Why Politicians are Not Good for Us

Thursday, 12 April 2007

[Picture of Black Rod]POLITICIAN is a job title; it is paid employment.

And who pays the politician’s wages and expenses? — That’s right, WE DO.

So what does the job entail? In other words, what do we get for our money?

[Picture of European Parliament]The glib answer is that the job is representing us. The thing is that the politician doesn’t listen to us, instead he or she follows the party whip. So instead of representing local constituents, the politician represents the political party. Or something like that.


[Picture of The Houses of Parliament]You see it is complicated. We have MSPs, MPs, MEPs and local councillors. That’s a lot of wages and expenses right there!

OK, let’s pretend for the moment that we lived in a democracy — and even that a politician actually represented the majority view in the constituency — that would take care of one politician, so why have got so many politicians?

[Picture of Glasgow City Council Chambers] [Picture of Brussels] [Picture of Holyrood]

Is it because we need representation in Glasgow, Holyrood, Westminster and Brussels? Well then, what good is it if each of these posts is filled by a different party? And the next question is: do we really need so many tiers of government in today’s world?

Today’s world is one of peace and prosperity, and as such, it is like no other period of history. We have mass communication, technology and the potential to achieve great things as a society.

The British system of Church and State, of upper house and commons, of peerages and privy councils is very old and may have worked in the distant past, but does that mean it is suitable for today’s world?

Instead of managing, politicians need to think up radical new ideas. Instead of steering with a light touch of the rudder, a politician has to rock the boat.

Everyday a politician goes to work and has to THINK UP something to actually do! He or she will decide on an “issue” and then try to deal with it — this could be recycling, traffic calming, a new road, congestion charging, speed cameras, litter, tax — it is all fabricated to keep themselves busy.

Quite why the great British Public accept this nonsense is beyond me. We could easily remove The Scottish Parliament for we have managed extremely well without it throughout a glorious past as part of the largest Empire the world has ever seen.

[Picture of Strathclyde Regional Council, Glasgow]Mrs.Thatcher removed a tier of government when she abolished the GLC and Strathclyde Regional Council (and more besides). The Scottish Parliament is Strathclyde Regional Council in all but name.

That leaves Glasgow, Westminster and Brussels. Now, it would seem reasonable to me that a party be voted into government and this government employs people to represent us in Europe and at a local level. It can never be a good idea to have three elected representatives — it lacks clarity of vision. Indeed what is the point of having the potential of different political parties being represented?

[Picture of Political Party Election Rosettes]I simply do not understand why someone who is elected to represent the people of Glasgow cannot represent them at Westminster and in the council. Apart from this, we also have the technology to make redundant the physical need to travel to London to cast a vote in person.

One person elected is sufficient to represent our interests, and Europe should not be represented by an elected person, but by appointment — like a cabinet position. That’s a basic two wages and expenses package.

And the deal should be to maintain the status quo, reduce interference, stop tinkering, and go by the motto: if it ‘ain’t broke don’t fix it.

Too many politicians is expensive (they need transport, a building, staff and expense accounts) and all this creates problems as they have to be seen to be doing something to justify their existence. I say that we ought to radically revise our entire system of government to something more in keeping with our modern world, something cost-effective and very simple. Something, anything that is much simpler than the present system:

Whose Interests?

You are presently governed, taxed and regulated by thousands of people — some inherit their power, some are awarded it. Peers, Civil Servants elected politicians, councillors and support staff… it all adds up!

  • Glasgow City Council (George Square) (www.glasgow.gov.uk/)
  • Glasgow City Council comprises 79 elected Members, each representing an area (an electoral ward) of the city. (www.glasgow.gov.uk/en/YourCouncil/Council_Committees/Councillors/Councillor_home.htm)

    [Picture of Glasgow City Council Chambers] [Picture of Glasgow City Council]

  • The Scottish Parliament (Holyrood) (www.scottish.parliament.uk/) (www.scotland.gov.uk/)
  • The Scottish Parliament is made up of 129 Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs).
    There are 73 constituency MSPs and 56 Regional MSPs, 7 for each of the 8 regions.
    Each person in Scotland will be represented by one constituency MSP and seven regional MSPs.The system used for elections to the Scottish Parliament is a form of proportional representation known as the Additional Member System (AMS).Using this system, each voter has two votes.
    The first is cast for a constituency MSP, via the ‘First Past the Post’ system.
    The second vote is used to elect the additional (regional) members.
    The additional members are elected at a regional level to ensure that, as far as possible, the share of MSPs in the Scottish Parliament reflects the share of votes cast for each party.

    [Picture of Holyrood] [Picture of the Scottish parliament]

  • UK Parliament (Westminster)

    [Picture of The Houses of Parliament]

  • House of Commons (www.parliament.uk/) (www.parliament.the-stationery-office.co.uk/pa/cm/cmhome.htm)
    List of the 646 MPs (www.parliament.uk/directories/hciolists/alms.cfm)

    [Picture of The House of Commons]

  • House of Lords (www.parliament.uk/about_lords/about_lords.cfm)
    There are types of Peer — lords, ladies and bishops are all peers, and there are classifications across these groups — there’s a basic peerage, which gives the person the right to sit in The House of Lords to take part in debates and votes. In addition, a peerage can be for the life of the person, and finally, it can be a family peerage and inherited by generations (hereditary peers).Not all peers have participated in the political life, and as a result, during parliamentary reforms in 1999, most of the hereditary peers’ rights to sit in Parliament was removed. Nevertheless 92 hereditary peers were allowed to keep their seatsThere has never been a limit on the number of peers. Presently there are 732 peers of which about 600 have been appointed for life.The House of Lords is the upper house of the UK’s Parliament. Its role is to scrutinise, revise and, if necessary, delay laws proposed by MPs.) Up to 12 law lords also sit in the Lords – their main work lies not in debates but judging cases in the highest appeal court in the UK. There are also 26 Anglican archbishops and bishops who can speak and vote in the Lords.1. New Labour Party: 207 life peers, 4 hereditary peers
    2. Conservative & Unionist Party: 157 life peers, 47 hereditary peers
    3. Liberal Democrat Party: 72 life peers, 5 hereditary peers
    4. Cross-bench: 169 life peers, 33 hereditary peers
    5. Church of England: 26 archbishops and bishops
    6. Law Lords: 12
    7. Other: 10 life peers, 2 hereditary peers
    8. Fourteen peers are on a leave of absence. (www.parliament.uk/directories/house_of_lords_information_office/alphabetical_list_of_members)

    [Picture of the House of Lords]

  • European Parliament (www.europarl.org.uk/) (www.europarl.org.uk/uk_meps/MembersMain.htm)
    The UK has 78 representatives in the European parliament. The UK is divided into twelve regions.
    Each region has between three and ten MEPs and each MEP in a region represents each person living there. For example, if you live in Scotland, all seven MEPs represent you (even though they are from all sorts of political party) and so you can contact any or even all of them with your gripes.


  • European Parliament (www.europarl.europa.eu/)
    The European Parliament is made up of 785 Members elected in the 27 Member States of the enlarged European Union.

    [Picture of European Parliament] [Picture of Brussels]

    Each Member State decides on the form its election will take, but follows identical democratic rules: a voting age of 18, a secret ballot, direct universal suffrage, proportional representation and a five-year renewable term. The seats are, as a general rule, shared out proportionately to the population of each Member State. Each Member State has a set number of seats, the maximum being 99 and the minimum five. MEPs divide their time between Brussels, Strasbourg and their constituencies.

    In Brussels they attend meetings of the parliamentary committees and political groups, and additional plenary sittings. In Strasbourg they attend 12 plenary sittings. In parallel with these activities they must also, of course, devote time to their constituencies.

    The Members of the European Parliament are grouped by political affinity and not by nationality.

3 Responses to “Why Politicians are Not Good for Us”

  1. ENRICO Says:

    Scotland has a very small population, and this population is in decline.

    This must make Scots among the most over-represented people on the planet!

    In the UK, people pay taxes for public services, but this is reversed for Scotland, which the rest of the UK subsidises. This means that each Scot RECEIVES money from the UK (and this money is spend on public services and public servants).

    I agree with you, something has to change for it is far too expensive and I do not see the value for money nor the need in, as you say, such prosperous and peaceful times.

  2. music Says:

    very interesting.
    i’m adding in RSS Reader

  3. horace Says:

    Public funds totalling £500 million a year are being spent on an army of at least 29,000 professional politicians in the UK, according to new figures.

    Thirty years ago, no more than 2,000-3,000 people in the UK were paid with taxpayers’ money for political work, with the vast majority of representatives, organisers and fund-raisers made up of volunteers or party employees.

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