Monday, 7 December 2009

The "None of the Above Candidate" and Lords Reform.

The handful of regular readers of this blog may remember me writing a blog extolling the virtues of voting for independant candidates at the next election as a "None of the above" option for those disinclined to vote in the first place.

Old Holborn also blogged something similar today. He wants people to vote for candidates that have never been an MP before.

I'd agree with that. We need a more varied mix of independant thinkers in Parliament. The Conservatives with their open primaries have taken a step towards this, but its resulted in pretty predictable results, so far a couple of doctors and a TV personality's daughter have been selected as candidates. But where are the "ordinary" people? We need ordinary, trustworthy people in Parliament.

I suppose the answer lies these days in the lack of community: there are no people that have large enough blocks of friends to put them forward and vote for them in numbers enough to get them selected. Which is a shame, as it makes the House of Commons a mixture of people unrepresentative of the wider population.

This is why one of my other ideas is to have a completely randomly selected upper house to replace the house of Lords. No patronage required, no dodgy deals or donations necessary.

In my system representatives for the upper house would be selected like jurors: entirely at random from the public. The randomness will ensure an upper house than would be representative of the nation at large.

The details would need to be thrashed out as to whether its a temporary position; say for a year, so that one group of "Peers" are able to pass a whole years worth of legislature and then return to life. How one would go about compensating them and their employers for a year of absence is another matter.
It may be a possibility that they become "Life Peers" and are selected entirely at random and serve for life, being replaced by other random selections upon death or their voluntary retirement.

Certainly the worst option for the upper house is that proposed by the main Parties: elected or selected candidates. Either way, we would just be reinforcing the party political system, which mustn't happen. The upper house must be entirely neutral and representative in order to provide the checks and balances necessary to rein in the legislative excesses of a majority government in the lower house, whatever their political leanings.

I'm sure there are some that would say without a voting system, this system would be undemocratic. But whats democratic in a system governed by patronage, or influenced by who has the biggest election fund? What indeed is democratic in the party whipping system?

My fervent wish is that we remove party politics from Parliament altogether, because what is clear is that after decades of it, concensus politics no longer exists. The direction of legislation, its content and its application are commenced and directed by a handful of people at the top, with a party apparatus on hand to blindly rubber stamp those decisions. Thats not democratic nor representative and we need to move away from it as it has corrupted and ruined what should be our Parliament.


  1. Great idea Del. Post this link on ConservativeHome.

  2. I'm not sure they'd appreciate my anti-party-politics message.

  3. Actually, thinking about it, I might as well. How do you post links on ConservativeHome?


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