Friday, 12 January 2018

Peering Into The Future

From Spiked, with its Murdoch and its Telegraph Group connections, to the Daily Mail, they all now want to abolish the House of Lords. A pity, because I have always quite fancied it, and George Galloway once said live on air that he would take a seat in it if I did. But before or after the Blair reforms, as Tony Benn understood, you could always have had either the House of Lords or Brexit, but not both. So here we are.

The 99 lieutenancy areas ought to be the basis of a new second chamber, to which the powers of the House of Lords would be transferred, with remuneration fixed at that of the Commons. In each of the areas, each of us would vote for one candidate, and the top six would be elected, giving 594 Senators in all. 

Meanwhile, if this reduction in the number of Commons constituencies to 600 were indeed to occur, then the number of MPs might nevertheless remain the same. The whole country could elect 50 MPs, with each of us voting for one candidate, and with the top 50 elected at the end. Candidates would not be nominees of political parties, but any party of which a candidate happened to be a member would be listed next to his or her name on the ballot paper, for the information of the voters.

What would be the deposit to become such a candidate? There would not be one, as there ought not to be in general. Instead, the requirement to be a constituency candidate might be nomination by at least five per cent of the voters, while that to be a national candidate might be nomination by at least 2000 registered parliamentary electors, including at least 10 in each of the lieutenancy areas. In this day and age, obtaining that would cost little or nothing.

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