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British Democracy

British democracy has been under attack for several decades from the full spectrum of the political classes, from various lobbyists representing the full range of special interest groups e.g. banks, financing, religions, multi-national companies, environmental groups, extremely wealthy individuals and those who chooses not to vote but choose to complain about their lives and exercise their perceived right to involve themselves in violent demonstrations. British democracy is being devalued by those who are of the opinion that their personal feelings are more important than reality and fact.

There have been recent attempts by the Conservatives (under Teresa May) to reduce the number of MPs form 650 to 600. This is a a major assault on British democracy. Instead of reducing the number of MPs there should be an increase to 750 to represent the increase of population since 1965 of about 10M. Since adjustment would allow smaller parties to gain some seats and this would be more representative of the British political mood.

Salaries for MPs should actually be reduced to £70K. Extra payments made for cabinet positions, etc. Each MP should receive a fix amount in expenses per annum estimated at £125K per annum. This would included all expenses incurred by the MP, staff, office equipment, etc. but not include computer, printer, accessories. Each MP would receive a travel card, similar to an Oyster card but would allow them to use it on any form of transport, bus, rail, plane for travel to and from their constituencies.

The House of Lords needs a radical shake up. Reduce the numbers in the House of Lords to 400 only. 100 Lords would represent the make of the Commons and the remaining 300 would be cross benchers with no political stance. The House of Lords needs to be filled with Lords who have life experience, be it medical, travel, farming, financial, etc. Members of the House of Lords could only serve 10 years at a time and once done their term would if they chose to go back on the list for a further term should they wish to.

These suggestions would balance out the British democratic procedure and restore the faith in the the British democratic system. Local government however is a more difficult beast to deal with. The national government uses local government to implement the laws and procedures it doesn't want to be bothered with. Often local government is inefficient, corrupt and not really representative of local views and opinions. The average turnout for local elections is 35%. Local councils often outsource services to private companies under the guise of cost controlling and supposedly sourcing a better service. Experience has shown that this is seldom the case, especially in such areas as refuse collection, home care service and housing. What should local government really handle and what should be handled by central government?

Certainly house building, and social housing should be centralised. The shortage of social housing has severely hindered the economic growth and held back many on low paid jobs in poverty. Great Britain has a minimum wage law which is there to assist those on low incomes paying for an over priced housing market. With other issues in play such as climate issues, etc it would seem logical, imperative that there is a massive investment in social housing (the private sector manages to look after itself) where each house or flat is a 'passive house'. This would allow low wage earners more money to spend on the high street or save.

Robin Jacob
Founder Member