Friday, July 17, 2009

Optimum opinions...

Interesting stuff from the Spectator (as usual) and suggestions to the next Tory government [sic] if it "is serious about breaking this wretched stalemate, it need look no further." Political reform mustn’t be left to politicians: [The Spectator, print page version for single-page ease of reading] They have published the results of a canvassing of its readers whose recommendations were then put to an opinion poll. Out of hundreds of proposals the 30 most popular themes were selected and put them to a smaller group (430 readers) for their opinions reducing the proposals to a final top ten which were then put to an opinion poll (1,110 members of the public).

Proposals for reform ranked in order of preference (The first number in brackets is the order of preference given by the readers and the second number is that of the general public):
  • Introduction of more powerful parliamentary oversight committees, properly financed to allow expert analysis of government policy with power to compel the Executive to attend hearings and give evidence under oath. (1st, 3rd)
  • One reform to bolster the effectiveness of the House of Commons would be secret ballots to elect members and chairmen of select committees. (2nd, 9th)
  • I live in a ‘safe seat’ constituency. I would like the opportunity to have a say on the candidate for elections, and not have a candidate foisted upon me by the party elite. Bring on open primaries. (3rd, 5th)
  • Ability to remove immediately MPs found guilty of a misdemeanour. (4th, 1st)
  • Whips able to force MPs to vote only on manifesto issues, otherwise free votes. (5th, 4th)
  • Action taken to correct the democratic imbalance created at the time of devolution which disadvantages the English by comparison with the Celtic nations. I’m not opposed to either the Scottish Parliament or the Welsh Assembly or Stormont. (6th, 7th)
  • Fixed term parliaments so that the government cannot gain an advantage by timing the election to suit it. (7th, 2nd)
  • Bill of Rights enshrining the rights of the individual and the powers of parliament. (8th, 8th)
  • Remove powers of the royal prerogative from prime minister and subject them to parliamentary control. (9th, 10th)
  • There should be referenda more often on subjects that matter to the whole population. (10th, 6th)
Anything major that you think seems to have been missed?

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