The House of Commons has turned into the highest internet chatroom in the land. The economy is in real trouble, there are numerous national and international issues that our elected representatives should be turning their collective wisdom to and what are they obsessing about? Moderation.
Look at any chatroom worthy of its name and every now and again, more often than not, you’ll find that chatters turn to criticising the moderator and bemoaning how the forum either a) used to be much better than it is now or b) that recent events mean the future of the forum is in jeopardy.
In these discussions, as in the Commons, the tone is grave. Long-serving members pipe up and share their pearls of wisdom and dust-off ancient, long-forgotten incidents and examples. Discussion focusses on minutiae or the process: “We must be allowed to discuss the problems. Only three hours? Whatever happened to the freedom of speech? We’re being censored!” The moderator, like the Speaker, is almost entirely superfluous to the discussion and can only look on.
And, of course, to the casual observer (the outsider), it’s all rather perplexing and seems blown out of proportion: “aren’t there more important matters to consider?” The forum regular disagrees: “if you think that, you just don’t understand.”