House on dead-end street

I am no longer a living entity. I am simply an inert instrument, to be used when convenient. If someone dares point out that I am not functioning as I should, my members will all get teary-eyed. They will declaim with great majesty that Parliament represents the nation, that every caste and creed, faith and ideology finds its expression through this majestic body, which then coheres this cacophony into the will of the nation.

I am begging you not to buy this facade. Just to keep it up, they may even have one debate tomorrow, maybe on FDI. But it will be more a display of triumphant opportunism than a homage to argumentative integrity. You will all be so relieved that at least something has happened. But don't mistake an occasional movement for signs of life. No artificial pumping up can do away with the feeling I have on the inside: the infection is too deeply spread; the culture of revenge and disruption will be repeated again and again; the attention to detail will fall by the wayside; financial accountability, whether on issues like the deficit or the character of spending, will largely be absent; legislation will be passed without discussion; committees will have more bonhomie than effectiveness; all the large opportunities will pass us by.

I wonder if I can be revived. Many doctors tell me that there is nothing intrinsically wrong with me. All that we need to do is stop the slow poison I am being fed daily. But such is my tragedy that the MPs are both my executioners and my potential saviours. Which will they decide to be? I cannot tell. All I know is I am dying. I am beginning to think of my epitaph. But I give up. Even that will require parliamentary approval. Fat chance of getting that.

... contd.

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