My latest idea

Plato’s Republic, written in ancient Greek times, set out (amongst other things) the idea of a citizenry of active democrats, all taking part in the decision making. Plato also believed that the idea of everyone’s vote being equal was absurd, given the differing levels of interest and knowledge of politics of each citizen. While deeply flawed (and, lest we forget, Plato was an historic, world class arsehole), it raises interesting questions.

What if we were to introduce the opportunity for all interested citizens (of whatever political leanings) to get directly involved in the political process? Regular participation and feedback from those most informed and interested in making society better would be nothing but helpful. Elections could still be held, with all eligible voters involved as normal. True democracy in action. Then came my big idea.

Allow the citizenry to call a vote of no-confidence in the Government and, if they can convince the panel to vote with them, to kill the Prime Minister. That would stop the wrong types applying for high office. Billy Connolly famously said that the desire to be a politician should bar them from ever being one.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, dear reader, that this is a terrible idea, for a number of reasons. Fear not, for a discussion panel (ie – me and The Legend), debated this last night and covered the major objections;

The murder thing. Nobody is making these people run for office, it’s voluntary and must have many perks that cause them to stand. If they keep us happy (and don’t forget about the citizenry as soon as they get power) they’ll be ok. Blair, for example, would’ve thought twice about Iraq, if it’d been his neck on the line, rather than some squaddies. Besides, another dead politician is no big deal to me, how about you?

It would discourage people from becoming politicians. Fine by me (see above).

It would discourage leadership in all parts of society, not just government. Now, this seems like another plus to me. In his blog and books, Dilbert creator Scott Adams rightly points out that leadership is something that makes ordinary joes do something that they wouldn’t otherwise do in a million years. We need leadership to make us run into machine gun fire, or walk to work in the rain at 7am. How much leadership is required to make you or I eat a doughnut, or watch sport on TV? Exactly. Besides, these leader-types end up taking the credit for our work anyway. Better to nip that sort of thing in the bud, that’s what I say. If one call-centre manager resigns on the back of this idea, we win again.

Some people would feign interest in politics, just to be given the chance to kill politicians. Again, it could be worse. As I personally would exclude tabloid readers and ITV viewers from any panel, the pros outweigh the cons here as well.

I haven’t read this back before posting, so this may come across as fascistic. It isn’t meant to be, and all reader comments are welcome as ever. Yes, both of you.

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