Sunday, November 09, 2008

Elected! Without the Inconvenience of an Election...

A Welsh Assembly Member called Jane Davidson has suggested that 20 of the 60 seats in the Senedd should be reserved for non politicians (celebrities, pop stars, business people) who could serve for a short time and then return to their day jobs. What a great idea. Why not just abolish elections and politicians and have done with it? I've heard some idiotic ideas in my time, but this takes the biscuit. Read the details HERE.

We really need to be more confident about our politics and our political system. You cannot improve it by introducing gimmicks. Democracy will only be strengthened when good people come forward to serve it. And if they aren't willing to give up four years to do so, then they clearly have other priorities. That's not to say such people can't contribute to the process at all - but we cannot simply hand over our legislatures to people who can't be arsed to put themselves forward for election.


Anonymous said...

Even by the Sunday Times' low journalistic standards, the apology buried on their letters page today takes some beating.
Essentially, it's page 3 piece aboutr Shaun Woodward's lavish birthday celebrations in Morroco was total nonsense. (Bit like the paper's splash the week before about having to show a passport to get a mobile phone - the subject of another major correction!)
Essentially, the paper admits Woodward didn't know about the party which had "fewer guests than reported, no nightclub visit or to Le Tobsil restaurant, no lavish picnic and no stay in a sumptuous suite".
Guess ebullient deputy editor Martin Ivens would be putting that one forward for an award?

Wrinkled Weasel said...

You shouldn't mock people who suffer from "inconenience" One day, you will be old and stink of piss.

Paul Pinfield said...


Captcha: spined

Alex said...

Sounds a bit like the House of Lords, or am I missing something?

iain said...

I nominate Gavin Henson and Charlotte Chruch

James D said...

This is typical left-wing nonsense. The Welsh electoral system is arguably the best in Britain, and should be left well alone: any democratic deficit is in communities, primary areas, and at Westminster. Given time, I'd go so far as to expect a higher level of political discourse here in Wales; evidently it's not yet worked through.

strapworld said...


Perhaps this woman despairs with the lack of response from people to get involved in politics.

BUT,In parish/town councils where people do not stand. If there is a vacancy, after that vacancy is announced in the press, and after the due date no person wishes to be considered, the council can nominate someone to be a councillor! so, in a round about way it happens.

We have a democracy these days which is top down. Everything is dominated by central government (EU) getting us prepared for regional control!

Do I see the Conservatives repairing local democracy? NO!

We need American type local democracy where local people elect officials such as Hospital Chairmen and Board, Chief of Police,Mayors directly elected in every town.Local Referendums!

Only then will people become involved in politics

mike clarke said...

"Democracy will only be strengthened when good people come forward to serve it."

But not by professional politicians; for them it is only a job! We need people in politics who serve because they believe it is the right thing to do, not because they will qualify for a gold-plated pension.

Think on.

Robert said...

When all our laws are made in Brussels with no amending by our MP's what is so great about our system that better calibre MP's would improve?

Our democracy is broken because of the EU. The only way to fix it is to get out of the EU then we can start addressing any democratic deficit.

People might consider it worth voting again!

farmer said...

Steady on there Iain.

Remember that all juries are picked randomly and they get to decide on very complex legal issues in cases that end in people in prison and in the past even hanging.

I have always felt that picking the Upper House by random ballot from the population would be a good idea.

So long as good civil servants and lawyers were there to advise on procedure and sit as Speaker/Chair of the debate that would be a good way of the general population keeping an eye on the Lower House between elections. I would certainly do it if picked.

Anonymous said...

Cool, can we ban QANGOs as well? Get the house of Lords in there as well.

I notice the Tory Party are now warning against tax cuts that may be planned by Gordon. Odd world at the moment

norman said...

Not surprising at all, when we have hundreds of quangos whose unelected members approve spending thousands of pounds of tax payers money on all kinds of projects, taking decisions that affect common citizens, school governing boards run by coopted governors and cronies of political parties who often outvote elected parent governors, and lastly unelected Lord Adonis telling elected Mayor Boris,...

Howridiculous said...

Surely, the non-politicians will be too busy making money and maintaining a bottom line to have time to devote to this ridiculous talking-shop.

Anonymous said...

Iain, don't be such a spoilsport !!

I was really looking forward to having Ruth 'Nessa' Jones, Charlotte 'chavin' Church and Katherine 'voice of an angel, but I drifted' Jenkins in the Welsh Assembly..

If nothing else, they would stop the persecution of non-Welsh Welshies, like Max Boyce...

Votedave said...

"I notice the Tory Party are now warning against tax cuts that may be planned by Gordon. Odd world at the moment"

Add the word "unfunded" between "against" and "tax" and it suddenly doesn't seem as odd.

Laurence Boyce said...

I totally agree Iain. So what are Conservative proposals for reform of the House of Lords?

Iain Dale said...

Laurence, Conservative policy is that there should be a predominantly elected chamber, although there is still some debate about whether it should be 80% or 100%. My view is that it should be 100% elected.

Andrew Cooper said...

I completely agree. I hope that young Mr Cameron will abolish the House of Lards when he's in charge and will make the job of political advisor/spin merchant punishable by death. He should also ban Bono, Geldof and thier from the UK.

Talking of lards, his utmost priority must be to ensure that policies are formulated and implemented by elected politicians and that bloggers, celebrity or otherwise, should be kept well clear of Westminster. Afraid I'm with the Chipmunk here: the yaa boo, polarising inanity of many of the posts here are spelling the death of politics. Why on earth should you, Mr Dale, have any influence at at all?

Andrew Cooper said...

'and their like', I meant, obviously.

You have to admit that I have a point, though. Much of the political blogosphere consists of 'I'm right/you're wrong' inanity.

The idea that one political party has a monopoly on good ideas died, for most of us, under Thatcher, Major and Blair. When I say 'most of us' I mean those who think about these things without the political blinkers you're wearing.

Party politics may have had its place in the past, but to my mind it has seriously past its sell-by date.

Your one-sided blog, and the others like it I bother to read, are increasingly irrelevant to the 21st Century.

We need something different if we're going to survive as species on this planet. Sounds a little hyperbolic, I know, but I think I have a point. Faced with enormous problems your ya boo, Mr Dale, is almost brainlessly irrelevant.

Anonymous said...

Mr Cooper - if that is your considered opinion, why do you read it? You have a strong opinion on this blog's content, so clearly you are a regular reader/visitor If you don't like what you read, why bother to come - unless you are some sort of masochist of course..

Mark (not a candidate) said...

The House of Lords should stay 100%unelected. It does a far better job than the Commons at scruitinising legislation and has far better debates. The Commons now provides the democratic (or elected dictatorship) part of the constitution, the House of Lords the intelligent part. And elected representatives to the House of Lords would mean more jobs for the political class whose experience these days is of the narrow world of Westiminster.
Fancy your chances of getting on the Tory list, Ian?

judith said...

Andrew Cooper - think you have spectacularly missed the point of blogging.

Try thinking of it as a written version of a particularly sparkling dinner party conversation.

The host, whose party you have chosen to attend, expresses his opinion on a given subject; his guests comment on his views, make silly jokes, give examples from their own experience and knowledge.

Sometimes the conversation will fall flat on its face, sometimes it will explode into a furious quarrel, and sometimes the guests will say 'I didn't know that before, and it will modify my views now'.

Man in a Shed said...

The one way of doing this, but it'll be controversial, is term limits.

Each British Subject should have a maximum amount of time that they can spend funded by the tax payers in politics. Here's my first stab:

Maximum term 12 years

1) Researcher at 33% MP time
2) spAd at 66% MP time
3) MP at 100%
4) Minister at 125%

There is a problem with the leadership of political parties etc and some changes need to be made - but you get the general idea.

Politicians ( at least those in Westminster ) will hate it.

So it has to be a good idea ;-)

Andrew Cooper said...

@anonymous and Judith - good points. But I still feel that the we're right/your wrong approach to politics has had its day. Surely?

We're faced with massive problems and confrontation isn't going to solve them.

strapworld said...

Quite explosive article by Trevor Kavanagh this morning Iain.

Will Cameron wake up?

Brit in Aussie said...

I've got a better idea, what about an entire chamber full of unelected people and top it all off with an unelected hereditary monarchy.

Now who would vote for that?

Andrew Cooper said...

How about a chamber full of randomly selected members of the public. Like a jury, but more so.

The last people you should put into positions of power are those who ask to be there.

Has to be worth a try. Members would sit for a year, get the full salary/pension/perks package doled out to MPs and would hear the case for and against policies put by people who know what they are talking about.

A new party would be needed, at least temporarily, to introduce this system. Possible slogan: 'It could be you!'.

Has to be an election winner: puts a lot of money in some people's pockets and makes party politics irrelevant at a stroke. Blogs like this would consider the issues objectively and the political parties - along with all their paraphanalia - would wither and die.

I'd vote for it.

Roger Thornhill said...

How about the government does 80% less than it does now, then it hardly matters who is in the HoC. It would also not attract the power hungry.

Whatever, until the Conservatives wake up to the fact that the EU now tells them what to do - Gordon Brown is basically The Town Clerk of Britain - anything they say is getting more and more irrelevant by the day.

Anonymous said...

All Regional Assemblies have 30% unelected stakeholders.
Madness but already happening

Andrew Cooper said...

Come on guys, you have to admit that our increasingly tubby host must be mentally lining himself up, at the very least, as a political adviser to Cameroon and co.

Given that I'm right, on what basis - I ask myself? This blog, occasional appearances on sky news etc., failed attempt to become an MP.

Seems to me that Mr D wants to enter Whitehall's inner circle simply on the basis that he has an opinion. Am I right or will our man, post Cameron victory, by happy to remain part of the commentariat?

Andrew Cooper said...

Two more reasons why we should have ordinary, unelected people in our national assemblies:

Brown and Cameron's gutter level performance in PMQ's today.

This parasitic, freeloading gobshite: