There are several reasons why the House performs its critical functions so poorly, but partisan politics in the House is not one of them. Partisanship is to robust democratic politics what competition is to an open economic marketplace. Partisanship flows from the fundamental democratic right to have one’s own political views, to organize politically with others of similar views, and, most important, to stand in opposition to others, whether these others are in power or not, and in the majority or not. This is why the opposition to the government in the British parliamentary system is called the “Loyal Opposition.” In opposing the government, it is not committing sedition, treason, or subversion against the state. On the contrary, it is performing a crucial democratic function. The opposition is recognized as legitimate in its criticism of the government.
Beyond The Commons
Aaron Wherry covers all the goings-on in and around Parliament Hill. Follow Aaron on Twitter: @aaronwherry