, you might think that he would be diligent (which he certainly appears to be) and non-controversial (which he certainly is not). He has co-authored a book called The Plan, which modestly claims the strapline “Twelve months to renew Britain”, with our friend Dan, Dan the Oratory Man. He’s into “localism”, but whether that influence can work on a Cameron Government is unclear: letting go of power has not, in recent years, come easily to either party when elected.

So what kind of opinions does Doug have on offer? We can get a good sample by looking in on his blog, which he updates regularly. And three strands are quickly made apparent.

Doug doesn’t like the EU. Moreover, he doesn’t want folks to become knowledgeable about it: he’s dead set against the idea of children being taught about it, and has labelled an MEP who has put forward the idea an “extremist”. I find it fascinating how those who are most screamingly anti-EU are also hell bent on folks not getting any kind of information about it. What’s he frightened of?

Whatever. Let’s plough on. Home education. Doug’s hot on that. He gets lots of flattering comments on the subject, but I’m not sure. Part of going to school is that you learn to interact with others, and experience the outside world, and all the good, bad and indifferent things it has to offer. Cramming kids at home to pass a range of exams doesn’t equip them for figuring out anything beyond the front door.

But you have to be a little more persistent to get to the real pearl of Carswell wisdom, which is climate change. He doesn’t believe in it – well, not the man made variety, anyhow. Brave bloke, given the area he represents. Which part of receding Arctic ice, increased frequency of Thames Barrier raising, and changing climate patterns he doesn’t understand I don’t know, but one thing I do: it’s the BBC’s fault.

So, in summary, this warrior for greater transparency doesn’t want it to extend to finding out about the EU, doesn’t want views on the environment put forward unless their balance has his approval, and wants children to have an alternative to the real world.

Yeah, right.

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