His entire column is good, but the last 2 paragraphs are, or at least should be, a punch in the gut to anyone who thinks that Parliamentary processes are archaic niceties, or for that matter, that the Conservatives care about how taxpayer money is spent. 

Had Parliament been given the costing information it demanded, we might have been in a better position to judge who was right, the government or its critics — before the last election, not after. Remember, it was the government’s refusal to provide just this information that was, in part, the reason for the motion of no-confidence that precipitated the election.

So this is also what comes of Parliament’s prerogatives, its powers to hold ministers to account, being ignored or overridden. These aren’t procedural niceties, of concern only to constitutional law professors — “process issues,” as more than one member of the press gallery sneered at the time. They’re the vital bulwarks of self-government, the only means we have of ensuring our wishes are obeyed and our money isn’t wasted.

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05 April 2012