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May01

Election Inspiration

It Could Be You!. Image: S.Lawrence, Bandanna Club

Despite the suggested small increase in voter turnout, today’s local council elections got me to thinking about a different way of doing things…

Firstly – let’s assume that Douglas Adams was right: the mere fact that someone wants to represent you in parliament should immediately exclude them from ever being allowed to do so.

But if no-one who wants to be an MP or councilor is allowed to be and assuming we agree that at least part of the job is necessary, how do we decide who does the job?

Perhaps we should follow Camelot’s lead and create an election lottery.

How would it work? Every person of voting age who:-

  • is physically able to perform the job and
  • not in prison
  • or in a mental institution or similar
  • has a clean criminal record for at least 5 years

…gets automatically entered into the system and names are drawn at random. From that point onward, the process follows the “Jury duty” model; You can be excused on some grounds, such as personal hardship etc.

Once someone is selected, their salary for acting as an MP / Councilor for the next 4 years is based on an overall average of all the MPs / Councilors’ salary at the time of the election.

Some will be winners and others will be losers, but that’s life.

Once someone has served their full 4-year term they should have the option to opt-out of the system for life. They’ve done their duty and we certainly don’t want them getting keen on a second term (see Doug Adams’ ref above).

Finally, each constituency should be able to define a list of objectives, based on poll results of the voters who live there. These can cover a range of the usual topics covering everything from repairing potholes to reducing unemployment within the constituency etc.

Each elected representative will be designated objectives which have to be completed by the time the next election rolls around.

If they manage it then a healthy bonus is forthcoming. If not, they walk with only their salary.

During the time someone serves their term they may not:-

  • Sit on the board of any company or commercial organization (although registered charities and other worthy causes would be permitted)
  • hold more than a nominal number of shares in any company or commercial organization.
  • employ close friends, family etc in any advisory capacity.

This system would have a number of advantages. Chief among them is the destruction of the party politics element of government. In the process, we could also go a long way towards eliminating special interests lobbying, QUANGO’s and nepotism.

Each elected representative would therefore be free to vote on each issue, on the basis of what is best for those in their constituency.

In theory at least, the option that is best for the most constituencies is best for the country as a whole.

Now that’s democracy!

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