Sunday, 28 August 2011

Parliament - Time for Change - Radical Suggestions

Having voted this year to retain the current first past the post electoral system, as out of the systems on offer, it was to me the only viable choice; but it got me thinking...

  • Does the current system provide fair representation?
  • Is there a fairer way which would represent a larger proportion of the electorate?
  • Wouldn't it be nice to do away with the cross party point scoring!
  • What if we could take the good ideas from each party!
It often strikes me when talking politics with others, regardless of party affiliation, that there is a large amount of cross party consensus, certainly at the grass roots levels, yet party politics seems to get in the way. If only there was a way to get all the parties to work together then we might;

  • Actually allow the best ideas to become policy regardless of which party has them.
  • Reduce, or even eradicate party political point scoring.
  • Remove the constant references and point scoring based on polling data on which party is currently leading.
  • Get all the parties working for the good of the country not trying to increase the electability of their party.
  • Remove party political voting in parliament.
So how could we achieve this?
    Well the following is a radical suggestion that has been floating around my head for a while on how it might be possible to level the political playing field and get all our politicians working in the same direction for the betterment of our country and not have to worry or be concerned with oversight from their own party. It is radical, it might not be perfect but perhaps we need some radical suggestions in order to find a better way of running the country.

    Firstly lets look at our local MP's...
    With the current electoral system we have a single MP for each designated seat, elected based on first past the post (most votes) and from one political party. They are elected as full time MP's for the defined period of that parliament. Although the method of voting under proportional representation would be different and some argue could produce a different "winner" it still only provides for single party representation during that parliament. Many argue that neither system provides for majority representation.
    So how can we change the system to provide for a more majority representation.

    My suggestion would be as follows (and could also be a format for local government);
    • Instead of a single MP, whose sole role is as an MP, create 3 positions and divide the role between 3 people, each person from a different party. 
    • The 3 people work collectively under the terms of a collective agreement where each person is an equal. 
    • They will be expected to come to a collective agreement on each parliamentary issue. 
    • They should share equally the role and take it in turns to attend parliament. 
    • They would not be expected to just be an MP but also retain other employment and their renumeration would reflect this expectation.
    How do we get to the three representatives...
    • Each party provides two candidates for each seat
    • Each candidate should have been resident in the seat for a minimum of 10 years
    • On election day each voter has a single vote and votes for the person they wish to represent them.
    • The candidate from each party with the most votes moves forward and takes their and the other candidates number of votes with them.
    • Then the collective of three is decided by the number of votes each candidate brought forward with them - the three candidates with the most votes become the representatives for that seat.
    This format would mean that the elected representatives would hold collectively the majority of votes for each seat, with a collective number of votes far larger than delivered by the first past the post system, and providing cross party representation of the people from within the seat and across the country.

    The Cabinet, PM & Deputy's
    There is of course still the need for country leadership and the decision making cabinet.
    • The cabinet would be formed from a percentage representation of elected representatives.
      • e.g Cons 30%, Lab 30%, LibDem 30%, Green 5%, Others 5%
      • Each party would offer up a candidate for each role and each seats representatives would vote for there preferred candidate for each role ensuring the above percentage split was observed.
    • PM would be party leader with the most number of elected representatives.
      • Two Deputy's would be party leaders from next two parties with the most votes - adopting the trio consortium also in place in each seat.
    The system would also require controls to prevent political parties forming groups to force through policy - as this would be against the fundamental principals of a political system such as this.

    This is far from a polished proposal; but a radical suggestion and attempt at making the UK parliament more democratic and more representative of the UK voting public.

    I'm sure I have missed some fundamental issues (such as funding of the parties - but that is a whole different debate entirely and for another day) and/or taken parts from other proposals.. But it is a suggestion and as with all my posts here to encourage debate...

    1 comment:

    1. This is a very difficult area (unsurprising, otherwise one might have expected it to have been more-or-less solved years ago) and, although your thinking is in a positive direction, I can foresee problems. A comment isn't the right place to write an essay, so I'll make it brief:

      1. The need to secure votes and the need for the public to know a candidate's policies (standing on a published manifesto) will perpetuate the point-scoring and all of that. Some in the game seem to live for those aspects, and it is largely human nature and competitiveness behind it, along with the fear of losing (or not gaining) the seat.

      2. Much of what you wish for has been gained, at a local level, in the Scrutiny side of the elected Council's business. This is similar to the parliamentary Select Committees, though not the same.

      Although I dislike the Cabinet-based model hugely, I found it possible to reach consensus on many policy points that were then often (not always) incorporated into the finished policy. I was in the thick of this for several years, and some of that is related on my own 'blog...

      3. I have looked at multi-seat constituencies and other aspects of our parliamentary electoral system a few times, and have even proposed a brand new (and hugely different) system of my own. This comprises 300 policy-only MPs (elected on a truly proportional system & not representing any specific area) plus 600 part-time constituency representatives. I can provide a link if you'd like to study it.