Saturday, April 9, 2011

What a good show Parliament that works!

The Question Hour which is held regularly in the House of Commons in London, is an occasion when MPs of the United Kingdom may have a direct confrontation with members of the executive. It is a good idea of the British Parliament who think that government should be accountable for all policy and be prepared to justify it.

The Italian equivalent is the parliamentary questions. Generally, an empty ritual, a set of big words and concepts that are broadcast by Rai disconnected on Wednesday afternoon, where it is shown semi-deserted classroom in which the present doze or make believe, with poor results, to be interested in the discussion.

What happens during these sessions in our country does not hardly news. All this also follows a very rigid structure: who asks the question has one minute to display it, the respondent has up to three minutes to do el'interrogante subsequently another two minutes to respond. Further tedium is then added by the very limited focus of the protagonists of the debate by reading their speeches.

Instead Westiminster works differently. Unless unavoidable commitments, every Wednesday the prime minister to submit it for half an hour pressing questions of the members of parliament. The first time I saw on BBC News the time of Questions to the Prime Minister (questions to the Prime Minister), I was even surprised by the manner in which it held that 800 was a practice already well established.

Attending the Question time is not at all boring, and often the verbal confrontations that develop during the session can capture the attention of the media and public opinion. The debate is moderated by the Speaker of the Commons, who, as president of the Chamber receives requests of parliamentarians and prepares the agenda of the session with a ladder.

The Prime Minister is therefore aware of the questions, similar to what happens in Italy. But the similarities seem to stop here. The initial question, in fact, has a general application whose appearance is intended to achieve two objectives. Meanwhile, to make sure that the premier can update the Assembly on the work in progress, and then the "test" its ability to respond promptly and expertise about a topic not "mixed." If the introductory question is usually made by opposition leaders, or "shadow prime minister", the other vengonovia away from the parliamentary opposition as much of that majority.

That's why the debate is streamlined, dynamic, free of interventions, understandable and not sunk into the abyss of political jargon. There is prepared on the subjects and their contents, not the form in which expose them to sweeten them and make them more salable to the public. The debate is on, the debate is fierce, but there is a sense of humor, spontaneity, participation and there is a Prime Minister prepared, alert and at the forefront in giving an account of government projects he directs.

But the key is that the confrontation between the parties is direct, without intermediaries, so that the media are the vehicle of words of power to the people, the main recipient of the call. The cameras can not be reduced to being a mere conduit for exchanging insults and declarations, hot lights or a lounge in which to advertise and slicked imparruccati.

I tried a variety of shapes, "Westminster model" applied to the Italian political scenario. Unfortunately, the image that came to my mind more or less corresponds to that of an incompetent teacher who asks a student is unprepared while his companions throw balls of paper. Luca Russo, an Italian journalist in London

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