I would really like a vote tomorrow. A vote which actually counts. My vote, in this ‘rotten borough’ where I live, which also goes by the unlovely title of a ‘Labour Stronghold’, is overwhelmed and dominated by a tribalistic vote, whether it is for the present Labour candidate; or a gorilla wearing a Red rosette, if that primate was adopted by the local Labour constituency party. It is a proven fact that total political nonentities, who maybe have worked ‘forCunard’ but without an original thought between the lot, have risen to great power in this, our Island Nation, whilst riding on the coat-tails of one political party or another.
We in Great Britain had a chance to swap our ‘First-past-the-Post’ system a couple of years back, in a referendum for an alternative vote system which was backed by the Lib-Dems. This vote was part of their price for joining the Coalition which has run our Government for the past five years. It was decisively rejected by the voting public, partly because the voting public dislikes change, partly because the AV system requires a preference to be stated, and Brits really dislike someone telling them to do anything which might make them think, or choose; but mainly because, when the possible ballot papers were shown and discussed, the jokes showed how lunatic the system actually was.
Voting for our ‘Representatives’ in Europe is by Proportional Representation, or the d’Hondt system. When I tell you that Mr. d’Hondt was a Belgian lawyer and maths expert, I don’t need to expand any further, as when anyone actually tries to explain his system, they end up with a very bad headache. Biut the main distinction between British and European political systems is that the Europeans vote for Parties, and share the seats out according to the proportion of votes; the British also vote for Parties, but through People. We like to know who we vote for; we obviously vote for the Person as well as the Party. But my problem is that most people in Britain vote for a Person BECAUSE they (the candidate) are associated with a Party, a Party which they associate with the phrase ‘What does this Party offer me?’, so we end up with Government through greed. The common man and woman, through their voting power, have voted to increase their own standards of living, regardless of the long-term interests of their children, and the wider interests of the country. True, there should always be a ‘social security’ blanket, as a fall-back if a man or woman isn’t working, but, once the rules are made, they are bent sixteen ways from Friday; and we arrive at the ludicrous headlines like this, or this.
Alllow me to give two examples. The British used to control the Iranian (Persian) oilfields through a listed public company. In one year, the shareholders got four million pounds in dividends, the Iranians (Persians) got sixteen million, and the British Government took fifty-four millions in taxation. We were robbing them blind, and distributing the proceeds of that theft in social welfare and political machinations. The Iranians revolted, Mossadeq took over and nationalised the oilfields; the CIA and the British MI5 engineered a coup, arrested Mossadeq and re-installed the Shah, who went on with his own autocratic rule until the mullahs kicked him out, and along came Khomeini and his Islamic revolution. Since that unhappy tale, it has happened over and over again. No despot, no dictator, no autocratic monarch has injured Great Britain as much as the common man.
I used to be employed in a consulting engineering role in the Sewage and Clean Water business. When I state that the control of sewage, and the provision of clean, safe drinking water is one of the basic foundations of our society today, I do not exaggerate. London istelf was plagued with cholera, huge numbers of people died; but once an unkown scientist named John Snow found and isolated the link between contaminated drinking water and cholera, cities began to increase in size, because the plague had been conquered. Some fifteen years back, I was looking after a project to enlarge and modernise a sewage treatment works in South Wales. The expansion had been on the cards since the mid-1940’s, and the associated smell from the overflowing sewage had been making life miserable for local residents for almost as long, but the cash had been pulled from budgets for over thirty-odd years. ‘Low Priority’ was the call, and since the small village didn’t have much political sway, and there were more urgent calls for public money, the existing sewage works just plugged along, the sewage overflowed regularly, and the untreated sewage just ran into the river. Once the Water Industry was privatised, engineering works, expansion, renewal, became the watchword. The sewage works was designed, built and completed, and suddenly, the summer smells disappeared. The money for this expansion came from the same source as before, the user, but instead of taxpayers money being lavished upon projects which would make politicians look good, the cash came from the bills paid by the water user, and was used where it was needed, not where it was politically expedient. Unfortunately, most of the our water industry is now owned by foreigners, and the profits go abroad, but that is, maybe, an argument for an another day.
I hope that my argument now becomes apparent, in that we need a new system of voting, which would reward a voter who had advanced by virtue of his or her education, or by his hard work, by virtue of the fact that one man is not always equal to his neighbour, but deserves a bigger say in how his Country is governed. We need a system which would allow a breed of politician who would not be afraid to state that it would use taxpayers money to invest in Infrastructure projects without the stain of being politically useful. Being of a logical frame of mind, I would propose a system which does not rely on mathematics, or abstruse formulae to determine who sits in our legislature, but would allocate votes according to individual knowledge and ability. One basic vote would be allocated to everyone. A second vote could be for the completion and award of a degree, but only certain degrees such as in science, or engineering, or mathematics; no silly ‘media studies’ allowed. A third vote might be awarded for foreign work and travel, excluding all holiday journeys. A fourth vote may be reserved for a person who has never travelled, but who has run and operated a successful business for more than five years. A fifth vote might be reserved for a person who has involved him- or her-self with a Charitable Organisation, with the caveat that nothing more than a small stipend had been received by the charity worker concerned, and that all administrative titles be excluded from such a vote.
I might be charged with being an ‘elitist’ and whilst that may be partly true, which of us can truthfully state that we have never, ever, made the remark or nurtured the thought; ‘and they have exactly the same voting power as I’?