Monday, March 15, 2010

Electoral Reform: General Pause Required

The FPTP electoral system is not fit for purpose. It must go.

Any Parliament elected by FPTP will have an in-built bias towards feeling that FPTP is an excellent system. Therefore electoral reform must come about through extra-parliamentary pressure.

One simple way of involving people, and bringing the matter to the attention of those who administer the election, is to nudge voters to make a firm yet polite protest in the polling stations, by saying, at they are given their ballot forms, "FPTP has got to go".

Another means of bringing pressure is through an ongoing, weekly General Pause, from 9-9.15 am every Monday.

The most effective way to bring about political change General Strike. However, the people need to be very strongly motivated to go for this, which is, politically, the nuclear option. The public are far from being ready for this at the moment, but could start the ball rolling with a little General Pause: (or perhaps, General Tea-break) a ten - fifteen minute delay in work, which we spend discussing electoral reform with our work colleagues. This should take place on Monday at 9 a.m. until 9.15 a.m.

 The idea of the General Pause/Tea-break is that it is slight enough for people to do it without fear, since it is only marginally distinguishable from a normal social chat or tea break, and not enough for productivity to be threatened so that it is not a sackable offence. On the other hand, once it has spread to a critical mass of the workforce, employers will notice and start to talk to politicians, who will see in it the seeds of a potential General Strike, which will move them to start to take action on electoral reform.

I have to say, before the ubiquitous Anonymous steps in to say it for me, that it is all very well for me to advocate the General Pause, because I am retired. However, retired persons can do the equivalent by gathering at a meeting point in the village to support the action.

If the same measures are taken up by other campaigns, such as the movement for countering global warming, the effectiveness of the General Pause will be enhanced, as a widespread means of spurring politicians to take meaningful action.

No comments: