Random Thoughts 37, Is Political Change Required?

This is not just a bit of fun, it is a search by someone not particularly politically orientated, or knowledgeable, to find a system which will improve on the one we have. Instead of writing this as I usually do, I shall do what it says on the tin, put down random thoughts. I have previously stated that Blair went his presidential way, because he believed that only he knew what was to be done. I know of no deputy Prime Minister who was treated like John Prescott. Now it’s got Menzies Campbell (I can’t spell Minges) adopting, basically, the same attitude. It doesn’t surprise any of us, we have known it for some time. The problem is what to do about it: Start by examining our political structure. We have local government, mostly part-timers, guided by civil servants, and loosely responsible to their community. They in turn have to obtain the approval of the civil service for what they choose to do and how they carry it out. The civil service, allegedly, is handling or passing on instructions from the ruling government, performing functions which run the country, and dealing with foreign powers. The civil service, to put it crudely, is divided into the secretariat and the technocrats. The technocrats are the professionals who run the services, engineers, medicals, lawyers, tax collectors, and so on. The secretariat liaises with government, advises government, sets the parameters in which the technocrats must operate, does the purchasing, oversees the running of the civil service, and monitors the running of local government. Some parameters the civil service sets can be contrary to good management when forced to be used by the technocrats, but it is set in stone from the distant past.

Presidents can be ruled by their advisers and pressure groups. Dictators are obviously a disaster. We need to ensure the people governing the country, in all its complexity, are trained, and of a very high standard of ability and political nous,. It is clearly dangerous for a party to have such an overall majority that none can gainsay a party policy be it right or wrong. The current level of political apathy indicates people no longer trust politicians. This is serious. The electorate must have a say. These parameters demand a rethink of the political system I have written before, that as a technocrat, operating within local government was simpler, more flexible, and less frustrating than National government – and I have experience of both.

Taking into account the Lords, I consider the system has four tiers, because I suspect, especially if a parliamentarian is weak, that the civil service is a tier in itself. Q one, if we limit the majority of the leading party, are we disfranchising? A, yes. Q two, do we really need, local government, national government and the Lords? A. we would never get away with taking one of them out, but we might be able to modify. Q three. Do we really need all these MPs, if some of their duties were taken over by full-time representatives at local level vetting the work previously done by committee and proposed to be done by civil servants, would this not suffice? That is to say, at local level you have full-time and part-time councillors, the full-time ones, fixed number from major parties, not raving loonies, while the part-timers can represent anybody including raving loonies.. In effect the full-time councillors will act as backbenchers, have a much better knowledge, I suspect than now, of what is going on locally and would feed the information, the wishes of the electorate, and anything else pertinent, to the frontbench MPs in Westminster. If the elections at local level for both the local authority and Westminster, were concurrent, and with a proportional representation system for determining who moves to Parliament and who stays at local level, was considered, it would enable the electorate to vote for whom they liked, while understanding some of the candidates were professionals and some unpaid, part-time. Each member of the electorate would be provided with a. number of votes and the opportunity to give preference. It may sound complicated, but not a lot more so than people are finding today when they have both local and Westminster elections at the same time. One thing is certain, the system will be cheaper even with increased remuneration for the professionals., and I believe if properly organised, will give better service at grassroots level. The professionals’ selection would be conditional to passing some form of scrutiny with respect to training, social experience and competence. People would not be able to offer themselves for candidature as now, except for the part-time posts at local level.

This is merely a thought, perhaps a crazy one, but even if it makes people think that there must be a better way than the one we have, which has served us for hundreds of years. Now, there are fewer people of quality interested in going into politics, the pickings are better and the interest greater outside. So it is clear that not only the system needs change, but the remuneration.

Categorized as General

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