Welcome to Question Time
Historically, the American people have been rather engaged in who they seat at the head of their government. Their policies, expertise, background and involvement with other countries are top priorities when it comes to subject of interest and speaking points. However, once voted into office, these issues are still widely talked about, depending on the direction the President takes them. George W. Bush was praised for sending troops into Iraq post 9/11, but nearing the end of his presidency received negative feedback about how long they had stayed. Although the country’s people griped, pleaded and protested, only the one with the power to remove those troops from this foreign land had a true say. This way of operating, like a CEO with absolute power and no board or committee to offer supplementary power sources, is dangerous and one we have seen before. In fact, it is one we had freed ourselves from in the 1700’s. Seen again recently with the Obama administration, in looking to veto the decision to sue Saudi Arabia for their alleged part in that tragic attack. True, this decision underwent major scrutiny, but only by those with no say, like news channels and social media hounds. So what if there were a way to put these policy decisions under a microscope, to ask the tough questions, to make the most powerful leader in the world really think and explain on why he chose that avenue?
This is how the Parliament of the Parliament operates, utilizing a notion called “Question Time”. It holds leaders accountable for their actions and choices through questions, formatted much like a town hall and a panel combination. The Question Time format holds qualities such as audience questioning, panel commentary and leaders engaging with both audience in the studio and those watching through questions of the panel. The panel is comprised of politicians, community leaders and other famous names in that jurisdiction, and of course a moderator. Each session of Question Time is held for a specific dominion, a township or city. They mostly speak about a policy choices made by politicians and how they could have or will turn out better, just as panels in the United States do on famous news networks like CNN or Fox. The main difference is the correspondents in the panels are not insourced from an affiliated channel. They convey their own opinions and converse with the crowd, sometimes seen even arguing their point to each other. This is run by the House of the Commons, unlike the House of the Lords, who are made to represent the people of the country. Their primary goal is to convey the interests of the big government to the lower end of the hierarchy while at the same time, doing the same for the British people to the upper levels of British Parliament. The purpose of this setup is to give people, in their small townships, a voice that leadership is able to hear and react accordingly. In the creation of this small gesture to the lower end of the hierarchy of the British government, people seem to be more engaged and understood by the looming hand of big government. Is this better than what the United States has to offer to listen to the many?
I’m sure some would see this as a viable option to use in the United States. I mean, what’s not to like about connecting with your communities, letting the little guy have their voice heard and having policies scrutinized at a more local level? It would surely relive the strain on Washington, as voters this election cycle weigh down with unfriendly analysis to say the least by removing the political separation that Washington has used to unknowingly stain itself over the past decade. If implemented in the United States, this would certainly have a positive effect on politicians, so why aren’t we doing this?
It seems American politics differs from British politics when it comes to the relationship between its local and federal government. Because the Fed couldn’t have absolute control over this transaction between the people, it will remain as town halls and debates between political names. However, if there is a way to come to a compromise on a situation like this how do the local, state, and federal governments communicate the best possible way to hold their leaders accountable for the actions they make; some good, some bad? You decide.