Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Reforming Representative Democracy



It doesn't work so it must be fixed.

At the moment, political parties produce a manifesto containing the least disliked set of policies their focus groups come up with and put forward a candidate that ticks the trendy diversity and inclusivity boxes. Thus voters in a constituency vote on a mixed auction lot of policies, only some of which they positively like, and for a candidate who may be a complete twerp but at least voting for him or her means that the the awful policies of the other parties and their incompetent and corrupt ministers aren't elected to form a government. In addition, manifesto promises are meant to be broken as circumstances change.

And with the Coalition Agreement of May 2010, democracy stepped back to allow the party bigwigs to bargain amongst themselves a new set of policies that very few wanted when they actually voted in the General Election.

What I propose is that the policies and parliamentarians are voted for separately. It's not a such radical change as it might appear at first sight, since MPs are already duty bound to look after the interests of all of their constituents no mattter whom they voted for.

There will still be parties and they will produce policies to be voted on. However, voters will be able to pick and mix the policies they want instead of having to bid for a mixed auction lot. Voting will take place on a touch screen and voters can vote for as many policy areas as they wish. The most popular policies in the constituency will form the accountable constituency business plan of the Representatative Advocate who will be voted for separately after the policies have been selected on the same touch screen.

Representative Advocates (RAs) are like barristers whose duty is to put their clients case forward to the best of their ability. They can be members of political parties but they are obliged to vote for and enable the policies voted for by their constituents.  If they ignore the constituency business plan RAs can be recalled by a petition of 20% + 1  of their voting constituents or voted out at the next election.  RAs  will be elected on the basis of their character, experience and judgement.

By reforming representative democracy in this way and introducing direct democracy by Referism, the will of the people will be more accurately translated into the way we are governed.

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