Parliament Square: We are coming to the end of 20th Century Politics

Parliament Square: We are coming to the end of 20th Century Politics

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Consider. In America  you have to raise from wealthy supporters at least $1billion to fight the Presidential election. If you win, they are richly rewarded. Trump unlike any other president before him foreclosed on all Obama’s appointments on the actual day of his coronation. Not the end of the week or the end of the month – to give him time to consider who he should appoint – but on the day. He cleansed the stable.

Very rich men, largely men, are now winging their way across the world to become Ambassadors in US Embassies with no experience in foreign affairs. This is how it works in America. Is there no opposition in the land of the eagle to the way in which power is dished out like a deck of cards? Apparently not.

In America, the President can be elected by just on 23% of its population eligible to vote. In the land of the internet this is simply undemocratic. America has lost the right to lecture the world on the subject until it reforms its constitution. Hillary Clinton won the popular vote (48% to 45.9%) but not the presidency. This looks odd this side of the pond.

There are already two elected houses in Congress; the Senate (2 per state irrespective of the size of the population) and the House of Representatives (members are elected to districts like our constituencies). So why is the President elected by a college system where the vote is weighted according to a state’s population? What about a third way – the most votes?

The UK is no better. The Conservative Government elected in 2015 won 36.9% of the popular vote whilst Labour won 30.4% but the seat allocation was 331 to 232. In fact most of our governments have never won 50%+1 of the vote. This is simply unfair.

If we are to modernise the state we need to start with its election system. I retained my seat in Parliament in 2005 by 79 votes after three recounts. How could I legitimately claim to represent the whole constituency if I did not command 50%+1 of the overall vote? It unfair. It is time we moved to a better system.

A Martian looking down on the UK today would wonder how on earth one part of the two houses which pass Acts of Parliament is unelected. This brings a huge shame on us. Efforts to properly modernise the House of Lords have failed stretching way back to 1906. Now, we also have elected mayors bulldozing their way into our unwritten constitution.

We do not need a parish council, a borough council, a county council or a unitary authority. In this age of always on communication we need to bring an end to county councils and borough councils and just have unitary authorities and upgraded parish or village councils.

I live in Pimlico and have lived in Dalston and Crouch End. These villages have no say over anything. Power belongs to the boroughs. In Westminster this has resulted its uglification beginning with a monstrosity called Millbank Towers and ending with whatever the Candy Brothers are being allowed to put on the old Chelsea Hospital site.

The Internet of Things would allow every householder registered to vote every week or every month on local matters. Referenda would become more commonplace. Petitions would become part of the democratic fabric.  

As it stands, it feels to me, as if both the United States of America and the UK are facing inwards to the past.

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