Never mind all that first past the post and proportional representation. Let’s fix democracy by ending party politics and running with this idea.
Is the morally inflexible nature of ‘nailing your flag to the mast’, firmly affixing yourself to someone else’s ideology and manifesto and signing up for the blue, red or yellow team the way to a better Britain? If 40% of people vote for the blue club – the other 60% are stuck with the blues, even if they’re fervently yellow, purple, red or green. Naturally this would make 60% of the nation slightly disgruntled for 5 long years – it doesn’t take a genius to work out that the whole principal isn’t fair and it doesn’t make for a particularly happy Britain.
We subscribe to a system where we vote for these major parties, loaded with pig-headed politicians, guided by their own mob’s vested interests or inflexible manifestos; fixated with ingrained ideologies and who so often refuse rational input and compromise in order to remain looking like determined ‘leaders’, while perhaps we should expect to look to an eclectic bunch of bright minds, scientists and the technically minded who’d happily admit when they’re wrong and learn from their mistakes. Politics and the political system is looking archaic now. Proper 70s. What’s more, is that governments rotate their team’s people about. Suddenly the bloke in the treasury finds himself in charge of the country’s defences because the PM isn’t best pleased with how one or two of his cabinet are performing elsewhere – and somehow that’s the accepted solution. You wouldn’t have a head mistress who’d never taught before, or had any experience in education, running a school – let alone someone with absolutely no involvement in education – suddenly running the nation’s ENTIRE educational system!
So, how could you fix it?
Ditch the party system. From now on, every five years, individuals who specialise in a field put themselves up for the job of minister within a specific department in government. They are individually elected. As well as an elected PM, we get an elected Foreign Minister, an elected Education Minister and so on.
These heroes in their field perhaps wouldn’t ordinarily dream of joining one of the political parties, but they may well consider a five year stint working solely within their specialism. An elite list of nominees come forward and convince us of what they’d like to achieve, specific to that field – not one man and a team of politicians who’ve little or no experience in any of the services that their departments take care of or a team of individuals we know nothing about individually, and who so often turn out to be schmoozing with lobbying corporations or hide dark secrets from the 80s… When elected, this new workforce move in and get to work. All those who came second in the voting take their seats in the ‘shadow cabinet’, or better still, act as the new ministers’ second in command. You know, working together, as opposed to against each other…
So you’d have a long checklist of MPs to elect at the polling office, but to avoid empty tick boxes and uninformed guesses, everyone would be eligible to pick their choice for PM and three additional MPs only. This way people would prioritise the governmental departments that mattered to them the most. If you’re a taxi driver with kids in school and a very poorly relative in care for example, you might feel passionately enough to put crosses next to your choices for Health Secretary, Transport Secretary and Education Secretary.
In the run-in to an election, as well as the battle for PM, you’d ‘tune in’ to the races for the departments that mattered to you most and that you think you’d pick as your three to put your crosses next to. One televised debate for each department perhaps – you take your pick as to which ones matter to you enough to watch. Imagine the discussions between commuters, at taxi ranks, between lorry drivers, at logistics companies’ head quarters and in train station staff rooms, up and down the country, as the responsibility for electing the Minister for Transport fell reliably upon the shoulders of those who really know the fundamental issues with the system and which candidates are best placed to be installed. And perhaps a fight for a Department for Young People might see some brilliant young candidates coming forward and capturing the imagination of our long lost youth, dragging a couple more million to the polling booths.
The end result would be a hand picked dream team of brilliant individuals being held to account by, and with support from, the second highest vote-getters. Yes, they would all have to work together, just like every other work place in the country – take out the silly, childish team colours and automatic gainsaying that comes with the current political territory, and collaboration looks possible. Normal people, professionals, high profile individuals and existing politicians (yes, the best of them deserve some of these roles!) would all be on a level playing field and the most eligible will rise to the top, never mind their previously defined political leanings.
No more ingrained party-based ideology. Just hard work from people who really know their stuff and how to make the best of their departments, under the watchful eye of the person with the second most votes.
You don’t have to be red or blue any more; you can just be a grown up.