Friday, 19 February 2010

Abolish Short Term Politics

Perhaps unintentionally, 'The Times', in its effort to promote the way forward for a Conservative Government, has highlighted the reason for the need to bring in proportional representation. On page 2 of today's paper, the commentary declares, 'The role of government is not to own and control, but to help to stabilise the economy. That means building surpluses in good economic times, so that there is scope for extra spending in a downturn.'

Precisely. Short term spending plans in the UK is the natural bi product of short term politics, which in turn is the natural consequence of a two party dominated first past the post electoral system.

Amusingly, The Times further reports on page 4 in a commentary about not legislating to punish aggressive marketers for sexualising children, the reporter notes that, 'psychologists have shown that punishment teaches only how to avoid the punishment. The best way to encourage others to do what you want is to reward them.'

So there you have it. Politicians do not learn from being voted out over the short term; they simply find a way not to get voted out the next time. In other words they find more clever and devious ways to carry on doing what they do but not get caught.

Now it is not true to say that this applies to every individual politician. The recent expenses scandal revealed that only 52% of politicians had their fingers in the till in some way or another. What is fundamentally wrong is that one political party holds so much power that it can railroad through legislation at the rate of knots, beat down all opposition simply through sheer weight of numbers and bend the country's economic future to its political whim regardless of the country's long term future.

The most sensible way to cool down the rapidly changing political landscape is to dismantle completely the first past the post system, by pass the politically popular but rather pointless AVS system and adopt a full blooded proportional representation system. It is argued that proportional representation would weaken government, slow down legislation and make political changes more difficult. Sounds good to me. And it should also be recognised that most other European countries already have a proportional representation system working quite happily thank you very much.

So how do we get there? certainly it won't be by 'rewarding' the main parties with our votes. We must put a tremendous dent in the main parties in order to make them understand that we want proper government and not political jiggery pokery, ping pong, negative slanging matches and a complete disregard for the little people; consider for example the Conservative MP, forced by changes to the expenses regime, who was outraged at having to stand on the train in economy class along with the rest of us little people. Why should he not share the experience that many of us face in our daily commute to work?

The UK will soon be asked to vote for a new Government. Considering that none of us will get anything from any government other than higher taxes, now might be as good a time as any to change our voting allegiances to who we really want. For now that might mean voting for anyone except the big three - unless, of course you enjoy this sort of perpetual crisis management.

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