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    It seems to me that your post is missing the most important bit, OP: the why.

    I can understand if you think the political process here is embarrassingly flawed (in fact, I'd do more than understand - I'd wholeheartedly agree!), but these suggestions seem less like solutions to specific problems and more like arbitrary punts at posting something which sounds like a good idea, because your post doesn't mention why these things may be beneficial.

    Some thoughts on your specific suggestions:

    (Original post by Upper Echelons)
    - Remove ranks within the political system, including the Prime Minister, Cabinet etc. resulting in MPs enjoying equal power.
    I don't see how anything would get done in this situation. If every MP is to have equal power, does that mean every MP is to partake in government? Socialists, nationalists, thatcherites, all at once? It would be a war of paper and proclamations between government departments; such an arrangement would be impossible even today, when the difference between the mainstream political parties is relatively minor. Introduce anonymity to politics (which seems unworkable in itself) and you will discover very quickly how diverse political opinion really is within this country.

    - Have the number of MPs elected by a particular region determined solely by the population size of that constituency.
    Population should probably be the main determinant of constituency boundaries, but I don't agree that it should be the only one. Community ties, infrastructure and geography are important too. If the last round of boundary changes had gone through, my new constituency would have been bisected by a mountain range, with nothing but a couple of mountain roads to connect the two halves.

    - Make it such that everything said within the walls of Parliament is said in anonymity. The words of an MP would simply be recorded as being said by an anonymous member (e.g. "Member 47"), which would rotate daily (Member 47 could be Member 78 the next day, for example).

    - The list of current Members of Parliament would also ideally be kept secret (despite being voted in), with MPs contributing from their own home via a secure network, however this is open for discussion as the public would want to ensure the integrity of the voting system.
    Eyebrow hit the roof at this point. Anonymity would destroy political parties at a stroke - probably a good thing. Trouble is, it would also destroy democracy.

    Candidate A says he's a centrist who'd do all he could to promote local businesses. However, candidate A could simply know his seat, and have pitched his pledges to win. How do you know that he's telling the truth? You don't. He's a letter. You cannot research him. You do not know where he's from. What his upbringing was like. What shaped his beliefs. Worse, the media can't investigate either. Protected behind a veil of anonymity, the prospective MP can say what he likes, within reason, and not fear of being accounted for it later. At least today we know who is lying to us.

    Anonymity would remove the very point of voting.

    - Remove the House of Lords.
    I would prefer reform. Democratisation with the retention of a proportion of appointed members would be my avenue of choice. The appointed "lords" could be specialists in areas of expertise - engineers, scientists, businesspeople, bankers (well, maybe not bankers), health professionals, teachers, civil servants - to allow for a true breadth of opinion and background within the legislature which is absent today.

    I have experience of living with a unicameral legislature. It's not something I'd really recommend, especially if you propose reducing the number of MPs. The trouble with unicameral legislatures is that the one chamber you have has to end up scrutinising itself in an endless series of committees, so that far more time is spent scrutinising than is spent actually legislating and debating. It can also lead to the overworking of the members of your giant committee, if there aren't enough of them to do the job.

    I think the upper house plays a very valuable role in a democratic system, though as you're living in America, I absolutely understand why you'd want to cut two useless houses to one.

    - Make it such that a single person may only be in office once, and for a maximum period of twelve months.
    So that everyone is perpetually new to the job? I don't like that idea. Experience is valuable to have around.
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    (Original post by Kaiser MacCleg)
    Eyebrow hit the roof at this point. Anonymity would destroy political parties at a stroke - probably a good thing. Trouble is, it would also destroy democracy.

    Candidate A says he's a centrist who'd do all he could to promote local businesses. However, candidate A could simply know his seat, and have pitched his pledges to win. How do you know that he's telling the truth? You don't. He's a letter. You cannot research him. You do not know where he's from. What his upbringing was like. What shaped his beliefs. Worse, the media can't investigate either. Protected behind a veil of anonymity, the prospective MP can say what he likes, within reason, and not fear of being accounted for it later. At least today we know who is lying to us.

    Anonymity would remove the very point of voting.

    I would prefer reform. Democratisation with the retention of a proportion of appointed members would be my avenue of choice. The appointed "lords" could be specialists in areas of expertise - engineers, scientists, businesspeople, bankers (well, maybe not bankers), health professionals, teachers, civil servants - to allow for a true breadth of opinion and background within the legislature which is absent today.

    I have experience of living with a unicameral legislature. It's not something I'd really recommend, especially if you propose reducing the number of MPs. The trouble with unicameral legislatures is that the one chamber you have has to end up scrutinising itself in an endless series of committees, so that far more time is spent scrutinising than is spent actually legislating and debating. It can also lead to the overworking of the members of your giant committee, if there aren't enough of them to do the job.

    I think the upper house plays a very valuable role in a democratic system, though as you're living in America, I absolutely understand why you'd want to cut two useless houses to one.

    So that everyone is perpetually new to the job? I don't like that idea. Experience is valuable to have around.
    Perhaps I should make it clear: those running for MP would not be anonymous. A prospective MP would be able to be researched just as they would be now, you'd know their name, background etc. and can interrogate them all you like.

    As for knowing whether they stick to their promise in Parliament, I honestly think that it is largely irrelevant.

    If an MP went rogue, what could the constituency do? They'd have to wait until the end of office and then not vote for them again.

    This way, the MP simply leaves anyway.

    I altered the term of office to 4 years, by the way, simply as I took on board some of the points made about 12 months being too short. However, I'm still fairly convinced that:
    1) This would encourage people to vote only for those who have direct experience, who have the knowledge etc. (if they were only in power for 12 months, you wouldn't vote for a Maths student with no experience in Politics or Economics).
    2) Now, given that the candidates are all suitably qualified, becoming used to a decision making environment is not going to take long.

    I am wondering though, whether perhaps a Cabinet ought to be separately elected :beard: They could then have specific expertise, be voted in nationally, and could lead the debates in the current way.
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    (Original post by thunder_chunky)
    I don't understand why you want there to be so much secrecy in parliament and why MP's should be allowed to speak anonymously. I think it's good and important that MP's not only voice their opinions but that the public knows what they say and what they believe. It's important for the country and it's important for the constituents of said MP.

    1. You can't remove ranks like Prime Minister.
    2. 12 months is too short a tenure for someone in office. One could argue they need longer to have maximum impact and make progress.
    3. Why should the list of MP's be a secret? What could that possibly gain? why is that necessary?
    4. Televising Parliament is good not only for news coverage but for those that either study politics or take a rather amateur or spectator view of it. So I don't agree with that either.

    So basically I agree with almost everything you or rather your friend suggested.
    1. Why not? Theoretically or logistically? Theoretically I don't see an issue with it, and logistically, if the majority of the general public agreed that there was need for radical reform, they could overthrow any current political system anyway.
    2. Agreed now, I've extended it to four years.
    4. Arbitrary really, they could read the transcript or perhaps we could televise it like we do with anonymous sources, where people are blurred out with muffled voices or something, that way people could still see the system in progress.

    3. Will be answered in another post.

    (Original post by tory88)
    I agree with your secret meeting analogy, but then surely you would pick someone you trusted completely, which isn't possible when thousands of constituents are factored in. What if I told you you could only pick from a list of five people who you'd met a few times a couple of years ago at dinner parties and such? Then I feel this would be less satisfactory.

    But it is an interesting question: what does accountability matter when someone cannot be re-elected anyway? I guess the best answer I can give for that is that people can learn from their mistakes. If they know which elected officials have gone against what they've done or been bribed then they can try to avoid those traits in future candidates. And for the candidates themselves I still feel there is a certain amount of extra responsibility in knowing that you're being monitored. Because, of course, reprisals aren't necessarily restricted to the ballot box.
    (Original post by Three Mile Sprint)
    It would provide them with to much power, it would remove them from being answerable to there consituancy, parliament should be public and transparent.

    Removal of the office of Prime-Minister would be disastrous in times of national crisis when executive decisions require speed and decisiveness.
    Why would they be answerable anyway? If an MP says something which isn't representative of their constituency, what happens other than they don't get voted in again (which wouldn't happen in this case anyway).

    As for the national crisis, it's a good point. Perhaps it would be a solution (as suggested above) to retain the Cabinet (but have it directly voted in) including a Crisis Executive who could be granted power in times of emergency?
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    (Original post by thunder_chunky)
    I don't understand why you want there to be so much secrecy in parliament and why MP's should be allowed to speak anonymously.
    (Original post by rmhumphries)
    The accountability is currently in force so that they get re-elected (or their party does when they stand for a party). You are right - if they can never get voted in more than once, they can do whatever they like - so what is the point in voting at all?

    What if they told the university instead that you wanted to stay for an extra year? You might leave the university, but you could still owe the fees for the time you should have stayed, and for the extra year, as they didn't know you were leaving. This is why you need to know the university was told - so you are released from your commitment. If you don't need to be released, why tell them at all?

    Why have them voted in at all in that case? Why not have ~300 people randomly selected, such as jury service is?
    That's poor logic - just because someone can only be voted in once, that doesn't mean that we should pick any old mug off the street.. With my university example, as I said, I couldn't speak to the university myself anyway, so his word would be final in that case. I would tell them 'at all' to maximise the chance of me being released from my commitment.

    And that's just it - your candidate has one term of office, so maximise the chance of them doing good stuff in it. Are you seriously saying you wouldn't mind whether it was a hardened criminal or a recent graduate?

    (Original post by Eloquai)
    Giving members anonymity would completely remove accountability and give them unprecedented power to pursue whatever interests they personally deem important.
    An MP is currently in power, and they'd been asked to vote on something.
    Factors influencing their decision:
    What the public will think of them personally.
    What the public will think of them politically (whether they'd vote for them again).
    What the MP themselves thinks is right, or wants.

    What the anonymity offers is the freedom to make decisions without being influenced by how the public will see them.

    On deep economic matters, for example, politicians are be forced to be very careful about what they say, to dumb it down and to go with policies which would please the public, just so that they can stay in office and implement other ideas in the future.

    Currently, I could run for MP, pretend to be all nice, get into power, have an objective of only staying in for one term, and then do whatever I wanted. So there's no change in terms of 'evil people' potentially corrupting the system, as they can do that already.
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    (Original post by Upper Echelons)
    An MP is currently in power, and they'd been asked to vote on something.
    Factors influencing their decision:
    What the public will think of them personally.
    What the public will think of them politically (whether they'd vote for them again).
    What the MP themselves thinks is right, or wants.

    What the anonymity offers is the freedom to make decisions without being influenced by how the public will see them.
    But why should an MP have absolute power to vote solely on their beliefs simply because they are an MP? If you take that link of democratic scrutiny away, then your MP can literally vote for anything simply based on how they feel over breakfast that morning.

    When we select an MP, we're not just selecting a representative with a Hail-Mary pass but a delegate of the constituency to Parliament. Maybe this is something that your friend (assuming he's American) may not understand about British politics, but we are deeply proud of the 'constituency link' that local residents have with their MPs. Even with small local issues, you can get in touch pretty easily with your MP and ensure that their votes correlate with the interests of the area and the political wishes of the electorate.

    With an anonymous system, you'd also have no way of knowing whether your local MP is even bothering to turn up at all in debates and divisions.

    (Original post by Upper Echelons)
    On deep economic matters, for example, politicians are be forced to be very careful about what they say, to dumb it down and to go with policies which would please the public, just so that they can stay in office and implement other ideas in the future.
    That's true to a point, but if you watch debate in Parliament and the reports that the Government produces, there certainly isn't much dumbing down going on in economic debates. With the proposed system though, how would you even know whether your representatives have the economic experience to successfully run a world-leading economy? Could you hold them to account if they made a complete mess or guarantee that a true range of economic options are being considered?

    (Original post by Upper Echelons)
    Currently, I could run for MP, pretend to be all nice, get into power, have an objective of only staying in for one term, and then do whatever I wanted. So there's no change in terms of 'evil people' potentially corrupting the system, as they can do that already.
    And you'd be vilified by your electorate and your parliamentary colleagues (rightly so), but under the proposed system you'd get a free pass and a pension no questions asked.

    The reason this scenario happens so rarely is because MPs are keep honest by public scrutiny and accountability, but under the proposed system they wouldn't even have to try and justify their actions and their votes - they could even make up their whole election manifesto and never be held responsible for breaking their promises. Even if they can get away with it during their time in Parliament now, they'll have a very difficult time after leaving the chamber in their future career.
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    (Original post by Upper Echelons)
    Why would they be answerable anyway? If an MP says something which isn't representative of their constituency, what happens other than they don't get voted in again (which wouldn't happen in this case anyway).
    Because if they are not named, the public don't know they have misrepresented them...and don't have the option not to vote them back.
    Also it means they can't be sued by the public because they are anonymous.
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    (Original post by Eloquai)
    But why should an MP have absolute power to vote solely on their beliefs simply because they are an MP? If you take that link of democratic scrutiny away, then your MP can literally vote for anything simply based on how they feel over breakfast that morning.

    When we select an MP, we're not just selecting a representative with a Hail-Mary pass but a delegate of the constituency to Parliament. Maybe this is something that your friend (assuming he's American) may not understand about British politics, but we are deeply proud of the 'constituency link' that local residents have with their MPs. Even with small local issues, you can get in touch pretty easily with your MP and ensure that their votes correlate with the interests of the area and the political wishes of the electorate.

    With an anonymous system, you'd also have no way of knowing whether your local MP is even bothering to turn up at all in debates and divisions.

    That's true to a point, but if you watch debate in Parliament and the reports that the Government produces, there certainly isn't much dumbing down going on in economic debates. With the proposed system though, how would you even know whether your representatives have the economic experience to successfully run a world-leading economy? Could you hold them to account if they made a complete mess or guarantee that a true range of economic options are being considered?

    And you'd be vilified by your electorate and your parliamentary colleagues (rightly so), but under the proposed system you'd get a free pass and a pension no questions asked.

    The reason this scenario happens so rarely is because MPs are keep honest by public scrutiny and accountability, but under the proposed system they wouldn't even have to try and justify their actions and their votes - they could even make up their whole election manifesto and never be held responsible for breaking their promises. Even if they can get away with it during their time in Parliament now, they'll have a very difficult time after leaving the chamber in their future career.
    This is why I only tentatively suggested the anonymity of the list of who is in Parliament. I think we could make it clear who has been voted in and when they attend, but what they say would remain anonymous.

    You can still contact them, express concerns etc.

    What do you mean how would you know whether they have enough experience? How do we know at the moment? We research them. I didn't say you'd run for MP anonymously - no, you'd know exactly who was running.
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    (Original post by Three Mile Sprint)
    Because if they are not named, the public don't know they have misrepresented them...and don't have the option not to vote them back.
    Also it means they can't be sued by the public because they are anonymous.
    Yes they do, every MP is automatically not voted back. The list of MPs I think we shall agree would remain public.
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    (Original post by Upper Echelons)
    That's poor logic - just because someone can only be voted in once, that doesn't mean that we should pick any old mug off the street.. With my university example, as I said, I couldn't speak to the university myself anyway, so his word would be final in that case. I would tell them 'at all' to maximise the chance of me being released from my commitment.

    And that's just it - your candidate has one term of office, so maximise the chance of them doing good stuff in it. Are you seriously saying you wouldn't mind whether it was a hardened criminal or a recent graduate?
    However, if you have no certainty that the person you vote in will carry out their promises, then you are choosing based on how well they can sell themselves. If they are a hardened criminal or recent graduate is irrelevant - you would only know what they say about themselves and what is in public domain (which may not include such things as criminal record).

    With the university example, a better way would be if you could use the same person for multiple messages, where they are paid for each (compared to multiple terms). If they have the chance of getting more work, and it is possible to check they did their job - they will do their job to get more work. this way you can be certain you have been released from your commitments, as opposed to it being down to chance.
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    (Original post by rmhumphries)
    However, if you have no certainty that the person you vote in will carry out their promises, then you are choosing based on how well they can sell themselves. If they are a hardened criminal or recent graduate is irrelevant - you would only know what they say about themselves and what is in public domain (which may not include such things as criminal record).

    With the university example, a better way would be if you could use the same person for multiple messages, where they are paid for each (compared to multiple terms). If they have the chance of getting more work, and it is possible to check they did their job - they will do their job to get more work. this way you can be certain you have been released from your commitments, as opposed to it being down to chance.
    You have no certainty in the current system, either, though. Politicians are infamous for not sticking to their promises.
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    (Original post by Upper Echelons)
    This is why I only tentatively suggested the anonymity of the list of who is in Parliament. I think we could make it clear who has been voted in and when they attend, but what they say would remain anonymous.

    You can still contact them, express concerns etc.
    This is a very significant change from the original proposal. Even so, if you spoke with your MP about local affairs, you'd still not be able to hold them to their word and make sure they were carrying community issues to Parliament - you could just sit there and nod whilst old Mrs. Trellis of North Wales rambles on and on and then go vote the way you'd originally planned with no repercussions.

    (Original post by Upper Echelons)
    What do you mean how would you know whether they have enough experience? How do we know at the moment? We research them. I didn't say you'd run for MP anonymously - no, you'd know exactly who was running.
    But with anonymity you could easily just 'play to the gallery' during election time, emphasise bits of your personality likely to play well to your constituency and then vote exclusively on issues that you'd had no prior experience of. MPs tend to specialise in certain policy areas and everyone knows who has the most experience during specific debates and who's opinion is more reasoned and experienced. That would be lost in an anonymous system.
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    (Original post by Eloquai)
    This is a very significant change from the original proposal. Even so, if you spoke with your MP about local affairs, you'd still not be able to hold them to their word and make sure they were carrying community issues to Parliament - you could just sit there and nod whilst old Mrs. Trellis of North Wales rambles on and on and then go vote the way you'd originally planned with no repercussions.

    But with anonymity you could easily just 'play to the gallery' during election time, emphasise bits of your personality likely to play well to your constituency and then vote exclusively on issues that you'd had no prior experience of. MPs tend to specialise in certain policy areas and everyone knows who has the most experience during specific debates and who's opinion is more reasoned and experienced. That would be lost in an anonymous system.
    I know it's a significant change, I've agreed with the point you made and changed it :chaplin:

    It wouldn't have to be lost, as the MPs could potentially see each other debating and would know who is speaking.
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    (Original post by Upper Echelons)
    I know it's a significant change, I've agreed with the point you made and changed it :chaplin:

    It wouldn't have to be lost, as the MPs could potentially see each other debating and would know who is speaking.
    Thanks, I'm not sure though a half-revealed, half-anonymous system could really work in practice. It wouldn't take long before information leaked out surrounding the authorship of certain parliamentary quotes - indeed I could imagine the media paying a lot of money to track down Members who advocate extreme measures. You'd probably even end up with Members talking in code to allude to readers who they are debating with.

    I see the point about physically meeting up to debate has changed too, which explains your answer. An MP's experience is still lost though from the perspective of the electorate who don't know whether the local farmer turned MP is turning up for local agricultural debates or focusing exclusively on Indian Ocean deep-sea exploration.
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    (Original post by Eloquai)
    Thanks, I'm not sure though a half-revealed, half-anonymous system could really work in practice. It wouldn't take long before information leaked out surrounding the authorship of certain parliamentary quotes - indeed I could imagine the media paying a lot of money to track down Members who advocate extreme measures. You'd probably even end up with Members talking in code to allude to readers who they are debating with.

    I see the point about physically meeting up to debate has changed too, which explains your answer. An MP's experience is still lost though from the perspective of the electorate who don't know whether the local farmer turned MP is turning up for local agricultural debates or focusing exclusively on Indian Ocean deep-sea exploration.
    Hmm. I'll have a think :yy:
 
 
 
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