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Is it time for Parliamentary Reform?

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Is it time for Parliamentary Reform?

Old 6th Oct 2019, 10:59
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Is it time for Parliamentary Reform?

The last Great Reform Act was in 1832. In view of the absolute mess our current crop of MPs, practices and processes continually deliver is it time to make UK Parliament fit for the future or at least able to operate in the 21st Century? I would like to think that running a country requires a bit of professionalism and the theatrics, buffoonery and legal protections for untruths of centuries ago are no longer appropriate. Perhaps more regulated operations, practices and processes where people are held accountable for words and actions whilst within office would be more efficient. You know, just like in the real world.

It is depressing to think that reform is probably not possible, where would you even start? Is there anybody happy with the current system?
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Old 6th Oct 2019, 11:03
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Originally Posted by Grayfly View Post
The last Great Reform Act was in 1832. In view of the absolute mess our current crop of MPs, practices and processes continually deliver is it time to make UK Parliament fit for the future or at least able to operate in the 21st Century? I would like to think that running a country requires a bit of professionalism and the theatrics, buffoonery and legal protections for untruths of centuries ago are no longer appropriate. Perhaps more regulated operations, practices and processes where people are held accountable for words and actions whilst within office would be more efficient. You know, just like in the real world.

It is depressing to think that reform is probably not possible, where would you even start? Is there anybody happy with the current system?
Start point: do not promote democracy as something good to aim for......
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Old 6th Oct 2019, 11:23
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Is that similar to 'will of the people'?
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Old 6th Oct 2019, 11:36
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....yes...
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Old 6th Oct 2019, 12:01
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What do you mean by "the absolute mess of our current crop of MP's, practices and processes?"

I see Parliament upholding democracy against an executive under Johnson who seem determined to inflict damage upon the people of this country and are prepared to lie and decieve in order to achieve it. The country is split roughly down the middle on Brexit, Parliament reflects that with the total inability to get an agreed deal through. MP's are elected to represent their constituents interests, ALL of their constituents, and not just those who voted for them, and not just those who chose to vote a certain way in a referendum.

I would suggest that the problem we have is that of the use of the referendum. It is a non Parliamentary tool and should not be a part of our democratic system. A system that is proving that it does hold the executive to account, and the Speaker is a leading light in this.

Parliament is not preventing Brexit, it is preventing a NO Deal Brexit because that is something that would harm MP's constituents and the UK economy, and has been voted as unlawful under the law of this land.
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Old 6th Oct 2019, 12:20
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Grayfly and rifruffian - be warned, the following will enrage some of our contributors and stump others - What is Democracy?.
It is a term used incessantly to support/defend/attack policies espoused/agreed with/ disagreed with and, as such, it is utterly meaningless - or to be more accurate it is 'Humpty Dumpty' language - it means what the user wants it to mean. It has arguably, been used more often during the Brexit 'debate' than any other term and has added not one jot of clarity to the mix. It will continue thus mainly because those who have the ability to question the term, totally fail to do so. In the 3+ years of this ongoing shambles, not one, not a single interviewer, commentator, interlocutor etc. has ever queried this usage!! And so it will continue ... Democracy this, Democratic that - utterly meaningless platitudes designed to soothe 'the masses' and hoodwink them into believing that their views are being taken in to account, while the power brokers throw commonsense to the winds and blindly follow people whose interests are entirely personal and the country can put up with it. The argument for PROPER PR is irrefutable but it would deprive the 'powerful' of their ability to 'influence'. Can't allow that!
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Old 6th Oct 2019, 12:23
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Originally Posted by pr00ne View Post
What do you mean by "the absolute mess of our current crop of MP's, practices and processes?"
Pretty much everything you outlined in your post.

Regardless of party. If someone has lied or threatened to break the law or indeed broken the law etc in the real world that would be P45 and exit via the nearest door. In the case of MP that would be a by election ( as opposed to the current buy election).

If the threat of instant dismissal for certain activities was in the contract. it may change behaviors etc.

I simply expect more accountability for words and actions and would want more rigor on how one is able to be appointed as an MP. I know any fool can become an MP, but don't want fools running the country.
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Old 6th Oct 2019, 12:51
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"No consensus exists on how to define democracy," - From Wikipedia

So... Cornish Jack is right.
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Old 6th Oct 2019, 13:04
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I'm still more concerned about procedures and processes. Perhaps that's the result of over 40 years as an engineering professional where I had to deal with facts, details, outcomes and risks. Ego didn't really enter the equation.

I employed lawyers and accountants to keep my ideas legal and within financial accountability, I didn't ask them to run my business for me or come up with ideas in my realm of expertise.

If as an MP I need to surround myself with people to do my job for me or come up with ideas that make me appear that I can do my job, then perhaps, just perhaps I'm in the wrong job.
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Old 6th Oct 2019, 13:10
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I think regardless of which side of the Brexit fence you guys sit on, due your constitution being unwritten and therefore relying on precedent, there’s been some very dangerous precedents set in the last 12 months or so. The speaker has expanded the powers of the position massively by allowing and disallowing May’s deal in the ways he did amongst other actions. In future this could really hurt your country on other issues depending on any future speaker’s intentions or their influence by the government.

If Bojo the clown doesn’t ask for an extension and gets away with it, this basically voids any future parliamentary vote against any future PM
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Old 6th Oct 2019, 13:21
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I imagine my concerns about procedures and processes = a written constitution. So who writes it?
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Old 6th Oct 2019, 14:12
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" So who writes it? "
Who indeed? What we need is a group of people who can produce a written treatise which will set out the acceptable relationship between Citizen and State to provide 'checks and balances' so as to avoid Power devolving to one, possibly, malign individual or group. It will provide protection for the People from the State and (occasionally) vice versa. Something like the 'Founding Fathers' of our reliable allies 'across the pond' accomplished.
Oh!, wait a minute, let me think that through again!.
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Old 6th Oct 2019, 14:20
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Originally Posted by Grayfly View Post
I imagine my concerns about procedures and processes = a written constitution. So who writes it?
Who wrote the US, German or French constitutions? I would imagine a similar person or college of people would do the job for the UK. It is surely high time the UK had a fit-for-purpose written constitution.

I'd also get rid of parliament (the chambers) as they are now; turn the place into a museum. Commission a modern parliamentary building, designed in the round, with space sufficient for each member to have a seat, including access to technology and voting done from the seat rather than walking into lobbies. Tear up the arcane traditions, Black Rod, speaker's robes, archaic language etc etc. The UK is, or at least ought to be a modern forward looking country with a system of governance fit for the 21st century, not the 18th.
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Old 6th Oct 2019, 14:38
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I am in complete agreement, the resistance to change from the current set up will be immense. That's a bigger issue. The current occupants of Parliament will have great difficulty finding alternative employment.
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Old 6th Oct 2019, 14:55
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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!
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Old 6th Oct 2019, 15:26
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If we used the mechanism of a referendum to leave the EU because they wouldn't reform, perhaps we should also have a referendum in the UK with a similar binary choice of reform or continue with current corrupt system. Same offer of enacting the result. Which side would Dominic Cummings help?
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Old 6th Oct 2019, 15:37
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We need another one trick party like the Brexit Party to create some action. This one could be called the Reform Party. They'd get my vote.
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Old 6th Oct 2019, 15:59
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Parliament is fine, it's the present Parliamentarians that need 'reform'.

And they have blocked the opportunity for us to do that in a General Election -- twice. They recognise a gravy train when they're on one and don't want to allow us the opportunity to get them off it.

In chess stalemate is the end of a game and a new one has to be started. The same should apply with this Parliament and we should start a new one -- through a General Election.

I know that Cornish Jack is very vocal about his want for PR, but it is entirely 'party list' dominated with all the corrupt practices that that brings and the 'stamping out' of individualism. I had a vote in a PR system once where one of the candidates supported my view point on an important (to me) topic perfectly but his party's policy on that topic was the opposite, so I was forced to vote for another party. (I was pleased that he did get in and contacted him to say as much -- his answer was that the PR system has its obvious faults). I also know of a constituency MP ('orange' party) who 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, then the 'blue' party took the seat back. That individual quality would be squashed in a PR system that has no place for individuals and all the emphasis on 'party'. MPs in a PR system have more excuse to hide away from their electorate than MPs in a constituency based system and I would not trust them.
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Old 6th Oct 2019, 16:17
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All too frequently the use of referendums can be demonstrated to be little more than an opportunity for elected to politicians to abrogate their responsibility on matters that they deem to be contrary to their political futures.
There is still (always will be) a need for the ability to directly canvas the will of the electorate whether that be through a binding referendum or through a non-binding plebiscite.
But may I suggest that any reform include a variation that puts the hurdle for change somewhere above 50%.
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Old 6th Oct 2019, 16:20
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Without the reform of both Parliamentary processes and MPs what exactly have we taken back control of? I would certainly start with reforming the MP selection and qualification process. As I stated earlier I know any fool can become an MP, but I don't want a fool I want the best .
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