Sunday, January 11, 2015

Put some fun into politics

Politics isn't much fun is it...

Oh I know we can have a bit of a giggle at the politicians who aren't the sharpest knives in the block and every now and again a belly laugh at on who does something outrageous but there really isn't enough fun being had. We need less dour gloompeddling and and more chaos. I like chaos. Chaos is a state of possibilities. The road to order is just a restriction of those possibilities.

We are in a 4 1/2 month drag to the next general election. It's really difficult to get engaged. There's a new series of I'm a Celebrities Failing in Uninteresting Ways starting every week.  My prediction is that just over two thirds of the people who can vote will. No one will have a clear majority so some deals will be done in order to form a government. The government will not represent the majority of the populace. And all the promises in the manifestos will be forgotten in the first 3 months when the clear intent will be seen too late. They will dick around for 5 years tinkering here and there and things will be a bit better or a bit worse, depending on how you choose to measure it, than when they started. Then we'll do the same thing all over again and we'll wonder why nothing changes.

It's not all doom and gloom though. I think it can be fixed.

Do away with general elections and introduce some random churn instead.

Every week the names of three MPs will be selected at random. We could use something like the lottery machines. 

They will be put on two weeks notice. 

One seat will be decided by the traditional democratic method of a by election as a nod to democracy.

Another will be decided games designed to see who is best at strategy and thinking. I suggest a GCSE maths paper, chess, Brain of Britain, go, World of Warcraft and It's a Knockout. The overall  winner gets the seat. 

The last seat would be decided by a random selection from the constituency. Drawing a salary and not turning up would be an option, just as it is for MPs now.

That should eventually give us a good churn rate and a good mix of skills. The turnover would be the equivalent of new government every 4 years.

Deciding who gets to talk and for how long should be on merit. In order to draw their salary each month MPs would be required to submit forecasts of a bunch of indicators 3 months ahead. Off hand I suggest GDP, borrowing requirement, cost of a trolley of shopping, house price index, Number 10 hospitality bill, A&E average waiting times. To introduce a bit of chaos they would also have lottery tickets and a win would count towards their score. Depending on the aggregate score MPs would be given allocated a time to speak and introduce suggestions for new legislation. The person who did worse would have to wear a pink ballerina outfit for the month and the other MPs would be allowed to refer to him as the honourable poohead. The person who had statistically speaking tracked the trends best over a year would be made prime minister at the end of the year and would be able to wear casual clothes on Tuesdays and Fridays. He would select his cabinet from the 100 next top scorers using the time honoured method of eeny meeny miney mo on parliament green.

House of commons debating could be replaced with the rules of something like Just a Minute. An MP is given a set time, depending on their predictive skill in the areas above to speak on a current affairs topic and in that time everyone listens, in silence. Interruptions not in the rules of hesitation, deviation and repetition would be penalised by having to sit in silence in a dunces cap for 30 minutes. A successful challenge would mean that you got to talk on the same topic. Until everyone got fed up and no one wanted to say anything else. Then there would be a division but instead of ayes and noes each MP would post on facebook what he thought it was about and the one with the most likes would be taken away by the civil servants and drafted into a law.

There would also be set phrases that had to be used in the correct context. These would be changed weekly by randomly selecting phrases posted on social media. I've just done a random scan through a couple of pages my twitter feed (really) here's some we might expect to see:

rabid, non-objective, sensationalist
self-serving buffoons
just blocked the fat tub of lard
voluntary deradicalisation programme

Failure to work in the required phrase means you have to get the next round in in the bar.

There would still have to be a speaker to keep order. I suggest the job is allocated a bit like jury service and instead of order papers to waive the speaker has a supersoaker filled with ink for minor infractions and taser which he can use if things get really out if hand.

The house of lords would be abolished completely. New laws would be posted on twitter and hashtag campaigns would decide which ones were enacted. For every law passed twitter would be allowed to revoke one. Bonus revocations would be awarded every time an MP was caught with their hands in the till.

See, all it takes are some well established gameshow formats, social media and we could put everything right. I'd pay my taxes to watch that.

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