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> How would you reform the political system?
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Brett-Butler
post Sep 6 2015, 11:18 AM
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I thought it would be a fun idea to consider what we would do to reform the current UK political system. Many people want to see it changed in one way or another, with proportional representation and an elected upper chamber being two of the things that reformists want to bring in. However, if you were in a position to change things, what would you do? Let's have a real brainstorming session, the more out of the box and original, the better!

Two reforms that I would like to see brought in would be -

A randomised House of Lords - Although an elected Upper Chamber would stop the habit of current representatives being appointed based on how much money they've donated to the incumbant party, it could just end up replicating the structure of the House of Commons, which would go against the point of a chamber of scrutiny. Therefore, I propose a truly representative House of Lords, where the new Lords are picked purely by chance.

How I would want it to work - let's say that the new House of Lords is to be capped at 600 people. Over the course of the year, 40 members have either died or resigned. Anyone who wants to register to become a new member of the Lords can put their name forward for consideration (perhaps with a £10 registration fee). Once the closing period for registration closes, a draw is held, overseen by an independent adjudicator, to randomly select which 40 individuals will ascend to the House of Lords. I believe that this would be a great idea, as it would ensure that people outside the political bubble will be able to have a direct say on legislation, plus it will ensure that the make-up of the House would be truly representative of the UK population. Plus, the yearly draw could become a major TV event, like the draft in American Football.

The 651st MP - Whilst PR is the goal of many reformists, because it's unlikely to be brought in because parties who benefit from FPTP aren't turkeys voting for Christmas, it would be nice to have another way to ensure that parties who receive a large amount of support without any MPs have a say in the commons, no matter how small. Therefore, I propose bringing in a 651st MP.

Under this system, the party who received the largest number of votes without securing an MP will be given a seat in the House of Commons. The individual selected will be the member of that party who gains the largest % of the vote without getting a seat in their own right. This MP would be able to vote on matters in parliament just like any other MP. However, they would not represent a specific constituency, and if they were to die or resign, their seat would not be filled until the next General Election.

Under this system, the Alliance Party would have gained the 651st seat in 2015, Ukip would have won the additional seat in 2010, the now defunct Referendum Party would have gained a seat in 1997, whilst the Greens would have had an MP as far back as 1987.


Now let's hear your wonderful ideas, or criticisms of others.
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Soy Adrián
post Sep 6 2015, 02:03 PM
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A randomised Lords would be interesting, although there'd need to be all sorts of provision to make sure that the application/selection isn't skewed towards certain groups. You may as well go the whole hog and do it like jury service (although obviously with a lot more get-out clauses) but you'd still to make sure that members aren't corrupted by the existing political institutions.

How about this for an idea for an alternative upper chamber: council leaders. Most of their non-ceremonial local duties can be deferred to other councillors, so why not make sure the upper chamber represents the interests of the whole country by getting every council leader together to scrutinise Commons policy? They're indirectly elected most years through local elections but don't have enough of a direct mandate to demand greater powers.

I'd change the electoral system to a mix of AV and STV, with 50% of MPs elected by each. AV for half ensures a local link, STV (maybe at the county level) makes it more proportional.

While we're at it, I'd completely overhaul local government and replace it with a two-tier system based around Travel-to-Work Areas (google them, they're great). Yes, it would be heinously expensive but, any new garden cities (which I woudn't do anyway, but I'm disappearing down a planning rabbit hole here) notwithstanding, the boundaries would be relevant for the way that people actually live and work now and wouldn't need to be changed for a very long time.
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Crazy Christmas
post Sep 6 2015, 03:33 PM
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QUOTE(Brett-Butler @ Sep 6 2015, 12:18 PM) *
The 651st MP - Whilst PR is the goal of many reformists, because it's unlikely to be brought in because parties who benefit from FPTP aren't turkeys voting for Christmas, it would be nice to have another way to ensure that parties who receive a large amount of support without any MPs have a say in the commons, no matter how small. Therefore, I propose bringing in a 651st MP.

Under this system, the party who received the largest number of votes without securing an MP will be given a seat in the House of Commons. The individual selected will be the member of that party who gains the largest % of the vote without getting a seat in their own right. This MP would be able to vote on matters in parliament just like any other MP. However, they would not represent a specific constituency, and if they were to die or resign, their seat would not be filled until the next General Election.

Under this system, the Alliance Party would have gained the 651st seat in 2015, Ukip would have won the additional seat in 2010, the now defunct Referendum Party would have gained a seat in 1997, whilst the Greens would have had an MP as far back as 1987.
Now let's hear your wonderful ideas, or criticisms of others.



That's a great idea actually.
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Christmas Cherry...
post Sep 7 2015, 04:55 PM
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QUOTE(Brett-Butler @ Sep 6 2015, 12:18 PM) *
A randomised House of Lords - Although an elected Upper Chamber would stop the habit of current representatives being appointed based on how much money they've donated to the incumbant party, it could just end up replicating the structure of the House of Commons, which would go against the point of a chamber of scrutiny. Therefore, I propose a truly representative House of Lords, where the new Lords are picked purely by chance.

How I would want it to work - let's say that the new House of Lords is to be capped at 600 people. Over the course of the year, 40 members have either died or resigned. Anyone who wants to register to become a new member of the Lords can put their name forward for consideration (perhaps with a £10 registration fee). Once the closing period for registration closes, a draw is held, overseen by an independent adjudicator, to randomly select which 40 individuals will ascend to the House of Lords. I believe that this would be a great idea, as it would ensure that people outside the political bubble will be able to have a direct say on legislation, plus it will ensure that the make-up of the House would be truly representative of the UK population. Plus, the yearly draw could become a major TV event, like the draft in American Football.


House of Lords sick2.gif I so strongly sense the need for reform, however I very strongly disagree with having an wholly elected second chamber, I could go on for ages about why but to sum it up I just don't think it's democratic under our system, as weird as that sounds. However, I think this is quite a good solution, it would be interesting to see how this would work actually. Obviously there would be a lot of people in parties (like the current House of Lords) but there would probably be a similar amount, if not more of cross benchers too, which I guess could only improve scrutiny. Also it could help bridge the gap between politicians and the electorate more, maybe helping with voting apathy too! I think the hardest thing to control would be bias, I could imagine politicians/big businesses/certain pressure groups trying to corrupt/bribe these people into hidden agendas, maybe an independent commission to make sure salaries are fixed and "donations" so to speak are maintained could be a solution biggrin.gif

I'd love to change the voting system to STV wub.gif

Also the Education system would be great to change. I think too many students go to sixth forms, and universities and would be so much better suited doing vocational courses or apprenticeships etc. Unfortunately I think some see a negative stigma around these things, as there is so much pressure to stay in school and go to university as the ONLY OPTION (at least there is around here I don't know what experiences other people have had!). I think people should be able to begin the process of making their own subject decisions earlier, not even that significantly different but for example being able to choose between History or Geography in Year 8 instead of having to wait until Year 10 (Once again I'm not too sure what kind of experiences different people have, at my school we do all the subjects until Year 10 when we start our GCSEs) would help students to become more knowledgeable in the subject they will actually end up being examined on.Another interesting debate is whether we should have compulsory subjects at GCSE, it's difficult because subjects like maths and science are not compared in the same way as art and drama, however both subjects could be equally as hard to someone who is not sciency or arty for example. Also there should be more options earlier on to do more vocational courses as for some people school just isn't for them, and being taught for a specific occupation may be more beneficial. Although it seems to a degree we could be heading for change there as I have seen a commitment to more apprenticeship placements being opened up. Exam reform would also be great because we all know the debate of whether exams actually test our knowledge or our memory skills sleep.gif I support bringing back more coursework and more modular units as although it would be more exams overall, it seems fairer to students to have a range of results rather than just basing a whole grade on 1 or 2 exams at the end of the year.

Sorry that was a bit of a ramble, hope it's readable teresa.gif
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Popchartfreak
post Sep 7 2015, 06:52 PM
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House Of Lords should be disbanded and a second chamber either made up of proportionately elected politicians, elections to take place mid-way through a parliament to make sure it's not just a mirror of the previous H of P elections, and to keep the government on their toes. The house is to go through Acts of Parliament looking for sheer stupidity, lack of forethought, hidden costs, lies and consequences, and throw them back to be reconsidered if need be in the light of new comments. It will also slow bills down and stop knee-jerk reactions. If not elected, then I'd appoint actual experts in politics, law and the like.

Sorry to the above comment, but I wouldnt under any circumstance allow Heads of Councils anywhere near government, the last thing we need is NIMBY self-interested localists having power over the country. If they want national power they can stand for that and resign their local position, the two are contradictory interests. MP's are bad enough in their blinkered localism/pandering to organised vocal self-interest groups and their own business interests. Which, incidentally, I'd also bring in - no "Johnny Two-Jobs" allowed for MP's. If you can't make ends meet on the wages and expenses then campaign for a wage rise or don't stand in the first place. Representing your local area and the country is and should be a full-time job, not something to slip in while you make shitloads from all your "contacts". Standing on a board of Directors especially.

The Speaker of the House should also be a rotating monthly position, so they all stand a chance of experiencing being neutral and impartial. To avoid shouting in the House, which is evry annoying, they would be issued with a microphone that distorts the voice to sound like a Dalek. Anyone failing to obey orders to behave to be virtually exterminated with a big red plunger stuck on their forehead. IDS to have one at all times, anyway.
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Soy Adrián
post Sep 7 2015, 11:09 PM
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The issue I have with a directly elected Lords is that it would give them a lot of legitimacy to influence and even write policy, which I don't really want from an upper chamber - I want scrutiny, not gridlock.
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richie
post Sep 16 2015, 11:27 AM
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I'd love to see an end to the notion of political parties. This would, in turn, bring an end to voters simply putting an X next to a party in elections without having found out what the candidate themselves stand for. Instead, five or six local candidates would stand to be elected represent the constituency (which I what they're supposed to be doing).

A Prime Minister would then be elected by separate Presidential-style ballot by all voters across the nation and they would select a cabinet in the current style by interviewing applicants and selecting the best person for the job from the returned MPs.

It's practically unworkable though - too many people are too lazy to even read individual candidate leaflets or turn up to local debates - and that would be a requirement. Also, politicians are sneaky by nature and choosing the cabinet under this method would still result in the PM picking their cronies rather than the best person.

I think it would be the ultimate example of democracy though. No matter how idealistic it is!
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Soy Adrián
post Sep 16 2015, 10:07 PM
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Parties evolved because they're mutually beneficial (in theory) for politicians and voters. If they were abolished they'd be replaced by something else.
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Qassändra
post Sep 16 2015, 10:15 PM
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QUOTE(richie @ Sep 16 2015, 12:27 PM) *
I'd love to see an end to the notion of political parties. This would, in turn, bring an end to voters simply putting an X next to a party in elections without having found out what the candidate themselves stand for. Instead, five or six local candidates would stand to be elected represent the constituency (which I what they're supposed to be doing).

A Prime Minister would then be elected by separate Presidential-style ballot by all voters across the nation and they would select a cabinet in the current style by interviewing applicants and selecting the best person for the job from the returned MPs.

It's practically unworkable though - too many people are too lazy to even read individual candidate leaflets or turn up to local debates - and that would be a requirement. Also, politicians are sneaky by nature and choosing the cabinet under this method would still result in the PM picking their cronies rather than the best person.

I think it would be the ultimate example of democracy though. No matter how idealistic it is!

The massive downside of this would be that it would be tremendously easy for a Prime Minister to be elected to preside over a Parliament that disagreed with them substantively on nearly everything, given the primary criterion for many for electing a PM would be likely ideological, and the primary criterion for electing an MP would likely be local and thence see the election of (in practice) an overwhelming majority for a NIMBY bloc. Aside from the potential political ideological gridlock, infrastructure would become near impossible.
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richie
post Sep 22 2015, 08:01 AM
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Yes, it pretty much sums up what is wrong with the system. As I said, it's 100% idealistic and could never work.
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Brett-Butler
post Apr 12 2016, 07:30 PM
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Time for another ill thought out-brainwave from me for ideas for electoral reform -

Yearly elections to the House of Commons - Instead of the current system where every seat is voted on every five years, every year, 1/5 of the seats in the House of Commons will be up for grabs on a rotated basis, spread evenly across all the regions of the UK. That way , if a government is really unpopular, realistically they could be out of office within the space of the year. I imagine there'd be a number of flaws with the system - parties won't tend to think much beyond the next election and the way it's set up means that there's a good chance of permanent yet ever-changing coalitions, meaning the chance of stable government is rather slim.
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Qassändra
post Apr 12 2016, 10:51 PM
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It'd...be good for continuity, if nothing else.
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