Tuesday 21 January 2014

Plastic Fantastic

They are everywhere. They walk among us and they are barmy, or indiscreet, or just plain stupid. They lie and cheat and steal and embezzle. They provoke conflict and cover up sleaze (Whatever that means; there’s yet another word that has changed its meaning during my lifetime.) They make promises they subsequently deny or quietly forget. They make decisions without merit for tactical gain. They make confessions and apology which are legally neither. Can you tell who I’m talking about yet?

Yep. Not a week goes by without yet another example of the simple humanity of politicians. By humanity, I mean failings. From the expenses scandals, influence for sale and colossal waste of national funds to the bizarre ‘and finally’ examples of local councillors deranged enough to believe in biblical reckonings and alien abduction. And watching the wriggling of the LibDems trying to distance themselves from the man who many credit with their recent temporary stint on the government benches is too farcical for mere words. Before any Labourites start to ‘smug-up’ I’d just add… the ‘Reverend’ Paul Flowers.

It’s not just members of Parliament though; we also have to consider those who vote for them. Most of us are insufficiently savvy to make good choices. We are swayed by sentiment and tradition and fooled by fine words. Our memories are short, our instincts partisan and our intellects inadequate to grasp the difference between electoral ploy and credible doctrine. It’s just not good enough, which is why I bring you the politician of the future:

Tomorrow’s MPs will be made in identical moulds, mass-produced to order and programmed to suit their party allocation. They will have no past life to research and rubbish, no skeletons to uncover and the only closets they will be capable of coming out of will be the ones they are stored in between duties in the house. Given that MPs stopped representing local people quite some years ago, constituencies will be abolished and a true proportional representation system will be introduced.

Following a thorough census the cultural programming of the 647 new members – a prime number to prevent neat carving up of the vote – will match that of the eligible electorate as closely as possible, with extremes being filtered out of the mix. Thus there will be many more cloth caps and many fewer Oxbridge PPE graduates… and virtually zero climate change nutters and green activists. Accents will be a happy neutral, to prevent pre-judging the efficacy of policy on class or regional grounds.

Of course, PMQs will lose its bear-baiting character and members will defend policy on facts alone, but on the positive side voting will become a matter of pragmatism and not mere party allegiance or in return for favours. Given that the allocation of seats will depend purely on the overall numbers no individual member will have a seat to defend and as they wear out they can simply be replaced with a newer model.

Cabinet Photograph - 2020

Of course, politics will become efficient, routine and boring but, as we’ve shown we dislike anything that could be mistaken for personality in our MPs, that may be no bad thing. There will be no touching, no affairs, no back-handers, no directorships, no elevation to Lords – the Upper House will be unnecessary . It will be democracy in action and power to the people… and freedom for Tooting, no doubt. And best of all, should an MP go rogue he will simply be scooped up and melted down for scrap. 

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