Political Reform

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  • Boundary Changes: Should there be less MPs?

    Revised proposals for the shape of parliamentary seats at the next general election have been published.

    The proposed constituency boundaries in England, Scotland and Wales have been drawn up on the basis the total number of MPs will be cut from 650 to 600.

    I don't know if this latest proposal effects my area or not, but in the last round of boundary changes, my town lost its own MP. We now share a MP with a neighbouring town and in my borough as a whole, we only have two MPs now serving about eighty thousand people and one of those MP's also serves a town in a neighbouring borough due to one of their MPs being axed.


    Should there be more boundary changes with the intention of reducing the MPs from their current number of 650 down to 600?

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  • I guess it will all come down to who the boundary changes favour, Tories or Labour, they may even favour democracy but I doubt it.

    Young boys in the park jumpers for goalpost that's what footballs all about isn't it.

  • The absurdity of having no seats for MP's to sit in must change , either fundamentally change the chambers which will not happen due to its heritage status or lower the numbers so they can all be seated.

  • I guess it will all come down to who the boundary changes favour, Tories or Labour, they may even favour democracy but I doubt it.

    When we lost out local MP, it was a Conservative.


    I think as England is predominately Conservative, beyond the main cities and ex-industrial northern towns, then any change can ultimately only benefit the Conservatives. They can knock out some Labour seats by slicing them in half and merging them into Conservative areas.

    The absurdity of having no seats for MP's to sit in must change , either fundamentally change the chambers which will not happen due to its heritage status or lower the numbers so they can all be seated.

    I look at the Scottish parliament with envy on this very point.


    Having MPs sit on the floor or stairs is ridiculous. I've said before (and with Westminster undergoing repairs) that now would be a good time to abandon the Houses of Parliament altogether.


    It may have been fit for purpose centuries ago, but in a modern age of air conditioning and electric and fibre optic cables, the complex isn't up to the task.


    Every MP should have a desk, with a computer on it and don't even get me started about the voting. Totally pathetic. Having to leave the chamber to vote which takes at least 20 minutes for each vote is inefficient and absurd. MP's should be able to press a button on their desks with the results showing on displays within one minute.

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  • I think as England is predominately Conservative, beyond the main cities and ex-industrial northern towns, then any change can ultimately only benefit the Conservatives. They can knock out some Labour seats by slicing them in half and merging them into Conservative areas.

    So definitely not being done to favour democracy then, but then nothing ever is.

    Young boys in the park jumpers for goalpost that's what footballs all about isn't it.

  • MPs to debate 'scrap first-past-the-post' call

    Another bid to scrap the UK's first-past-the-post voting system will be debated by MPs on Monday.

    More than 100,000 people signed a petition to adopt proportional representation for general elections.

    Campaigners argue that the current system is meant to deliver decisive results but the 2010 and 2017 general elections resulted in hung parliaments.

    The government says the 2011 AV referendum shows the public do not want to change first- past-the-post.

    Under first-past-the-post (FPTP), the candidate who receives the most votes in a local constituency wins a seat in the House of Commons.

    I would definitely prefer a first post the post system so we can a better balanced parliament more representative of the wishes of the people. I know it can lead to hold ups in getting some legislation through but with PR views are better balanced and we can stop the extremism from all sides. When alliances and compromises have to be made, we can get better balanced policies by agreement.


    The AV referendum was lost because people allowed themselves to be convinced that they themselves could not be trusted to count up to four.

  • I would definitely prefer a first post the post system so we can a better balanced parliament more representative of the wishes of the people. I know it can lead to hold ups in getting some legislation through but with PR views are better balanced and we can stop the extremism from all sides. When alliances and compromises have to be made, we can get better balanced policies by agreement.


    The AV referendum was lost because people allowed themselves to be convinced that they themselves could not be trusted to count up to four.

    I would vote for First Past The Post. The current behaviour of our MP's over Brexit has convinced me enough that they would be unbearable in a situation where thrashing out coalition agreements were necessary. They only act for the good of themselves, not the country. And, what would be the point of manifestos? What would we actually be voting for?

  • I would definitely prefer a first post the post system so we can a better balanced parliament more representative of the wishes of the people. I know it can lead to hold ups in getting some legislation through but with PR views are better balanced and we can stop the extremism from all sides. When alliances and compromises have to be made, we can get better balanced policies by agreement.


    The AV referendum was lost because people allowed themselves to be convinced that they themselves could not be trusted to count up to four.

    You've lost me there, Morgan.


    Are you in favour of the current system or would your prefer proportional representation? In your post, it appears you favour both, which is fair enough, but totally unworkable!


    I would vote for First Past The Post. The current behaviour of our MP's over Brexit has convinced me enough that they would be unbearable in a situation where thrashing out coalition agreements were necessary. They only act for the good of themselves, not the country. And, what would be the point of manifestos? What would we actually be voting for?

    I've always sneered at proportion representation, but when we had the Conservative/Lib Dem coalition, policy had to be agreed by the two parties which involved four people: Cameron, Osbourne, Clegg and Danny Alexander.


    After President Blair and the person who came after him, it was a pleasant change.


    I the manifestos point is a good one, I shall ponder that further.


    I want reform of parliament and this thread will now forum part of a series on that very subject.:)

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  • Quote

    You've lost me there, Morgan.


    Are you in favour of the current system or would your prefer proportional representation? In your post, it appears you favour both, which is fair enough, but totally unworkable!

    Sorry. Brain dead morning. :rolleyes: .My opening words should have been "I would definitely prefer a proportional representation system."

  • It is bad for democracy that in reality only two parties stand any real chance of ever forming a government, in fact it does seem to be going the way that only one party at present can gain a majority that allows it to form a government.

    Young boys in the park jumpers for goalpost that's what footballs all about isn't it.

  • British politics has never been more in need of reform.


    For generations, the Blue/Red swap-shop cycle of governments has left us, in 2018, with two FAILED, overpowering big parties. The public have never been so keen on a change to Proportional Representation - which would mean that EVERYONE'S vote was of equal worth - whatever the constituency they reside in.


    The public are, in recent polls, now largely IN FAVOUR of a switch to FULL PR for UK Local and General Elections.


    We must make a REFERENDUM ON CHANGING TO FULL PR FROM FPP the next big constitutional campaign in the UK.

  • 100% agree, but the majority of MP's are Labour or Tory, and they won't give away the inbuilt advantage of FPTP without a huge amount of pressure.


    We were given a referendum on AV (Alternate vote) but that's just another version of FPTP. We want PR. The threat that is regularly rolled out is that PR would lead to coalition governments. I see that as a good thing. It means that minority parties will be guaranteed some seats so will be more in line with the wishes of the electorate. It also means that each political proposal has to convince the other MP's in the coalition of the benefits of their policies, therefore it reduces extremes and prevents stupid ideas that may be whipped through a majority government. The down side is that our politicians (regardless of party) are unable to work together for the benefit of the country and prefer to spend their time point scoring and slagging off the opposition.

    Mark Twain — 'Never argue with an idiot. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.'

  • Trouble with PR is you will nearly always get a fudge government , hamstrung by having to be a coalition, our present system is far from perfect but the biggest party will virtually never , ever get it's manifesto through .

    I would not oppose a system where the biggest party got main policy veto on a set amount of occasions but parties should get the MP's their % share permits.

  • I think your barking up the wrong tree. In my view the bigger problem is that we have a decision making boardroom of 650 MP's. It is hopeless trying to get decisions made whether with a boardroom composed of directors who are FPTP or an outcome of a coalition or proportional representation, or weighting of 1st, 2nd and 3rd choices (like that crazy end of year tennis tournament at the O2 arena, where even towards the last few matches the commentators can't figure out who is ahead or still in contention).


    The reality of the present house of commons is that it's still 650 weasels in a sack fighting for their own survival and willing to form allegiances to further their own ambitions, or chance of survival, or personality self-promotion, invariably with those motivations outweighing points of personal conviction for the greater good of country.


    By all means run an election for a winner in each of the 650 constituencies but limit their jurisdiction to the constituency and its wards and parishes and polling districts, for which there are already local government elections for councillors etc. Only then provide upward scope for the constituency elected winners to (also) oversea a cluster of adjoining constituencies, ie regions. Those who rise to that regional position through merit and voter approval will, after a reasonable innings, make their next step, to rise up the pyramid to be amidst a small select and elected group who run central government.


    At this exalted stage the identity of their political origins and Left vs Right orientation would and should cease to be relevant. What a relief to get rid of that tedious partisanship. This dynamic board of directors would have an equal vote in making decisions. Their chairman would be Prime Minister (CEO) and would have a casting vote in a deadlock.


    As before, every 5 years there would be a general election at a constituency level, and at a regional level, and at a central government level. I think voters can place more than one tick at a time without having a nervous breakdown. For the 2nd and 3rd ticks (regional and central) the choice should always include "don't know".


    That way we get rid of the ambiguity as to whether people are voting for a local constituency leader or a national leader.


    Obviously in the first year of this new General Election method, it will commence as usual with constituency voting but with the 2nd vote being for regional elected politicians for a cluster of adjacent constituencies and the 3rd vote being politicians electable to central government. It will at the beginning of this new method require some short cuts or ranked votes to build the pool at these 2nd and 3rd levels but in the general election 5 years later the pool will have been established at each of the three levels and the short cuts can be disposed of.


    As for the House of Lords, the only vital change in their legal status that will be needed is to stop them making a nuisance of themselves by being able to sabotage the decision-making of a fairly elected central government. Personally, I think the House of Lords should be closed down or restricted purely to an advisory role. They might have been useful even in their doddery condition to oversee A Ship Of 650 Fools but once we have ended the madness of a board of 650 directors, the overseeing by a mixed bag of wise or dotty geriatrics becomes more a hindrance rather than a help.


    These are just first thoughts summarised. There are other details but I don't want overload my proposal with too much detail at this stage.


    The key point is that 650 MP's is no way to run a country and make decisions. If Britain means business it needs to behave in a businesslike way. None of this proposal is in conflict with the paramount need that all societal needs (not just business-related) that must and will be delivered. Obviously it's not "mob democracy", it's not even "popular democracy", instead I think it's "dynamic democracy" operated by a high grade of politicians who have risen to the top demonstrably by performance.

  • The public have never been so keen on a change to Proportional Representation - which would mean that EVERYONE'S vote was of equal worth - whatever the constituency they reside in.

    But where is the evidence of this?


    When it seemed clear that this country was going to get a second coalition conservative/libdem government, the electorate baulked at that idea and voted the conservatives into power.


    I fully agree with you that there needs to be parliamentary reform of some kind, especially if it involved a sledgehammer, I'm just not sure that PR is the way to go.


    100% agree, but the majority of MP's are Labour or Tory, and they won't give away the inbuilt advantage of FPTP without a huge amount of pressure.

    Exactly. The current system suits them just fine.



    Trouble with PR is you will nearly always get a fudge government , hamstrung by having to be a coalition, our present system is far from perfect but the biggest party will virtually never , ever get it's manifesto through .

    As has frequently happened on the continent where PR reigns supreme as does indecision.


    I think your barking up the wrong tree. In my view the bigger problem is that we have a decision making boardroom of 650 MP's.

    As always, you cut through the arguments with your own unique style and on this occasion, I fully agree with you.


    Hopefully a fuller answer will come later, when/if I get the time.

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  • 100% agree, but the majority of MP's are Labour or Tory, and they won't give away the inbuilt advantage of FPTP without a huge amount of pressure.


    We were given a referendum on AV (Alternate vote) but that's just another version of FPTP. We want PR. The threat that is regularly rolled out is that PR would lead to coalition governments. I see that as a good thing. It means that minority parties will be guaranteed some seats so will be more in line with the wishes of the electorate. It also means that each political proposal has to convince the other MP's in the coalition of the benefits of their policies, therefore it reduces extremes and prevents stupid ideas that may be whipped through a majority government. The down side is that our politicians (regardless of party) are unable to work together for the benefit of the country and prefer to spend their time point scoring and slagging off the opposition.

    Don't you think your last sentence with its probable or even inevitable downside is the killer point that demolishes PR? I perceive PR to be like having a dog but insisting on doing your own barking. Or allowing, in the name of democratic inclusivity, for dyed-in-the-wool union members with a socialist chip on their shoulder to get boardroom representation and the voting power that comes with that. Or allowing the lunatics to take over the asylum. My more measured viewpoint here is that we need a system which improves the quality of politicians entrusted to run our country whereas, with PR, what you are supporting is to "average out" rather than reduce mediocrity. For me this is the downside of Popular Democracy. When it comes to well-informed quality voting I'm not seeking to eliminate a regression to average-ness (because that would be a repugnant form of elitism - although, my goodness, it's tempting!). I'm merely suggesting a system where cream has a better-than-average chance of rising to the top and staying there and I argue that PR would would achieve the opposite.

  • As always, you cut through the arguments with your own unique style and on this occasion, I fully agree with you.


    Hopefully a fuller answer will come later, when/if I get the time.

    One response like that is worth a hundred non-responses. Thank you. I look forward to your second or third read so that you can justifiably wade in with a brickbat rather than just a bouquet!

  • One response like that is worth a hundred non-responses. Thank you. I look forward to your second or third read so that you can justifiably wade in with a brickbat rather than just a bouquet!

    Here's the brick and bat:^^


    I think your barking up the wrong tree. In my view the bigger problem is that we have a decision making boardroom of 650 MP's. It is hopeless trying to get decisions made whether with a boardroom composed of directors who are FPTP or an outcome of a coalition or proportional representation, or weighting of 1st, 2nd and 3rd choices (like that crazy end of year tennis tournament at the O2 arena, where even towards the last few matches the commentators can't figure out who is ahead or still in contention).


    The reality of the present house of commons is that it's still 650 weasels in a sack fighting for their own survival and willing to form allegiances to further their own ambitions, or chance of survival, or personality self-promotion, invariably with those motivations outweighing points of personal conviction for the greater good of country.

    In effect you are saying abolish the House of Commons and all the MPs. Is that correct?


    If it is, I agree with you, for the reasons you have stated, but in answer to the OP as well as you, there is a difference between implementation and representation.


    In many ways, the MPs neither make decisions and they certainly do not implement them. They are given a sheet of amendments by their parties whips, which they have to agree with and sign off on. Hardly decision makers, although to be fair to them, some of them do come up with their own ideas and stand up for those ideas against their own parties. And the boardroom term, I don't really agree with for the same reason, as entertaining as the term is, because company directors make and implement decisions. MPs do not.


    By all means run an election for a winner in each of the 650 constituencies but limit their jurisdiction to the constituency and its wards and parishes and polling districts, for which there are already local government elections for councillors etc.

    I both love this idea and hate it at the same time!:P


    I like that local areas still get some form of representation, that bit I agree with, but as you go on to say, we already that with local councillors. You seem to be suggesting a double layer of politicians for local areas.8|Are you? That would be the equivalent to having a sandwich filled with chilli and crème fraîche at the same time! No thanks.


    Both financially and politically, this suggestion makes no sense. The local MPs and councillors would clash, even if their were a clear delineation between their roles and responsibilities. Let me improve on your idea.8o


    Keep the local councillors or whatever they would be called, but give them greater powers and responsibilities. Make them truly accountable to their local electorate. In effect, create lots of French style mini-mayors who each get to control their own fiefdoms.


    Dear god, did I really just say that!8|:saint:


    Only then provide upward scope for the constituency elected winners to (also) oversea a cluster of adjoining constituencies, ie regions.

    In a way, London has this already as do many areas with borough and county councils. Problem is they clash between the local and regional. It would need careful thinking about what each layer of bureaucracy would do.


    This is why Prescott's regional assemblies idea was mostly dropped, although we do have new "city councils" like Greater Manchester now and I was reading that in one area, the borough councils and county council are all going to merge in together. Name escapes at this second, which area it was.

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  • I was reading that in one area, the borough councils and county council are all going to merge in together. Name escapes at this second, which area it was.

    It was being mooted down in Cornwall with everything to be run from Truro. Locals down at Land's End thought that it was too remote.

    History is much like an Endless Waltz. The three beats of war, peace and revolution continue on forever.

    4312-gwban-gif

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  • Definitely wasn't Cornwall that I read about, but again this is a rehash of Prescott's regional assemblies ideas. Essentially we abolish county and borough councils and have states instead. I'm luke warm on the idea...

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  • Only then provide upward scope for the constituency elected winners to (also) oversea a cluster of adjoining constituencies, ie regions. Those who rise to that regional position through merit and voter approval will, after a reasonable innings, make their next step, to rise up the pyramid to be amidst a small select and elected group who run central government.

    But how would this happen in practice? Would they get elected into government?

    At this exalted stage the identity of their political origins and Left vs Right orientation would and should cease to be relevant. What a relief to get rid of that tedious partisanship. This dynamic board of directors would have an equal vote in making decisions. Their chairman would be Prime Minister (CEO) and would have a casting vote in a deadlock.

    Why do you assume that political affiliation would wither away? It could be the opposite. Councils are filled with generations of political hacks, quite often married to each other. Your suggestion could make it easier for such people to get into government, could it not?


    I'm not saying I dislike the pyramid idea, I don't, just not sure how it would work and how effective it would be.


    As for PM, would the PM be the boss, or could the PM be overruled by cabinet colleagues?


    (Thatcher and Blair were more akin to presidents who could not be overruled, whereas as Major and others were the total opposite who wanted to have "consensual" cabinet and got nowhere.)

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  • As before, every 5 years there would be a general election at a constituency level, and at a regional level, and at a central government level. I think voters can place more than one tick at a time without having a nervous breakdown. For the 2nd and 3rd ticks (regional and central) the choice should always include "don't know".


    That way we get rid of the ambiguity as to whether people are voting for a local constituency leader or a national leader.


    Obviously in the first year of this new General Election method, it will commence as usual with constituency voting but with the 2nd vote being for regional elected politicians for a cluster of adjacent constituencies and the 3rd vote being politicians electable to central government. It will at the beginning of this new method require some short cuts or ranked votes to build the pool at these 2nd and 3rd levels but in the general election 5 years later the pool will have been established at each of the three levels and the short cuts can be disposed of.

    I like the idea of removing the ambiguity between voting for a national leader and other politicians, but I'm still not sure how they could rise up this pyramid of yours.


    What would be the process that turns a local politician into a regional one and eventually into a national one? If you vote for a local politician, they would stay at that level, so I don't understand your mechanism for how the "cream" would rise to the top.


    Would it always have to be "proper" politicians under your system? Meaning, what if there were a prominent businessman or scientist who wants to take on the statesmanship mantle and become PM. Could there not be a mechanism for them to become PM without involving themselves in the "dirt" of local or regional politics?

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  • As for the House of Lords, the only vital change in their legal status that will be needed is to stop them making a nuisance of themselves by being able to sabotage the decision-making of a fairly elected central government. Personally, I think the House of Lords should be closed down or restricted purely to an advisory role. They might have been useful even in their doddery condition to oversee A Ship Of 650 Fools but once we have ended the madness of a board of 650 directors, the overseeing by a mixed bag of wise or dotty geriatrics becomes more a hindrance rather than a help.


    These are just first thoughts summarised. There are other details but I don't want overload my proposal with too much detail at this stage.


    The key point is that 650 MP's is no way to run a country and make decisions. If Britain means business it needs to behave in a businesslike way. None of this proposal is in conflict with the paramount need that all societal needs (not just business-related) that must and will be delivered. Obviously it's not "mob democracy", it's not even "popular democracy", instead I think it's "dynamic democracy" operated by a high grade of politicians who have risen to the top demonstrably by performance.

    I think we have a House of Lords thread already, but as this has become our new home to discuss electoral reform, in here will do just fine.


    After their Brexit votes, I am in no doubt... Abolish the lot of them!


    Overload away with anything you've got! But, can I add an idea of my own into the mix here?


    The referendum has shown what direct democracy can do, ie give a voice to the people. I say that should be the model for the future meshed into your dynamic politics idea.


    Abolish both chambers of parliament. Have a government with a PM and minsters, but key decisions (not the detail) are made by the people via referendums using technology. (Most of the old folks will be gone by then and everyone will have internet and direct voting capabilities.)

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  • Thank you so much for torture testing my radical proposal in such a constructive way. At first glance most of your points seem fair comment. some quite inspiring or inventive and 'll address all of them in the next 24-36 hours. I've already dictated some notes to myself on your comments

  • Reply to all Horizon's comments on my suggested government reform:


    Am I suggesting getting rid of 650 MP’s? Yes. Too many of them are just like “middle management”, waste of space and money. But to be less ruthless, by all means let’s just demote them to what they really are: constituency MP’s. Which is surely a just reward to those MP’s who defend their rebellion against what their Government recommends by claiming that their first allegiance is to their constituency (utter bullshit). So let’s make allegiance come true, where they can concentrate on the needs of their constituency.


    You make the point that the great majority of the 650 MP’s don’t make decisions or even implement decisions. Too right! That’s why I am proposing we push them down the pyramid to a local constituency level (which I call level 1)


    Am I proposing duplicating the local government hierarchy below these newly demoted MP’s who now concentrate solely on overseeing the whole of their constituency? Definitely not, that was just my sloppy writing, At the more local level (town halls, parish committees etc etc) I’m sure there is a great deal of wastage or featherbedding or pompous pontificating, as well as plenty potential for merging with adjacent local authority areas - but that’s another story.


    Your proposal of mayors is a perfect solution to separate the local constituency government wheat from the chaff. As you point out, there is already a trend in that direction. Possibly this is the job definition of the constituency overseer who performs well enough to rise to level 2 (a group of adjacent constituencies, ie regions).


    I don’t understand your question about how constituency winners/overseers (level 1) get elected. They get elected just as they do at present but now with upward career scope to level 2 (a region comprising a cluster of adjacent constituencies), who you rightly suggest could be called mayors (but with a title that differentiates them from “major mayors” overseeing a conurbation like London or Manchester).


    I agree with you that the background details of politicians at all three levels cannot and should not conceal their left wing or right wing views (and all the other background political attitudes or “baggage”) but my contention is that, as they progress up the pyramid from level 1 to 2 to 3, their political ideologies and partisanship will decrease in importance or at least cease to be ideological labels to which politicians feel they must adhere. After all, if level 3 has a “board of directors” that mixes politicians of left and right wing views, this will surely encourage politicians at all levels to give more thought to the intrinsic merit of the decisions that lie before them rather than deciding to what ideological label that decision belongs. Implicit in all of this is that politicians will be elected at all levels and each voter will decide on what values are held by that politician and whether those values match the voter’s. It forces voters to think rather than just blindly attach themselves to Labour, Conservative, Liberal, UKIP or Screaming Lord Sutch. Partisanship gets in the way of Thinking Democracy for both voters and politicians. I’m working on the confident premise that since we live in a Capitalist rather than Communist or Marxist society, voters will be disposed to concentrate on the issues in a more nuanced rather than dogmatic way, in juxtaposition with the quality, character and values of politicians running for election rather than their partisanship ideology.


    Like you, I too was wondering how the PM/CEO gets to be appointed. It could be by the “board of directors” in level 3. That would be preferable to letting the electorate decide. We need to get away from political elections being a beauty contest. Those operating at level 3 can and should be entrusted on who they nominate as their leader. As usual, every 5 years there is a General Election where the voters (ie Britain PLC shareholders!) can note for boardroom replacements, including the CEO/Prime Minister. This is the equivalent of an AGM but once every 5 years. If the CEO/Prime Minister was discovered well before the 5 Yearly General Meeting to be a nincompoop and a national embarrassment (eg Theresa May) then the board can call an EGM (Extraordinary General Meeting) and replace that nincompoop. I think that vote should confined to those on the board (level 3) and maybe also level 2, who are already a potential source of new blood for level 3.


    As for insisting on unanimous voting for decisions made by level board of directors, we have surely seen how that paralyses decision making (eg UN, EU, Nato) and I would propose majority voting or maybe two thirds majority for major decisions (which will require an agreed definition of what constitutes a “major” decision).


    Board members whose vote was overrode by a majority will need to understand that they must get behind that decision rather than bitch about it in public, otherwise they could be expelled by the board. Political infighting and backstabbing will become a rarity rather than today’s norm. This is not to gag free speech but simply to pay heed to collective responsibility - or resign.


    I thoroughly agree with your suggestion of opening up level 3 (and maybe also level 2) to non-politicians, in particular, to eminent or highly talented people in business, science or other vocations who would like to serve their country but are sickened by the idea of joining the indecisive Madhatter’s Tea Party that characterises Westminster today. For those in a position to take at least a leave of absence from business, this seems to me to have far more substance than just offering a knighthood or OBE.


    As for abolishing The House of Lords, I’m with you all the way on that. I was just being kind in trying to abolish them with a gentler landing. After all, there must be some good minds in the upper house who are worth retaining, perhaps as a small chamber of bright (or at least non-gaga) experienced dignitaries who could offer a second opinion on anything important when the board (level 3) is divided. But purely advisory. It is the CEO/PM who is entitled to break any deadlock boardroom vote.


    I keep referring to level 3 as a Board of Directors and a CEO just to get across that effective government needs to be more businesslike, more efficient and, above all decisive. But I also realise we need better nomenclature otherwise it will smack of a government having been privatised and there would be an uproar if citizens thought that,


    Where you and I part company entirely is when you say “the referendum has shown what direct democracy can do, ie give a voice to the people and that should be the model for the future meshed into your dynamic politics idea”. Frankly, it kills my idea stone dead and I really do give up if most people share your thought (hard to know when you’re the only person in this forum who has responded, which in itself is pretty dispiriting). I strongly believe far too much voice has been given to the people, which causes politicians to be craven to public opinion rather than provide strong leadership. It reminds me of the joke of the average political leader saying “this is what the public have decided and as their leader I shall follow them”. Britain is a divided nation; most nations are divided to some extent but Britain particularly so. The toughest task for a politician is to still make decisions for a greater good, to accept that there will be winners and losers and to somehow optimise without comprising to the point where the decision is so flaccid that it becomes ineffective, neither one thing nor the other.


    Of course, keep up to date with what citizens want (level 3 must never be an ivory tower) but once you let “The People” call the shots the country ends up being run by a mob rather than a government that citizens voted for to look after their interests. Giving a voice to the people makes democracy dysfunctional.


    Yeah sure, you will argue that you’re only talking about a “voice to the people” for key decisions, not the detail. Like leaving the EU?! A proper level 3 government would know that no-one in their right minds living in and identifying with Britain (with all its flaws) would wants to relinquish British sovereignty and instead become just one of one of 27 member states that takes orders from a centralised government whose aim is to federalise the whole of Europe, including taking charge of our borders, laws, economics and terms of trade with countries outside of federalised Europe. Those that want to remain in the EU either dissociate from what Britain represents or have turned a blind eye to what the EU has become and where it is heading. Only a British government of morons would conduct a referendum that simply asks citizens “do you want to remain or leave?” and only a government of morons would interpret a 52-48% preference to leave as an adequate mandate to leave and then spend 3+ years being unable to make proper arrangements to do so. There are so many easier, more effective, quicker non-moronic ways of handling this, none of which involves screwing up the process by “giving voice to the people”, let alone voice to 650 MP’s, let alone to a House of Lords, let alone to a bunch of high court judges.

  • You make the point that the great majority of the 650 MP’s don’t make decisions or even implement decisions. Too right! That’s why I am proposing we push them down the pyramid to a local constituency level (which I call level 1)


    Am I proposing duplicating the local government hierarchy below these newly demoted MP’s who now concentrate solely on overseeing the whole of their constituency? Definitely not, that was just my sloppy writing, At the more local level (town halls, parish committees etc etc) I’m sure there is a great deal of wastage or featherbedding or pompous pontificating, as well as plenty potential for merging with adjacent local authority areas - but that’s another story.

    Ok, but I'm still confused about your layers of bureaucracy between level 1 (local) and level 2 (regional).


    You said you would push MPs down to level 1/local level, so lets take London as a example of how this would work. We have borough councils and the GLA, are you suggesting that the MPs replace borough councillors and those positions would be abolished? And would I assume correctly that the MPs powers would be limited to decide when streets get cleaned and who deals with constituents rubbish, rather than national issues like defence?


    I don’t understand your question about how constituency winners/overseers (level 1) get elected. They get elected just as they do at present but now with upward career scope to level 2 (a region comprising a cluster of adjacent constituencies), who you rightly suggest could be called mayors (but with a title that differentiates them from “major mayors” overseeing a conurbation like London or Manchester).

    I still don't get how someone gets from level 1 to level 2 and then possibly to level 3 eventually. There is a contradiction in what you say. Here is your original comment:


    By all means run an election for a winner in each of the 650 constituencies but limit their jurisdiction to the constituency and its wards and parishes and polling districts, for which there are already local government elections for councillors etc. Only then provide upward scope for the constituency elected winners to (also) oversea a cluster of adjoining constituencies, ie regions. Those who rise to that regional position through merit and voter approval will, after a reasonable innings, make their next step, to rise up the pyramid to be amidst a small select and elected group who run central government.

    The bit I've highlighted is the contradiction I am questioning.


    To rise up the pyramid through merit and ability is something I fully agree with, but how does that tally with free elections? Those elected into office may not have merit, they also may not have any ability, so I don't see how your system is any different from today's one.


    The cream rises because its the best, or not. Which is it? You go on to say this:


    I agree with you that the background details of politicians at all three levels cannot and should not conceal their left wing or right wing views (and all the other background political attitudes or “baggage”) but my contention is that, as they progress up the pyramid from level 1 to 2 to 3, their political ideologies and partisanship will decrease in importance or at least cease to be ideological labels to which politicians feel they must adhere. After all, if level 3 has a “board of directors” that mixes politicians of left and right wing views, this will surely encourage politicians at all levels to give more thought to the intrinsic merit of the decisions that lie before them rather than deciding to what ideological label that decision belongs. Implicit in all of this is that politicians will be elected at all levels and each voter will decide on what values are held by that politician and whether those values match the voter’s. It forces voters to think rather than just blindly attach themselves to Labour, Conservative, Liberal, UKIP or Screaming Lord Sutch. Partisanship gets in the way of Thinking Democracy for both voters and politicians. I’m working on the confident premise that since we live in a Capitalist rather than Communist or Marxist society, voters will be disposed to concentrate on the issues in a more nuanced rather than dogmatic way, in juxtaposition with the quality, character and values of politicians running for election rather than their partisanship ideology.

    I like the first bit that those who get to the top could be from any political persuasion and hopefully their political ideologies would probably have been jettisoned by then anyway. But the bit I've highlighted above is still a contradiction here.


    You're giving a lot of weight to voters will decide what "values" the politicians have and whether they are closely aligned to their own values. Like Tony Blair, voters might vote for someone because they think he sounds nice on tv or looks nice. Merit doesn't come in to it. Plus, how would voters know what values the candidate has?


    I like the idea of the cream rising to the top, but I don't see that by simply electing people, which is exactly what we do now at all levels, how this would change things.

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  • Like you, I too was wondering how the PM/CEO gets to be appointed. It could be by the “board of directors” in level 3. That would be preferable to letting the electorate decide. We need to get away from political elections being a beauty contest. Those operating at level 3 can and should be entrusted on who they nominate as their leader. As usual, every 5 years there is a General Election where the voters (ie Britain PLC shareholders!) can note for boardroom replacements, including the CEO/Prime Minister. This is the equivalent of an AGM but once every 5 years. If the CEO/Prime Minister was discovered well before the 5 Yearly General Meeting to be a nincompoop and a national embarrassment (eg Theresa May) then the board can call an EGM (Extraordinary General Meeting) and replace that nincompoop. I think that vote should confined to those on the board (level 3) and maybe also level 2, who are already a potential source of new blood for level 3.

    Again, contradiction. Either the Board votes for PM or not. I like the idea of the lower tier possibly having a say in the matter, though.

    As for insisting on unanimous voting for decisions made by level board of directors, we have surely seen how that paralyses decision making (eg UN, EU, Nato) and I would propose majority voting or maybe two thirds majority for major decisions (which will require an agreed definition of what constitutes a “major” decision).

    So, the PM could not override such decisions if the Board took a majority decision. Correct?

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  • As for abolishing The House of Lords, I’m with you all the way on that. I was just being kind in trying to abolish them with a gentler landing.

    Err, I disagree. They cost a fortune. Lets get rid of them immediately before they do any more damage!


    After all, there must be some good minds in the upper house who are worth retaining, perhaps as a small chamber of bright (or at least non-gaga) experienced dignitaries who could offer a second opinion on anything important when the board (level 3) is divided. But purely advisory. It is the CEO/PM who is entitled to break any deadlock boardroom vote.

    Could have a small council of elders filled with ex-politicians who've have had senior roles in government like Tebbit or Baker or past experience in industry and science like Lord Winston.


    Giving a voice to the people makes democracy dysfunctional.

    Agree. Hence my query at the contradictions.:P (I do know you're talking about referendums in this bit)


    Elections make democracy dysfunctional. The Chinese system is very efficient, do we really want that here or Putin's style of government?


    Where you and I part company entirely is when you say “the referendum has shown what direct democracy can do, ie give a voice to the people and that should be the model for the future meshed into your dynamic politics idea”.

    Ok, I've just quoted the first bit of your final section arguing against referendums. But you appear to be saying that if the level 3 Board of Directors had been in place under your system, the UK never would have gone into the EU in the first place. Thus making things such as referendums irrelevant, as the Board would always make the right decisions.


    Is that a fair summing up?


    If that is correct, then I disagree. Cameron, Thatcher, Heath etc weren't twits and yet they all believed in the EU, well Thatcher did to begin with... It was their opinion that led to the mess we are in now. That's the problem, opinion.


    If the Board, under your proposals, has a different opinion to that of the vast majority of the electorate, what do we do about it? Simply having a election every 4-5 years is not good enough if this Board is working against our interests.

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  • Thanks Horizon for torture testing my proposal. In spite of my occasional belligerent or arrogant responses I'm truly grateful to you for helping me strengthen my argument


    Re your query about layers of bureaucracy between level 1 local and level 2 regional. Sorry, I still haven’t made myself clear enough. Level 1 is what we have at present in a constituencv, viz a person who wins the general election or a by-election becomes a constituency leader and they’re called MP’s. That’s who I call level.1, overseeing all the more local stuff beneath that doubtless needs to be made more efficient or with fewer cooks spoiling the broth but, as I said,, that another story.


    But even so I’m not suggesting our elected constituency overseer is the person to sort out missed garbage collections. He is a link between that constituency he oversees and the regional or conurbation mayor (level 2) who, in turn has the ear of the Board of Directors (level 3). Because let’s face it, there are too many constituency MP’s wasting Westminster’s time and it’s got worse ever since the House of Commons let in TV cameras.


    You ask how to get from level 1 to level 2: it’s as I said, by merit and voter approval. Are you now going to ask me what I mean by merit and voter approval (these two criteria can and should be interrelated). Remind me again, when did you become my boss?! Figure it out! It’s not complicated!


    As for how my proposed system is different from what we do today, I can’t believe you’ve forgotten the key point: central goverment, level 3, now has a dozen or so board directors, not 650.


    You raise a good challenging point about how voters can make a reliable assessment. I think you must come to terms with the fact that voters are not clairvoyant. But it matters less at Level 1 because a two-faced winning candidate can’t do much damage at level 1 and, if performance falls short of electioneering promises, that candidate is not going to make it to Level 2.


    It’s not a contradiction that the board votes for the PM or does not. It’s an option. Or a loose end to be resolved. Did you really think I was submitting a detailed final plan?!


    Absolutely correct that the PM can’t override the board decision. It’s not like the New Yorker cartoon where the chairman says to the board: “let me tell you what I think, with my majority shareholding, and then you guys can tell me what you think”,

    Re Your suggestion that the small chamber of advisors includes people like Tebbit. Perfect example. They don’t make enough like him anymore.


    Re giving a voice to the people, maybe I’m taking you too literally or you me. No one can argue that elections are the bedrock of democracy. But when you talk about “giving a voice to the people” I interpret that as something more. I envisage a never ending parade of people protesting virulently about anything and everything and such excitability becomes fractious and encourages anarchy or riots. Mental health is a growing problem. Democracy has much need of calmness and good manners. The only exception to polite acceptance of an opposing viewpoint is where protesters or street speakers are recommending insurgency, particularly that which comes from Islam preachers, where a disturbing amount is within mosques. But I digress!


    As for your point about too much efficiency and crowd control that can lead to a Chinese or Putin or Erdogan style of Government. I can’t be bothered arguing about slippery slopes or the thin edge of the wedge. Most issues are a matter of degree rather than binary and it is a cheap or pointless argument to fret about where to draw the line. It’s a judgement thing.


    Where did I say a board of well qualified directors would never have gone into the EU in the first place? All I can be confident of asserting is that a board of intelligent well qualified, experienced politicians at Level 3 would almost by definition be far less likely to make decisions that are moronic or ill-considered or narrow-minded or irrationally ideological or politically egotistical – because that pretty much describes what happens when you give too much power to tossers like Cameron, May and Heath. At least with a board of directors we get a safety net against a CEO or PM who has lost his or her way. I excluded Thatcher only because the EU she chose to join wasn’t the ugly “basket-case” it has become today. Also, prior to Mrs Thatcher going loopy or despotic, can you imagine her accepting the kind of crap from the EU which Cameron and May were willing to put up with?


    Be all that as it may, only a fool would claim that my broad outline proposed restructure of the political democratic process is foolproof and would guarantee all decisions to be unerringly correct. But c’mon, you surely realise that. Don’t you?

    If the Board, under your proposals, has a different opinion to that of the vast majority of the electorate, what do we do about it? Simply having a election every 4-5 years is not good enough if this Board is working against our interests.


    Finally you ask what happens if the Board has a different opinion to that of the vast majority of the electorate and you suggest that simply having an election once every 4-5 years isn’t good enough. I find this question naive. We already have this problem with our present government and when we look at the alternative we are between a rock and a hard place. All we can do is try to improve the quality of our ELECTED representatives and give them room to do their job, of deciding, negotiating and implementing in our country’s best interests. What do you suggest we do at the moment if our government unexpectedly starts to perform in a way that is at odds with the majority of the electorate. Riot? Okay, that worked with Thatcher’s Poll Tax but by then she had gone loopy and despotic so it serves her right that she got defeated. The Poll Tax was logical its downside was it was cruel or unfair. The range of taxes aimed at different segments of society becomes in the end philosophical rather than logical. In a board of directors Thatcher’s Poll Tax would I’m sure have been outvoted.


    As for your other suggestion, of having a general election more often than every 4-5 years, are you wanting the government to improve this country only with short-term fixes because their appointment is only on a short term contract? If you can’t come to terms with the idea of trusting a government and giving the freedom and length of time to prove themselves, dare I suggest you are possibly not quite at ease with democracy? Actually nor me!

  • You ask how to get from level 1 to level 2: it’s as I said, by merit and voter approval. Are you now going to ask me what I mean by merit and voter approval (these two criteria can and should be interrelated). Remind me again, when did you become my boss?! Figure it out! It’s not complicated!

    Well, not for you, but I'm still none the wiser. Someone is either elected regardless of their attributes or some other system comes into play here.


    As for how my proposed system is different from what we do today, I can’t believe you’ve forgotten the key point: central goverment,level 3, now has a dozen or so board directors, not 650.

    No it does not. Parliament has the 650, government has about 50. Two dozen cabinet members (the Board) and another 30 or so junior ministers.

    You raise a good challenging point about how voters can make a reliable assessment. I think you must come to terms with the fact that voters are not clairvoyant. But it matters less at Level 1 because a two-faced winning candidate can’t do much damage at level 1 and, if performance falls short of electioneering promises, that candidate is not going to make it to Level 2.

    Voters are not clairvoyant, but many of them are busy and many are lazy. I just do not see how the cream will automatically rise to the top, it still seems to me that it could be the scum that rises as tends to be the case now. But perhaps with MPs being axed from national governance, it might make allow better candidates come in at the lower levels and then rise.


    It’s not a contradiction that the board votes for the PM or does not. It’s an option. Or a loose end to be resolved. Did you really think I was submitting a detailed final plan?!

    Either the PM is elected or appointed by the Board. It cannot be both, that makes no sense. I await your detailed final plan with interest.


    Absolutely correct that the PM can’t override the board decision. It’s not like the New Yorker cartoon where the chairman says to the board: “let me tell you what I think, with my majority shareholding, and then you guys can tell me what you think”,

    Re Your suggestion that the small chamber of advisors includes people like Tebbit. Perfect example. They don’t make enough like him anymore.

    Ok. That's all clear and I agree.


    Re giving a voice to the people, maybe I’m taking you too literally or you me. No one can argue that elections are the bedrock of democracy. But when you talk about “giving a voice to the people” I interpret that as something more. I envisage a never ending parade of people protesting virulently about anything and everything and such excitability becomes fractious and encourages anarchy or riots. Mental health is a growing problem. Democracy has much need of calmness and good manners. The only exception to polite acceptance of an opposing viewpoint is where protesters or street speakers are recommending insurgency, particularly that which comes from Islam preachers, where a disturbing amount is within mosques. But I digress!

    Firstly, I am unsure about referendums and I am not suggesting having them for every minor decision, or have a weekly people's vote or any other such nonsense. I am suggesting the possibility that the electorate gets a direct vote on key matters only where there is a simplistic binary choice offered. I am fully aware the details and implementation is anything but simplistic. This al depends on the length of government terms which I'll mention in a minute.

    Also, prior to Mrs Thatcher going loopy or despotic,can you imagine her accepting the kind of crap from the EU which Cameron and May were willing to put up with?

    Accept she signed every European treaty put in front of her. No, No, No, turned out to be yes, yes yes.

    Be all that as it may, only a fool would claim that my broad outline proposed restructure of the political democratic process is foolproof and would guarantee all decisions to be unerringly correct. But c’mon, you surely realise that. Don’t you?

    If the Board,under your proposals, has a different opinion to that of the vast majority of the electorate, what do we do about it? Simply having a election every 4-5years is not good enough if this Board is working against our interests.

    I agree, nothing can be foolproof, but I don't see how we can prevent the very situation we are currently experiencing with our current system if it were to be replaced by your system.


    The range of taxes aimed at different segments of society becomes in the end philosophical rather than logical. In a board of directors Thatcher’s Poll Tax would I’m sure have been outvoted.

    Cast your mind back here... admittedly it was a long time ago!


    Thatcher never wanted the poll tax, she was against it. During that period she was still getting overruled by her cabinet, until she started to get rid of ones she disagreed with.


    Not such a good example to cite.:)


    As for your other suggestion, of having a general election more often than every 4-5 years,are you wanting the government to improve this country only with short-term fixes because their appointment is only on a short term contract? If you can’t come to terms with the idea oftrusting a government and giving the freedom and length of time to prove themselves,dare I suggest you are possibly not quite at ease with democracy? Actually nor me!

    I never stated I wanted a election more frequently. Are you suggesting elections every 10 years or so, perhaps??


    ====


    Points we agree on:


    Abolish both the House of Commons and their 650 MPs and the House of Lords.

    Perhaps have a small chamber/council of elders to advise government.

    Cabinet is made up of the best people possible and decisions are made by majority vote. PM does not have deciding vote.

    Have three tiers of government: local, regional and national with the possibility that regional government may have mayors.

    Agree that current government is too short term in nature.


    Points of contention:


    How to ensure the best people rise up the pyramid and the method, especially how the top level, cabinet level, is formed.

    The fact that MPs still exist, albeit at a lower level than the current system, but at a higher level than councillors, hence creating another tier of bureaucracy at local government level. (I'll come back to this in a minute with a possible solution.)

    Referendums. We may not actually disagree about them, as I am unsure as to whether they are a long term solution or not.

    length of term of government.


    =====


    My biggest issue with your proposals is as said, that MPs exist. We need less politicians, not more! Here's a suggestion:


    Each council ward (level 1) gets one elected councillor only. (My area has three councillors each! Bloody waste of money.X() This councillor deals with purely local matters like rubbish collection, street cleaning etc. As presently, the councillors meet and discuss local issues and they answer to either a council head or MP who may or may not be directly elected too.


    Each council head/MP (whatever the term maybe) has a dual role. They sign off on local council budgets, but on bigger projects, they need approval from the regional level. Thus, each head of the councils in any given area come together and they form the regional government, level 2.


    The heads of the level 2 regional governments are the Mayors (or whatever term you wish to use) and they come together to discuss how the regional (level 2) issues affect each other's areas and they sign off on inter regional projects aka national projects. Either these people are the level 3 national government, or they have a direct say on who becomes a cabinet/board member. Ie, they may wish to appoint the best business/academic minds to government.


    Or, something like that.:)


    The important thing is that each level is distinct from each other, does not duplicate roles or responsibilities and its clear how someone goes up the pyramid of power. What I'm not clear on is who gets elected beyond the basic level one councillor and the method to decide who becomes the head at whatever level it maybe.

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