Sunday, 13 April 2008

Four ideas for better democracy

For every parliamentary candidate:

1. Criminal records indicated on the ballot paper.

2. Full CV and two references posted online for all to see.

3. Set your required salary (inc expenses) on the ballot paper.

4. Politics 101 test score also on the ballot paper (testing eg. stats, political history & philosophy, comprehension)

And that's just with the current system. Don't even get me started on electoral reform...

3 comments:

Miller 2.0 said...

These ideas would be disastrous.

For every parliamentary candidate:

1. Criminal records indicated on the ballot paper.

-Why? Surely this is the duty of counter-campaigners to highlight? What about all those former gauche youngsters and Peter Hain types? Those who have reformed?

2. Full CV and two references posted online for all to see.

-Should the criteria which apply to employment really apply to political office? What about representing the unemployed? Or the young? This would put an unwelcome emphasis on campaign content.

3. Set your required salary (inc expenses) on the ballot paper.

-this effectively disbars the poor, who would require higher salaries, and have less ability to pay any surplus costs they happen to incur.

4. Politics 101 test score also on the ballot paper (testing eg. stats, political history & philosophy, comprehension)

-OK, now this is a good one!

Mark Wadsworth said...

Aha, you are back up and blogging again.

As to electoral reform, look up the Baden-W├╝rttemberg system (which Neil Harding tracked down, see comments). Which, given a few tweaks, seems to me by far and away the least-worst system.

sanbikinoraion said...

Miller 2.0:

1. Sure, one of them, yes. However, I think a lot of people, particularly in safe seats, don't really get exposed to that much counter-campaigning, which in turn makes it even easier to break the law and get away with it. I'm not really suggesting every criminal conviction ever goes on the ballot, just "unspent" ones and any for a longer time period that are related to public trust eg. fraud and perjury.

2. The poor and unemployed are likely to score far worse on (4), as well. I think that those criteria should apply: being an MP is a job, and it is a rather difficult job with a lot of responsibility attached to it. I don't really want any bigoted idiots in the role, thanks. If you were hiring them for a private company run by yourself, you wouldn't want that sort of person either. There are too many MPs like Nadine Dorris and Caroline Flint bungling about without a clue in parliament and the electoral system should discriminate against them, and towards experienced, intelligent people with the requisite skills for being an MP.

3. Well, one would set both a lower and upper limit - the lower limit so that the poor cannot be priced out, the upper so that "safe" candidates cannot charge the earth! Also the salary should really be drawn directly out of the pockets of the people in the constituency to make it mildly worth their while to police properly. It would certainly end the fiasco of current MPs' expenses.