12 thoughts on “Reforming central government”

  1. Posted 05/05/2009 at 12:44 | Permalink

    Mr Myddelton ~ an interesting article (over which I tend to believe that you may have been musing for more than an hour !) with which I am in broad agreement… Especially your remarks RE: “most people dont vote for individual MPs; the vote for parties, whoever is representing them”. I believe that the current parliamentary system of representation in the UK has long been due for an overhaul ~ and while I am a great believer and advocate of the Nations traditions & heritage ~ I further belive that the current model is “out-dated”, impractical and even (!) non-democratic. In my own constituency (Wokingham) regardless of who I vote for the outcome is a foregone conclusion. Best Regards etc.

  2. Posted 05/05/2009 at 12:44 | Permalink

    Mr Myddelton ~ an interesting article (over which I tend to believe that you may have been musing for more than an hour !) with which I am in broad agreement… Especially your remarks RE: “most people dont vote for individual MPs; the vote for parties, whoever is representing them”. I believe that the current parliamentary system of representation in the UK has long been due for an overhaul ~ and while I am a great believer and advocate of the Nations traditions & heritage ~ I further belive that the current model is “out-dated”, impractical and even (!) non-democratic. In my own constituency (Wokingham) regardless of who I vote for the outcome is a foregone conclusion. Best Regards etc.

  3. Posted 05/05/2009 at 13:30 | Permalink

    While we’re at it… why not have much larger constituencies but with two members in each, one man and one woman (we could all vote for one of each)? At a stroke we get equal gender representation without the dubious practice of all-women shortlists and the perpetual whingeing from all sides which accompanies them. As in the past when we had multi-member constituencies, we might get different parties representing the same constituency, breaking up the old “safe seat” thing a bit. And the “welfare worker” aspect of the MP’s role, which I agree is inappropriate, would be diluted as there would be no one individual member.

  4. Posted 05/05/2009 at 13:30 | Permalink

    While we’re at it… why not have much larger constituencies but with two members in each, one man and one woman (we could all vote for one of each)? At a stroke we get equal gender representation without the dubious practice of all-women shortlists and the perpetual whingeing from all sides which accompanies them. As in the past when we had multi-member constituencies, we might get different parties representing the same constituency, breaking up the old “safe seat” thing a bit. And the “welfare worker” aspect of the MP’s role, which I agree is inappropriate, would be diluted as there would be no one individual member.

  5. Posted 05/05/2009 at 13:57 | Permalink

    “Most people don’t vote for individual members of parliament: they vote for parties”
    Unfortunately, this also means that all votes are package votes, while I would prefer to vote for the tax policy of party A, social policy of party B, and educational policy of party C. This can be achieved by referenda, but these only make sense at a lower jurisdictional level, hence the case for decentralisation. This, in turn, only makes sense if each jurisdiction is responsible for its own finances.
    In short, the formula for the way forward is:
    The system of Switzerland minus the national income tax minus the national pension plan minus the national agricultural policy.

  6. Posted 05/05/2009 at 13:57 | Permalink

    “Most people don’t vote for individual members of parliament: they vote for parties”
    Unfortunately, this also means that all votes are package votes, while I would prefer to vote for the tax policy of party A, social policy of party B, and educational policy of party C. This can be achieved by referenda, but these only make sense at a lower jurisdictional level, hence the case for decentralisation. This, in turn, only makes sense if each jurisdiction is responsible for its own finances.
    In short, the formula for the way forward is:
    The system of Switzerland minus the national income tax minus the national pension plan minus the national agricultural policy.

  7. Posted 06/05/2009 at 08:59 | Permalink

    I am not sure that such a system would reduce the volume of legislation. Parliament sits shorter hours now than in 1997 and it just means that the (increased) legislation is debated less. I am certainly not convinced by Len’s suggestion of two member constituencies – MPs represent everybody not just a particular subset of the constituency. The idea would fundamentally change the relationship between the MP and the people. If this is a good idea, why not go further? We could have six 100 member constituencies where four candidates had to be Catholic (two men, two women), three Muslim, three practising Anglicans, so many black, so many self employed and so on.

  8. Posted 06/05/2009 at 08:59 | Permalink

    I am not sure that such a system would reduce the volume of legislation. Parliament sits shorter hours now than in 1997 and it just means that the (increased) legislation is debated less. I am certainly not convinced by Len’s suggestion of two member constituencies – MPs represent everybody not just a particular subset of the constituency. The idea would fundamentally change the relationship between the MP and the people. If this is a good idea, why not go further? We could have six 100 member constituencies where four candidates had to be Catholic (two men, two women), three Muslim, three practising Anglicans, so many black, so many self employed and so on.

  9. Posted 06/05/2009 at 16:58 | Permalink

    I don’t know if this is true, but a Republican once told me that Washington was chosen for the seat of government in America because it is in the middle of a swamp whose climate was so unpleasant that it would make it difficult for government to sit for more than a few months a year. It all went wrong with the invention of air-conditioning.

    Perhaps we could move our houses of parliament to one of the further reaches of Scotland, and make it an open-air forum. The cold in winter and the cleggs in summer would encourage business to be limited to matters of real import. (Cleggs are small, irritating, blood-sucking insects that serve no discernible purpose.)

  10. Posted 06/05/2009 at 16:58 | Permalink

    I don’t know if this is true, but a Republican once told me that Washington was chosen for the seat of government in America because it is in the middle of a swamp whose climate was so unpleasant that it would make it difficult for government to sit for more than a few months a year. It all went wrong with the invention of air-conditioning.

    Perhaps we could move our houses of parliament to one of the further reaches of Scotland, and make it an open-air forum. The cold in winter and the cleggs in summer would encourage business to be limited to matters of real import. (Cleggs are small, irritating, blood-sucking insects that serve no discernible purpose.)

  11. Posted 07/05/2009 at 08:28 | Permalink

    Much easier than that it could just move into the Globe Theatre. That is open air; accommodation is limited; it is the right shape for a parliament and it would be much closer to where people actually live and work.

  12. Posted 07/05/2009 at 08:28 | Permalink

    Much easier than that it could just move into the Globe Theatre. That is open air; accommodation is limited; it is the right shape for a parliament and it would be much closer to where people actually live and work.

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