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Is it time for Parliamentary Reform?

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Is it time for Parliamentary Reform?

Old 6th Oct 2019, 15:22
  #21 (permalink)  
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I'd start by banning lawyers from being MPs.
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Old 6th Oct 2019, 15:25
  #22 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by treadigraph View Post
I'd start by banning lawyers from being MPs.

That could be a UN Code - universal.
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Old 6th Oct 2019, 15:43
  #23 (permalink)  
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Agreed, if you put lawyers into Parliament all they will do is create law, it's all they are designed for. Waste of time, space and money.

I'd make the benchmark an Engineer with business experience. Logical and no BS, problem solver and solutions provider.
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Old 6th Oct 2019, 17:00
  #24 (permalink)  
 
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I have tried really hard (I think I might even have strived!) to understand Noel Evans's post but the meaning evades me.
It seems to suggest that the ability for me, as an individual, to make a choice which has the SAME VALUE as any other individual is, somehow unacceptable and that his suggestion of a General Election under the existing FPTP system is preferable. The inadequacy of FPTP has been well documented and the demonstrable lack of equitable representation is only too obvious and totally reprehensible. It used to be argued that this system was necessary to avoid 'hung Parliaments' or it was essential to have 'local' representation - like Teddy Taylor losing Glasgow Hillhead and being 'parachuted' into Ramsgate or Margate or similar! It is, of course, just so much bovine output. Manipulation of results becomes much more difficult under PR and thereby lies the root of the objections. ANY system which allows a Party to be elected to office with a lower vote total than its opponents is corrupt and an abomination! We operate such a system as, apparently, does our USA 'ally'; It plays to the interests of a small minority where self-interest overrules that of the country-at-large.
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Old 6th Oct 2019, 17:22
  #25 (permalink)  
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got in in a very 'blue' party area because he was a good candidate and he was so good as a local MP that he got in election after election until he retired, . . . That individual quality would be squashed in a PR system that has no place for individuals and all the emphasis on 'party'
I am not sure that is completely true. In the European elections each group put up a number of candidates. If you Orange candidate was placed top of his party list then he would be elected if his party got sufficient representation. However as he is so good that blue had previously voted for him it is likely he would gain additional votes for orange.
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Old 6th Oct 2019, 20:56
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Some thoughts from a Yank, who's been observing both your past 3 years, and ours. These are in short-hand, so they won't identify problems in detail (either in your current system, or in my ideas). Above all, I am not suggesting making the UK or Britain or England (as may be) a clone of the U.S. (as if we were anywhere near perfect!) Just some ideas to kick around, within the context of your culture and tradition (which we of course borrowed from ourselves)

- Demphasize the "Parties."

- In particular, dispose of "party lists" and let the party candidate in every district (or seat) be chosen locally only, in primary elections or some such. Whomever the Labour voters of "Crumwell" or wherever choose - is the Labour candidate - whether the Labour Party likes them or not. Although generally speaking anyone who appeals to a majority of Labour voters is going to be somewhat in line with Labour policy - and if not, Labour probably needs to ask themselves "why?".

Whether you agree with her politics or not, I like the fact that a waitress (AOC) can be nominated and elected as a member of our Congress (displacing the long-time local Democrat in the process).

- Remove most control the parties may have over who constitutes their membership. A US voter can simply walk into their local, supposedly non-partisan, election authority and "register" as a Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, any other party, or as an Independent - no fees, no party approval required. This allows them to vote in that Party's primary election, caucus, convention. Parties have virtually no power to remove a candidate or Congressperson ("MP") once selected - they can disavow them verbally, but otherwise they are stuck with them until removed by local vote (primary or general election). In my State, it's now (recently) possible for me, an independent, to walk in on primary day and vote in one(1) of the party primaries, without becoming a party member.

- Separate the governance leader of a party from the political leader. Can you name the "leader" of our Democratic Party? - he's Tom Perez, a party functionary (and occasional Cabinet member). Not any of the current candidates for President. Donald Trump is effective head of the Republican Party by virtue of becoming President on their "ticket," but it is holding the office that makes him party leader, not a party leadership position as such handing him the office. Note that I'm not suggesting separate national elections from MPs and PM - I get the idea of a Parliament as opposed to our separation of powers system.

- Revitalize the House of Lords. More real political power to uphold or veto proposals of the Commons, but members chosen regionally by voters rather than given a Royal sinecure. And multiple members of the "Lords" from each region (but not too many, maybe 5 or 10). A perfect place to try out "proportional representation." If that seems strange, remember that the original Lords did represent "regions" (their own fiefdoms). Let us say (for the moment, and clearly open to adjustment): London, The SE, The SW, The East, West Mid, East Mid, Yorkshire/Humber, NE, NW, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. 12 x 10 = 120 members. Whether you want to call them Lords, Senators, Barons, KRs ("Knights-Regional") or something else is, of course, up for discussion.

All of that is perhaps more "democratic" at the base - but in terms of governance, it is still the same representative system, with decisions ultimately made by a selected few.

I'm not a big fan of PR for the Commons - either you have to have a ridiculously-large* House that would fill the MoD building, or must combine several seats into one voting district (which divorces any one MP from a locality and its people). A voter should know who represents "Crumwell" specifically - if only so that they can bitch to him or her.

(*Although that may already be the case. Why does it take a House of 650 to run a country the size of the UK? We handle vastly more geography and people with just 438 Representatives. But it's your choice of course.)

I'm not that troubled by lawyers being in some of the seats, but getting some from outside the Eton/Oxbridge combine might be a good idea. If Cameron had been a lawyer, he might have remembered the lawyers' courtroom dictum: "Never ask someone a question if you don't already know the answer!"

Last edited by pattern_is_full; 6th Oct 2019 at 21:20.
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Old 6th Oct 2019, 21:21
  #27 (permalink)  
 
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I would merge a lot of London's MP constituencies and give them an extra staff allowance to cope, 73 MP's for one city means any votes or decisions are always going to tend to be London concentric, if you can run it with 1 Mayor, you do not need 73 seats.

I would turn the House of Lords into an elected house and rename it the upper house or similar, I would make the terms of any MP or incumbent of the House of Lords set at a maximum of three terms.

I would make it a requirement of anyone applying to stand for either to have had at least 10 years gainful taxed employment prior to applying, and not in politics.

I would prevent sitting MP's from holding any honorary directorships or posts whilst standing, and I would make it a requirement to not hold a post in any companies that they might of had dealings with for 5 years after deselection.

I would restrict the powers of the Speaker, he in my eyes overstepped the mark recently.

I would prevent Irish Welsh and Scottish MP's having a vote in anything England specific.

I would reduce the age of voting to 16 subject to those qualifying being taxpayers, Government spend their money, so they should have a say.

The region of Greater London, including the City of London, is divided into 73 parliamentary constituencies which are sub-classified as borough constituencies, affecting the type of electoral officer and level of expenses permitted. As of September 2019, 46 are represented by Labour MPs, 19 by Conservative MPs, 4 by Liberal Democrat MPs, 2 by The Independent Group for Change, and 2 are held by independents.

Last edited by NutLoose; 6th Oct 2019 at 21:41.
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Old 7th Oct 2019, 07:41
  #28 (permalink)  
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This is working out quite well.

Basically we can downsize by quite a bit, sell the current building off and find a more appropriate/functional working space, throw away all the old and irrelevant practices and procedures.

I'd still like to see more accountability for actions and words. Perhaps even an entrance exam on common sense as part of the selection process.

It would be a start.
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Old 7th Oct 2019, 08:13
  #29 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Cornish Jack View Post
ATNotts - impossible to disagree with any of that ... but, unless or until EVERY citizen has the opportunity to express their opinion in a way which makes their value EQUAL, all the rest is 'window dressing'. I am biased since I passed my 75th birthday before I was able to cast a vote which could AFFECT the outcome! Years in 'Safe' constituencies for one or other of the 3 major Parties, meant that my so-called enfranchisement was illusory Vote, or stay at home, quite irrelevant. There ought never to be such a thing as a 'Safe' seat. It ought not to be possible for unelected officials to be able to alter election outcomes by ANY margin, let alone 20 seats! The present system is corrupt and contemptuous of the wishes of the electorate. If EVERY vote had equal value, we MIGHT have a chance of a representative Government. As it is, 'Establishment' and unelected power groups hold sway for their own benefit. Change won't happen - 'they' have too much to lose!
Without a doubt, the largest problem within our democracy is the voting system. If the polls are to be believed (and that, I believe is a very big "if" for reasons I have discussed on other threads) we stand a very real chance of a true 3-way contest in the upcoming election, that commentators believe is going to happen sometime before Christmas, and this means that it is perfectly possible that we could see a "majority" government formed with not much more than 30% of the national popular vote and that is scandalous.

I moved into a marginal constituency about 20 years ago. Until then my constituency was one where the incumbent party could put up a chimpanzee called ChiChi, and it would have got elected, this except in very exceptional years of political turmoil there was little point in turning out whichever way you wished to cast your vote. Now, in a marginal my vote might actually count, but as it's a 3-way marginal the winner is likely to take the seat with barely a third of the popular vote, so I feel better about the value of my participation but the result is hardly a reflection of the views of the electorate.

A better system for me would be the one where the general election is split into two. On the first round all candidates are in play. If one gets 50% + 1 vote then they are elected; if not, then the leading two candidates go into a run off 2 weeks later so that we are forced into deciding essentially, which candidate we dislike least. That way, at least we wind up with a government elected by something approaching a majority of those of the electorate who chose to take part. In that regard it should be compulsory to vote; and really 16 yearolds ought to be participating, since when you compare the stage of life that they are at, compared with say a 70 yearold, they have much more to gain or lose with their whole working life ahead of them.

As you say, nothing will change because vested interests, principally the Labour and Conservative parties have too much to lose by making change.
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Old 7th Oct 2019, 08:46
  #30 (permalink)  
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I would reduce the age of voting to 16 subject to those qualifying being taxpayers, Government spend their money, so they should have a say.
To be honest I would favour raising it to 21. 16 year olds are governed by their hearts and not their heads and the occasional political discussions I hear by "mature" skoolkidz on buses can be frightening in their naivety. Not that adults are necessarily any more mature these days...

I'd still like to see more accountability for actions and words. Perhaps even an entrance exam on common sense as part of the selection process.
I think the population at large should be made to have lessons and sit an exam before they are qualified to vote for the first time - lessons would include subjects such as "How Reliable Is Twitter As a News Source?", "How Is It Possible To Determine When a Politician Is Lying?"* and "Spot The Difference: News vs Opinion".

If we were to have a Parliamentary overhaul, we should also look at the local Council system, particularly in respect of planning matters.

*That, of course, would be quite a short lesson...
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Old 7th Oct 2019, 08:55
  #31 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by treadigraph View Post
To be honest I would favour raising it to 21. 16 year olds are governed by their hearts and not their heads and the occasional political discussions I hear by "mature" skoolkidz on buses can be frightening in their naivety. Not that adults are necessarily any more mature these days...
But surely in that case you must also raise the minimum age requirements for many jobs to 21 as well.
After all, would you want 17/18/19/20 year old joining up to the armed forces where they may well be sent off to war during which time any decisions may be governed by their hearts and not their heads?
How about driving on the roads? If people under 21 years old can't be trusted to make sensible decisions based on logic rather then on their hearts, should they be allowed to take control of a vehicle?


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Old 7th Oct 2019, 09:06
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Old 7th Oct 2019, 09:18
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Far too often, MPs vote on party lines and not what is best for the country (Brexit aside).

That needs to change.
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Old 7th Oct 2019, 09:31
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"After all, would you want 17/18/19/20 year old joining up to the armed forces where they may well be sent off to war during which time any decisions may be governed by their hearts and not their heads?"

Exactly why the military recruits people at that age, actually.
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Old 7th Oct 2019, 09:35
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Originally Posted by 419 View Post
But surely in that case you must also raise the minimum age requirements for many jobs to 21 as well.
After all, would you want 17/18/19/20 year old joining up to the armed forces where they may well be sent off to war during which time any decisions may be governed by their hearts and not their heads?
How about driving on the roads? If people under 21 years old can't be trusted to make sensible decisions based on logic rather then on their hearts, should they be allowed to take control of a vehicle?
17 year olds cannot be sent to war, true the odd one slipped through, but they were removed immediately it became apparent, one was days from his 18th so they kept in in theatre but out of harms way for the days until he became 18.

99.9% of the time those making the decisions will be older higher ranks who will direct their actions.
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Old 7th Oct 2019, 09:37
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To be honest I would favour raising it to 21. 16 year olds are governed by their hearts and not their heads and the occasional political discussions I hear by "mature" skoolkidz on buses can be frightening in their naivety. Not that adults are necessarily any more mature these days...
I used to be of exactly the same opinion, until I had a total career change and in my current role I have to interview young people between 10 - 15 on matters of substance. I found it very surprising that given the opportunity to give their opinions on important subjects (that is, not the latest film, video game, celeb, footie etc etc) they, without exception take the matters seriously and never in my experience pee around. "Skoolkidz" as you have observed appear to behave differently when amongst their own cohort. Anyway, you'd tend to find that those who aren't interested in matters of substance, rather than froth, would be less likely to take part anyway.

As for adults, generally, I'd say they appear less well informed than at anytime in my adult life; or am i just getting old?
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Old 7th Oct 2019, 09:39
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MP's if they are voted in by a majority of their constituents on a subject such as Brexit and go against their constituents wishes should be deselected and a by election held.
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Old 7th Oct 2019, 09:52
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Originally Posted by NutLoose View Post
MP's if they are voted in by a majority of their constituents on a subject such as Brexit and go against their constituents wishes should be deselected and a by election held.
That's quite a dangerous path to follow. If MPs were obliged to vote in accordance with the (alleged) wishes of their constituents we'd have hanging back by now (not capital punishment but, hanging), probably prison with hard labour, and a fair number of MPs would be forced to vote for something akin to apartheid or "sending immigrants home". On Brexit most MPs are in favour of going through with it; but not necessarily in the cliff-edge manner desired by some.

I suppose on the positive side we might also get euthanasia legalised.
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Old 7th Oct 2019, 09:56
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Originally Posted by treadigraph View Post
To be honest I would favour raising it to 21. 16 year olds are governed by their hearts and not their heads and the occasional political discussions I hear by "mature" skoolkidz on buses can be frightening in their naivety. Not that adults are necessarily any more mature these days...
Decoded: 16-21 year olds are far too likely to vote for Corbyn, so they can butt out!

Thread decoded: Change the Parliamentary system so that all MPs will vote for Brexit!

However some good points are in here. For me the last 3 years have demonstrated the need for a written constitution. 650 MPs are way too many - 300-400 would be much better. You wouldn’t want to go lower while we have the concept of a constituency MP, as each one would then have too many constituents to be able to address their specific issues. Whatever we think of them, most MPs are pretty good at dealing with issues that constituents bring to them, as demonstrated by the earlier comments about good constituent MPs getting re-elected time after time despite national swings that ought to see them lose.

PR would be a good move, though the evidence of 2010-2015 is that some major re-education of MPs and the public wounded to be done so that they can grasp the concept. In a coalition government, the 2 or more parties of government can’t all get their way on all of their manifesto points. Prioritisation and consensus building is required for the concept to work properly.

Finally - transform the current building into a museum, and build a new one that is fit for the 21st century. A round chamber rather than the combative 2 sides, and electronic voting would be a good start.
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Old 7th Oct 2019, 10:29
  #40 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Grayfly View Post
Agreed, if you put lawyers into Parliament all they will do is create law, it's all they are designed for. Waste of time, space and money.

I'd make the benchmark an Engineer with business experience. Logical and no BS, problem solver and solutions provider.
The purpose of parliament is to legislate, i.e. create law. The government has more managerial functions.
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