Last week I mentioned how to improve our democracy a hemisphere parliamentary chamber, along with a Separation of Power, would be an important ingredient.
Today in the papers, through the release of government papers, I read that the Lib Dem leader Paddy Ashdown wanted to redesign the Commons chamber into a hemisphere as symbol of his party's joint reform agenda with New Labour. He was keen to expand cooperation between the two parties - dubbed 'The Project' - following Blair's 1997 election win.
He wrote to the PM explaining his belief that reshaping the chamber, as a hemisphere, would recognise the new culture of 'consultation, pluralism and debate' which he hoped to inaugurate.
Not surprisingly it met with little enthusiasm in No 10. Jonathan Powell wrote to Blair; ' I can't believe he has proposed a hemispherical Commons. Are you sure you want to go ahead with this project?'
We of course now know the answer to that question.
In and around the whole question of our third demand 'A Separation of Power' it is really important to grasp the constitutional role of an MP, which is to make and scrutinize laws, and realise the role they currently perform, of glorified constituency social worker, is not what they are paid to do.
Much if not all current MP's constituencey work load should be carried out by enhanced local politicians (our second demand - Real Local Government) leaving MPs to concentrate on national issues and holding the executive to account.
Having a hemisphere shaped chamber would be a clear sign that our democracy was open to real reform.