Fixed Term Parliaments aren’t enough

! This post hasn't been updated in over a year. A lot can change in a year including my opinion and the amount of naughty words I use. There's a good chance that there's something in what's written below that someone will find objectionable. That's fine, if I tried to please everybody all of the time then I'd be a Lib Dem (remember them?) and I'm certainly not one of those. The point is, I'm not the kind of person to try and alter history in case I said something in the past that someone can use against me in the future but just remember that the person I was then isn't the person I am now nor the person I'll be in a year's time.

David Camoron is making some vague noises about constitutional reform (that us proles aren’t allowed to express an opinion on of course) with a suggestion that he might look at fixed term parliaments.

Whoop-de-fucking-do.  Fixed term parliaments are generally a good idea but is it enough to re-engage a disaffected electorate and restore trust in thieving bastard politicians?  No.

So how about this for a suggestion: directly elected Prime Ministers.

Instead of voting for a candidate and then the leader of the party that had most candidates elected being made Prime Minister and forming a government, why not hold elections for the post of Prime Minister?  It also neatly deals with the problem of a party changing its leader and some other lame duck MP taking over as Prime Minister without a mandate mid-term.

The problem with the electoral system we have in the UK is that the top job in government is reserved for one of only a handful of people.  Republicans complain that a pleb like you and I can never become the most important person in the country but they’re missing the biggest injustice in the power game – the fact that your average voter can never aspire to hold the top job in government because you have to be the leader of the political party with most MPs to get it.

Ideally, the Prime Minister would be an almost presidential figure – leader of the country, not the party – but without the executive powers.  The Queen should, of course, remain as head of state and bills should continue to require royal assent.  The Prime Minister, once elected, should appoint a cabinet based on a system of proportional representation with a minimum number of independent MPs (and by independent I mean not a member of a political party, not just an MP who’s resigned the whip or had the whip taken off them).

What reasonable excuse is there for effectively banning independents or supporters of any of the smaller parties from heading up a government?

And while I’m on my soap box, there should be a basic requirement that a cabinet minister is qualified or at least experienced in the area their ministry covers.  We could then avoid the situation where, for example, we find ourselves in the depths of recession with a marxist lawyer as Chancellor of the Exchequer rather than someone with a qualification in macroeconomics.

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  1. Charlie Marks (365 comments) says:

    A directly elected prime minister sounds a bit like a president…

    What I dislike about the monarchy is that it’s opposed to popular sovereignty – so we have “her majesty’s govt” etc, rather than one which swears allegiance to citizens.

    Proportional representation would be nice – UKIP would be better able to put the case for EU withdrawal, for one. But I’d like to see more referenda – starting with a vote on Lisbon treaty, then on electoral reform

    And as for the Chancellor – come on, he’s not really the Chancellor, he’s Brown’s puppet!

  2. axel (1214 comments) says:

    i think……

    one small house to decide national things like defence and wars and cool stuff, so 52 english guys, 6 Jocks, 1 taff & 1 paddy (1 million votes for each)

    england to get the eqivalent of holyrood, with its own particular choice of electoral methods

    tax raising powers for each parliment but each parliment will need to give some to the centre to redistribute to the poorer bits and the army

    what are your thoughts?

  3. axel (1214 comments) says:

    (and by independent I mean not a member of a political party, not just an MP who’s resigned the whip or had the whip taken off them)

    like some kind of expert or tame professional?

  4. axel (1214 comments) says:

    What reasonable excuse is there for effectively banning independents or supporters of any of the smaller parties from heading up a government?

    money, how else would the policies be broadcast, unless they buy tv time, newspaper column inches and important people to say ‘phwooooooaaar, cameron rocks’

    say you ran for prez, what are your policies? Something about Wiltshire bacon, something about english flags, something about sending all the welsh home and something about hating the tennis guy!

  5. wonkotsane (1133 comments) says:

    Axel, I agree wholeheartedly with what you say in #2.

    On the independents, there is a tendency for MPs to resign the whip in protest at some policy or other or to have it taken off them for being disloyal. They are still in their party without the whip and very partisan. I wouldn’t want to see an independents quota cheated by appointing party members who happen to be de-whipped.

  6. axel (1214 comments) says:

    say you did stand, what would your policies be on Fox Hunting, Nuclear weapons and illegal immigrants?

    3 bizarre topics, that you would probably never think about yourself but are part of Party policy, so you dont have to worry about them because when they appear, you can fall back to the party line, if you disagree with the party line, you can abstain

    but, because you are an independent, you cant abstain and that will be a problem

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