Monday, March 20, 2006

What Really Needs Cutting?

David Cameron is saying that cutting the number of MPs is the salvation of the secret loans and patronage for donations we currently face. This from a party that spent loads of money senting CD Roms to every household in some constituencies that realisitically they never had any chance of winning in May 2005, and in some of these direct mailing almost every conrrespondence they made as they did not have people on the ground.

I don't think he has looked at all the alternatives.

Firstly the problem is that these donations and loans have been made to his and the Labour in the expectation for a seat on the red leather benches of the House of Lords. So maybe we should lift the temptation from the people with the money. We should elect the Lords. That way there would be less incentive for people to give money to a party apart from the fact that it is for the good of the country rather for their own climb up hte social ladder.

If Mr Cameron is really concerned about the cost of electioneering maybe he should consider a proportional representation system. Still keeping the average constituents per MP the same but electing them in Multimember Constituinecies via proportional representation. Parties would not need to put up the same number of candidates in the same area, candidates could share literature costs when more than one from the same party is seeking election therefore reducing costs by ordering larger print runs. It might also allow the Conservatives to cut down on their direct mailing costs as they may actually have some party members in some of the seats they target who might actually be able to go out and deliver some leaflets personally.

However, I do think introdusing a reasonable the threashold on donations, and that includes loans, is a sensible suggestion from the Tories.

So therefore we need reform. Firstly get away from the age old problem of the Lords positions being granted by patronage. Elect them for set terms. Reform the commons electoral system in one fell swoop making it fairer and more economical. Finally introduce a limit on what can be given by indivuals, companies or organisations.

2 comments:

Joe Otten said...

Stephen, I'm sure you're right that Cameron hasn't looked at the alternatives - or rather that he has rejected them out of hand because he is a conservative and not a liberal.

But, do you have an argument against reducing the number of MPs? Particularly if power should be spread to other institutions - an elected Lords, regional assemblies, etc, it would seem that a smaller commons would be appropriate.

Will said...

I agree with Joe. As new institutions like the Welsh Assembly and the Scottish Parliament grow, there is scope to reduce the size of the House of Commons. But first we need more devolution - and for constituents to recognise the different tiers of government and not me tempted to run to their MPs by default if their rubbish isn't collected...

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