I’ve been thinking this week again about democracy and how it seems to have lost it’s way in the UK at the moment. Last week I wrote about how the media found it easy to manipulate voters by giving them half truths, down right lies and filtering information that they received to suit their own particular agenda. To be fair to these media tycoon types they are only looking after their own interests much as anyone else does. The trouble really stems from the fact that they become so close with the politicians who wield the political power, friendly chats at weddings and bahmitzvahs, weekends away in the country, loans of Yachts. These people mix in the same circles in the glamorous centre of it all London. Not even all of London but the wealthy holes and hideouts of the Westminster Elites. Now I am not so cynical as to think that there is a special conspiracy going on here, it’s just that politicians are human. They are like you and I, and most of them got into politics because they believed they could help people out. It’s just that the people they deal with the most, the people who they have social connections with, the ones they have a degree of empathy for are……. the wealthy tycoons who swan around Westminster. Not the nurses and teachers and community bus drivers and bin men and postmen and…… well all the other people who make societies function.
Right that’s the problem. Politicians are naturally inclined to help the wealthy, not because they are bastards but because they are human and, like all humans they want to help out their mates. One of my solutions to this is very simple and comes at an opportune moment. Move the centre of politics from London to one of the other cities. Let’s be honest we know that the actual palace of Westminster is falling to pieces, in fact it’s going to cost about 7 Billion to do it up. Lets take the opportunity to stop and spend slightly less building a purpose built structure for our parliamentarians. It doesn’t have to be flash, an off the shelf conference centre type thing would do, in these times of austerity we could be led by example. We could have a nice round chamber for our representatives to sit in, preferably without specific places, except for maybe the speaker. If the two sides were not forced to sit opposite each other maybe they would not come across as such a bunch of childishly confrontational children. It’s a bit more difficult to act like a dick if you are not immediately surrounded by people who are jeering you on. If they behaved like that in any school in this nation they would be split up and rightly so. If they can’t behave we need to put them in an environment where the opportunity to misbehave is minimised.
OK as well as removing our politicos from the easy Westminster bubbleverse, building our parliament somewhere else may solve another problem. We could get rid of all the expenses nonsense where politicians claim for a second home to stay in while at work, one they get to keep when they stop being in parliament. Surely that has got to be a perk too far. In our design we could incorporate a couple of blocks of flats a bit like glorified student dorms. Mix up the parties a bit, give them a flat or set of rooms with a shared kitchen and, bingo no more housing expenses. We could even give them a free canteen, being generous we could double the allowance that children are given for free school meals and I still bet the expenses budget for MP’s would come down.
In fact we could set the whole thing up so that the conditions a politician worked in were much more akin to the kind of conditions that the people who keep our society functioning face. That way there would be a natural affinity that would grow. Politicians might actually start to view themselves as part of the workforce, not some great Westminster elite surrounded by money and power. That would not be bad for democracy because, there are more people who identify as proper working stiffs than identify as media tycoons and, looking after the interests of those at the bottom rather than those at the top is the whole point of democracy in the first place. Or….. we could go back to having feudal warlords, which I am sure would suit many of the present mates of the politicians in this country.
I’m not the only one with this idea, in fact there is one of those petitions online which thinks we should have one of those referendums on the question. You can sign it here !