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Monday, March 01, 2010

Salami-slicing the franchise

One of David Cameron's ideas is to reduce the number of our representatives in Parliament. I don't want fewer MPs, just better - ones who understand their role. In 26 years of living at the same address, I've never been approached in person by my present MP or his constituency workers to ask for my vote, let alone my opinion on anything.
If anything, I'd like more MPs - look at the ratio of MPs to qualified electors in the nineteenth century. I'm not proposing to go back to the 1831 ratio, but we have drifted from having 1 vote in 858 to 1 in 74,000 - our voices are very small indeed, now.
A brief discussion from the blog of Chris Whiteside, Conservative Parliamentary candidate for Whiteside, Cumbria:

At today's Conservative conference David Cameron promised real action in six key areas to help get Britain back on its feet


6: Change politics
Reduce the number of MPs, cut Whitehall and quangos by a third, and let taxpayers see where their money is being spent.
Comments to the above:

At 8:32 AM, Sackerson said...
6. Isn't reducing the number of MPs another step in the de-democritization of the UK?

At 1:53 AM, Chris Whiteside said...
Sackerson: a 10% reduction in the number of MPs won't have that effect, no.

At 8:38 AM, Rolf said...
Chris: thanks for your courtesy in responding. I have to disagree: a 10% reduction in MPs is an 11% increase in constituency voter numbers and so a corresponding decrease in the value of my individual vote. And where will it end?

Ourself, by monthly course,
With reservation of an hundred knights, by you to be sustain'd,
Shall our abode make with you by due turns.

GONERIL (Murmurs to Regan) He may enguard his dotage with their powers,
And hold our lives in mercy.
(To King Lear) It is not well! Dismissing half your train, come then to me.

KING LEAR (To Goneril) What, fifty of my followers at a clap!

REGAN I entreat you to bring but five and twenty:
To no more will I give place or notice.

KING LEAR What, must I come to you with five and twenty, Regan? Said you so?

REGAN Speak't again, my lord; no more with me.

KING LEAR (To Goneril) I'll go with thee:
Thy fifty yet doth double five and twenty, and thou art twice her love.

GONERIL What need you five and twenty

REGAN or ten!

GONERIL or five!

REGAN What need one?

(For those who attended school after the educational reforms of the 1980s, Shakespeare was an English writer and used to be regarded as an essential element of our cultural heritage. Yes, a bit like Carol Ann Duffy, as you say, Blenkinsop Minor; but only a bit.)

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