Erase and Rewind – Governance Policy

Why We Need To Start Over

When we have an abysmal government people look to replace them with a less bad option. It is not just the government that fail to represent the people, opposition parties fail just as successfully. And it is not just the two main parties either. Take the Lib Dems in coalition or the actions of the Greens during Brexit. In reality the model of representative politics creates a political class which by its very nature and structure cannot possibly meet the needs of society. Once elected to parliament, MPs join a cosseted world where, even if they ever had any social conscience, through incredibly inefficient ways of deciding policy and long pointless debates, they lose all connection to their constituents. Our politicians are the definition of working hard, but not smart. They become focused on the unimaginative and inefficient methods of the House rather than the manifesto they were elected on. For some it is because they were never committed to the manifesto further than it provided marketing material to gain votes, for some it is simply the political and party structure, by its very nature, kills off the link to those who elected them.

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If we look back over the last 40 years+ we see the decline of country and governance. Of course it is possible to pick out high spots over those years, but overall politics hasn’t made health, education, work life balance, the international stage, housing, or the environment better. Every policy seems to be in response to a crisis or to create the next crisis. We could even reasonably wonder if policy hadn’t been enacted for the last 40 years, would the country be better or worse off in terms of quality of life.

This document focuses on some of our governance policies. You can view all our governance policies and other policies too on our policy hub (see link at the end of the article). We need to change material structure, activity, accountability, and the legal framework to ensure our politics empowers the people. It’s about ensuring political solutions are established by engagement in communities and are in a clear response to those communities. This doesn’t just mean disadvantaged communities; this means all communities with their differing needs and concerns.

Present Setup

House of Commons (HoC)

  • Also known as the lower house.
  • Made up of constituency MPs from England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
  • Split into government and opposition parties on opposing sides of the chamber.
  • Speaker acts as chair managing proceedings.
  • 650 members based on one per constituency. The number can change based on the outcome of independent Boundary Commission reviews.

House of Lords (HoL)

  • Also known as the upper house.
  • Made up of peers.
  • Lords Spiritual – 26 archbishops and bishops of the Church of England.
  • Lords Temporal, Hereditary – 92 peers of which none are women. Most hereditary peerages can only be inherited by men.
  • Lords Temporal, Life Peers – make up the majority of the Lords. Life peers are selected by the Prime Minister and the House of Lords Appointments Commission.
  • At the time of writing the HoL has 780 peers. Unlike the HoC there is no fixed number of peers and presently the 2nd House has more members than the HoC, the only case in the world where the upper house has more members than the lower house.
  • Coincidentally many life peerages are held by those who have given significant donations to the main political parties.
  • Lords can opt to receive an attendance allowance of £313.

What Rise will do

We will:

  • Rename the House of Commons to Constituency Selected House (or some such thing to represent their role as servants not masters).
  • Hold elections for the 2nd House to replace the House of Lords.
  • The 2nd House will be called the People Selected House. 90% of members will be selected by proportional representation. This will meet our plan to have a mixed political structure.
  • 10% of the 2nd House will be selected by lottery. In this scenario the public can enter a lottery and names will be selected randomly to be members of the 2nd House. This creates an opening for those who don’t have the right connections or opportunities to establish themselves in politics. Even with 10% of members selected by lottery, we will still have a lower proportion than the present 92 members selected by the lottery of birth.
  • Rise see MPs owning their manifesto, rather than it being a party manifesto. In this respect they can make changes to the Rise manifesto to meet local needs as long as the changes do not break the core charter of Rise. We will bring in legislation allowing constituencies to recall an MP from either house should they not vote in the manner laid out in their manifesto commitment. In the case of a policy which isn’t in their manifesto, the MP should defer to their constituencies. Should a MP wish to vote differently than laid out in their manifesto, then they must inform their constituents in advance. Rise will simply facilitate, but the candidate will sign off on the manifesto and be held to it.
  • A higher proportion of policy will be brought forward by members to the Constituency Selected House (1st House) based on their commitments made to their constituencies at election time. The situation of government and opposition will be greatly reduced by ensuring policies presented to the house are those committed to at election time. It will be regarded as unacceptable for government and opposition to commit to policies which bear no relation to their election commitments.
  • MPs will be expected to understand the wants and needs of their constituents and will be empowered to electronically poll their constituents where issues arise outside the remit of their manifesto commitment.
  • An independent boundary review will be held. This will not necessarily select boundaries by number of constituents, but rather by local issues. Full criteria will be worked out in advance and MPs will tasked with gathering feedback from their constituents.
  • We will reduce the voting age to 16.
  • To ensure all receive their right to vote we will introduce automatic voter registration. This puts the responsibility on the electoral authorities to ensure people no longer turn up to vote and find they are not registered due to an administrative error. We will also abandon plans to introduce voter ID. This is totally unnecessary and would disenfranchise the poorer in society.
  • Parliament will be moved to the centre of the UK. The following criteria will be applied:
    • A purpose-built parliament will be created with a semi-circular member debating and voting chambers.
    • Electronic voting will take place. This will allow the constituents of a particular MP to see how they voted.
    • Both houses will be on the same site but will be in separate buildings to reflect their different roles.
    • The site will be selected due to its space to create a new town, its vicinity to transport links and its location allowing MPs from all constituencies to have the minimum travelling distance.
    • The town will be built around the parliament. This will have fully serviced houses to be used by MPs when attending parliament.  There will also be hotels for MPs use. These will be free of charge to MPs and will not need expensing as they will be public property.
    • The remaining houses will be 50% social housing and 50% private housing approximately. There will be no difference in the build quality of the two types of housing and the housing will be mixed rather than divided into sectors.
    • The town will contain all necessary amenities and will be designed to favour public transport.
  • An English Assembly will be established on the same site as the UK Parliament.

Policies covered by this paper

Policy IDPolicy
EQ227Abolish the House of Lords
EQ233Carry out an independent boundary review
EQ234Reduce the voting age to 16
EQ236Introduce automatic voter registration    
EQ237Abandon plans to introduce voter ID      
EQ245Introduce legislation to recall an MP where they vote contrary to their manifesto commitment
EQ274Establish an English assembly
EQ28510% of 2nd House to be selected by lottery
EQ286Move parliament to a central location in the UK

See all our policies on Governance Here or why don’t you Join Us and help build our policies and community projects.

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