Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Voting reform and campaign contributions: a modest proposal

In the UK, political parties are discussing restrictions on campaign contributions. There is also concern at the declining numbers of people bothering to vote at all - a trend particularly noticeable among those aged under 40.

I suggest we:

(a) ban all financial contributions to political parties
(b) do not fund the parties from public monies
(c) remove the Inheritance Tax exemption for legacies to parties
(d) impose a duty on all mainstream media - including newspapers and political journals - to report without bias on all political matters - and make it work better than the BBC does
(e) change the pattern of General Elections - instead of a big hoo-ha once every five years, often influenced unduly by events shortly prior to Polling Day, let us have every year a ballot in one-fifth of all constituencies
(f) ban all political advertising - let each party and each prospective MP give a clear explanation of their plans and promises, on one common website. The entries should remain up for inspection for at least 5 years, so that voters can check the record before voting again
(g) institute a system of Swiss-style policy referenda, whereby if enough people sign the petition, the proposal must be put to people's vote. In Switzerland the minimum is 100,000 requests, proportionately in the UK it would be around 800,000
(h) recognise the present franchise is failing, but rather than coerce or bull***t the young into voting, embrace the reality and switch from one-person-one-vote to one-pound-one-vote. Each elector gets to vote only in the constituency where they live, but can buy as many votes as they wish - credit or debit card machines could easily be installed in voting booths. Let it be a tax on political enthusiasm - all proceeds to HMG

Any more ideas for plain-packaging the political system?

No comments: