A new Parliament?

A new Parliament?

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There is so much which is wrong with our democratic system it is hard to know where to start.

Scotland has a Parliament whilst Wales has an Assembly with different powers. How is this fair? Northern Ireland has a Parliament but it does not sit. England has nothing. This is wrong. We need four lower houses with a Senate over the top. We also need to build in a system which which will create a single Ireland with Northern Ireland finally becoming a part of Ireland but keeping a special relationship for fifty years with Great Britain. If we do not do something radical which seems unlikely Scotland will become independent within the next decade.

We have far too many MPs. Every time the Boundary Commission meets it meddles with the system rather than recommending outright reform. We should reduce the number by 200.

We have 650 MPs and over 770 Peers their respective chambers cannot seat all its members. We had a chance to have a new Parliament where this could have be fixed but instead MPs voted for a £7bn refit which as we all know will go over budget by £5bn or so. Our voting system known as ‘first past the post’ means your MP can represent you with as little as 35% of the total votes cast. Ultimately this transfers into a government being formed without winning 50% or more of the vote. How is this democratic? Voters should be able to rank their votes 1,2,3 etc such that when 1 falls out that vote is redistributed until a candidate has reached 50%+1. Since MPs will not vote for turkeys it is hard to see any change in the current system.

MPs in safe seats – about – 450 can once elected be returned again and again. The longer they are in Parliament the less they do. MPs should be limited to two consecutive terms (ten years). They would then have to go and find an alternative source of income before they try again to be re-elected, if they so choose.

We have a different system for the EU elections which is equally bonkers. We elect MEPs to represent a region. Instead of going to Strasbourg once a month they should come and give an account to themselves in their own parliaments. But given the current Brexit scenario which has at times felt like a modern day version of a civil war we must wait and see whether there is a second referendum or a general election; neither seem likely.

None of these changes will happen in my life-time. Democratic change in Parliament has been slight since the end of WW2. Calls for a Royal Commission always fall on deaf ears and any suggestions to change how MPs are selected have been neatly filed in the waste paper basket. This is simply not good enough.

It shows us as inward looking, lacking vision and only interested in feathering our own nests.

Photograph ©Allford Hall Monaghan Morris

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