Tradition is the Enemy of Reform

There can be no meaningful changes to deal with the challenges and opportunities presented by the Covid-19 pandemic until it is accepted that we have a system of government that is demonstrably not fit for purpose. Blaming politicians fails to recognize that they are trapped in the straitjacket of tradition – a euphemism for incompetence. In an era when the state is bombarded by increasingly complicated issues requiring speedy resolution, we have a decision making process that was established in a period when parliament had few decisions to make and ample time in which to make them. It is now essential that the system is overhauled to remove the impediments to speedy and effective decision making.

First, the House of Lords must be abolished. Its role in delaying action cannot be justified on the dubious basis that its involvement produces beneficial improvements. There is little evidence of this and any cost/benefit analysis would confirm it.

Second, the anachronistic voting procedure in the House of Commons needs to be replaced by simple electronic voting without a requirement for the Members to be present in the Chamber.

Third, the lengthy process for enacting legislation ( three readings in the Commons and then further readings in the Lords) should be changed to one reading followed by a Committee review. Delayed action adds to the damaging effects of the problems being addressed.

Fourth, the number of Ministries should be reduced with significantly more of government involvement devolved to regional authorities. Only Defense, Treasury, Home Office and Foreign Office should have national responsibilities. This trend is already underway but with no strategic commitment or plan.

The monarchy to be retained as the prospect of a politically appointed president is anathema.




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