Game Design, Programming and running a one-man games business…

Fixing UK politics (in a non-partisan way)

As designer of Democracy 4, I’m obviously a full-on political geek. I have my own views on policy, but I also have views on a non-party basis about all the stuff thats wrong about our system. Heres a brief rundown of some of the easy-win stuff that we should have collectively decided to do decades ago, but our politicians are so useless we don’t…

Drug-test Politicians

You can now detect cocaine use from a fingerprint (new-scientist this week!), so why the hell do we not drug test ll our MPs when they cast a vote? You cannot fly an airplane when drunk, or operate on a patient when on cocaine, why do we not hold the people who MAKE our drug laws to the same standards? these people make life changing decisions. We need to know they are sober, and of sound mind. I’d even be happy with mere weekly checks.

Pay Politicians More

The average UK MP earns £76,011. That sounds a lot, but its pathetically low given the responsibility, and the pay offered to senior managers in the private sector. Its not much more than a ‘category manager’ at a john lewis store. I suspect category managers never vote on going to war, or changing hospital budgets, or giving the OK to arms deals. There is an argument that paying them more makes them ‘out of touch’ but MPs meet a lot of people through their work, and are likely more ‘in-touch’ than we think. Plus, if you want to attract talented people with great management experience and prevent them from trying to exploit their political connections to leverage future income…we need to pay them the appropriate amount.

Proportional Representation

There are many options, but frankly any system where the party that gets the most votes does not get the most MPs is not democracy. The results of the last election make it clear that the current system is a farce. Example:

Libdems needed 336,000 votes per seat won, Conservatives needed 38,000, Greens need 886,000 votes. This is not a democracy

House of Lords reform

Bishops sit in the house of lords (the UK’s second chamber) because… reasons. A huge number of members of the house of lords never show up at all, treating it just as a cool thing to stick on their headed notepaper. Their average age is 70 (how very representative…). 92 of the peers are hereditary, most of which can only be inherited by men. This is a ridiculous, embarrassing feudal relic. There are 782 members of the lords. They include convicted criminals like ‘Lord’ Archer.

Image result for queens speech

Electronic voting

UK politicians vote by going out of the room they debate in, then walking back in through one of two doors while someone counts them. This is the year 2020. For fucks sake. There is NO reason for this other than ‘tradition’. Our democracy is not a museum.

Speakers Constituency

One of our MPs is declared ‘the speaker’. they chair the debates. They are an MP, but nobody ever challenges them (normally) in elections. This ‘tradition’, means that everybody in the speakers constituency no longer lives in a democracy. Again, a complete farce. Simply appoint an outside expert as speaker, there is NO reason they should be an MP.

Modernize the system, away from the palace of Westminster.

The building needs fixing anyway, and besides that it is too small. Turn it into the museum it should have been for the last 100 years at least. While we do that, lets scrap a lot of the historical crap that makes our system of government feel like an old-boys club merged with a posh public-school debating society. People should be able to:

  • Call each other by name, without this stupid ‘the right honorable member…’
  • Ask the PM questions directly, without this ‘in addition to my duties in this house’ bullshit.
  • Say the words ‘the house of lords’ when in the commons and vice versa, none of this stupid ‘the other place’ crap.
  • Be ejected from the house if they jeer or shout. its not a rugby club, its a serious place where laws are made and policy challenged. it sounds like a group of childish little boys jeering.
  • Do away with ‘black-rod’, the ‘men-in-tights’, the mace, and the other stupid civil-war re-enactment bullshit that litters our parliamentary chamber.
  • The ‘queens speech’ is written by the prime minister and should be read by them. Its a stupid bit of diversion to try and imply she agrees with whats being said.
Image result for house of lords

Hold political broadcasts to advertising standards

They are exempt. WTF? This is a license to lie.

Prevent the sale of alcohol in parliament.

Not only is there a BAR in the place, it is dramatically subsidized, so we can ensure that our politicians are often drunk, at our expense, with no idea of the price the rest of us pay. Genius.

Publish tax returns for all members of parliament, as long as they serve + 5 years afterwards.

Pretty obvious measure needed to avoid corruption. There is no argument I can see against this. I’d be very happy to publish mine if I was an MP. There is so much history of corruption in politics that this should be a minimum requirement.

Term-limits for MPs.

My current MP has been the local MP for as long as anybody can remember. It has been a safe Tory seat since 1923. My current MP is likely to die in his post, unchanged and not seriously challenged. This is a recipe for corruption, and stagnation. MPs should serve 4 terms maximum.

What have I missed? :D

5 thoughts on Fixing UK politics (in a non-partisan way)

  1. If I could, I’d get rid of them all. That means no politicians and no political parties. Replace them with voluntary electronic voting. I’d also like to see sunset clases for old laws. If they are more than 20-50 years old they are automatically retired and have to go through the voting process again. The only problem is direct democracy would never be allowed.

  2. There are a lot of interesting ideas in “Why We Get the Wrong Politicians”, by Isabel Hardman. Strongly recommended to anyone who likes this article (or wrote it)

  3. Term limits for MPs would be questionable. If an MP has to leave before they accrue significant experience, they are left dependent on others for expertise in managing the system. Lobbyists are quite happy to fill that role – they already do – but the results of that are not in the public interest.

    A better route for avoiding stagnation would involve electoral maps that reduce the number of “safe” seats, keeping pressure on MPs to succeed.

  4. Replace the lords with a random selection of citizens, selected on a similar system to jury-service.
    Also, pay them.
    If MPs are underpaid, at least they are paid. The lords aren’t.

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