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My Manifesto for Political Reform

April 16, 2010
As you all know, I am a bit of a political junkie. I love the stuff, the high drama, pantomime and being an opinionated type of guy it gives me the self righteous knowledge that I generally know better than half of Westminster, fact.

However this election is putting me in a curious position, aligning myself to one particular party is impossible. Traditionally I would have voted Conservative, I am a former (yes, former) party member and would be so bold to say I agree with 70% of their policies… more on this in a later post.

Anyway, because I am feeling very disconnected from the party spectrum, the colours I would normally nail to a mast are looking for a home. So as part of some political catharsis here is my manifesto and its based around the single biggest issue with our democracy today, major political reform.

We desperately need a major political upheaval, the very lifeblood of democracy in the UK requires it, yes even more than tax breaks for small businesses, free mobility scooters for the obese or taxing the Wurzles.

I am writing this on my Blackberry whilst on the train so excuse typos and poor grammar. 

1. Less Liz

If I was really in charge, well I would be writing this in the Republic of Great Britain. However, because that's a concept far too radical for the half of population that cling on to the idea that a class based hierarchy "rulez ok", my proposal is a little watered down. The first step would be to abolish the link between the Crown and our political system. Goodbye royal assent, hereditary peers. Hello reformed house of Lords, which I would sell the naming rights to.

Sorry, I am trying to be serious, the "House of Asda" doesn't scream impartiality, more on that in point 6.

2. Smaller

The United States, while not exactly the posterboy for democracy has 435 representatives and 100 members of congress. There are also various Justice Chiefs that have a say in how things are run but for simplicity lets round that up to 535 people that make up the core of the USA democratic process. The UK has 733 Lords and 650 MPs, that's 1383 people deciding how the UK is run.

The US has 1 political decision maker for every 577697 people, the UK has 1 for 44860, that's huge difference (I would work it out if I wasn't using my phone to type this). Look I know this is simplistic, but more people doesn't mean more representation, which leads me on to point 3.

3. Proportional Representation

I don't particularly have a view on which type of proportional representation, but I want it. I also want fixed term parliaments while we are at it.

4. Expertise at the hart of the decision process.

I don't pretend to know how the whole political process really works, I have a fair idea, but this is the whole point, I AM NOT AN EXPERT, a little like MPs who are also not experts in many of the things they debate. There is an amazing library in Westminster (I have been there) but there is no way a bit of research enables anyone to become a fully fledged expert on anything, only life experience allows this, the Digital Economy Bill was the perfect demonstration of ineptitude. 

My first pledge would be to involve 3rd party experts, people that know their trade, respected and not aligned to lobby groups or political parties. When I say involve I don't mean in the background, sitting in think tanks or committees but right in the heart of the process. Get them into the debate to inform and educate.

5. Party Whips

Banned. I propose a free vote for each MP and a separate party vote, which would represent a % of the total house based on a majority. We need our politics to be decisive, not divisive. Also, you don't show, you don't vote.

6. Lobbyists

Banned, however an individual or company can apply to take part in a debate (see point 4).

7. Devolution for England

No, I am not a crazy "English Democrat" or UKIP supporter, in fact I want tighter European inclusion, but it makes sense to only allow English MPs to vote on English law, its a privilege the assemblies of Wales and NI as well as the Scottish parliament have enjoyed for a while. The only reason we don't have this now is because of the ability to do deals with the fringe to force policy.

Anyway, that's enough ranting from me. I am a little scared I am beginning to sound a little like a wet Liberal and not the hard arsed capitalist I want to be, but this is important and therapy for political wilderness I find myself in.

Posted via email from Benjamin Dyer

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