Cameron, apparently, is attempting to woo Nick Clegg with an offer of an electoral reform referendum. I have a serious problem with that.
If you went into the city centre, and bumped off, say, 20 people at random, the average IQ of the country would probably go up, the reason being – and I know this is going to sound elitist, but what the hell – that the average person is not especially bright. More so when taken out of their comfort zone and asked to consider something which is alien to them (i.e., not football-related).
The situation is, in a less extreme form (for now), not too dissimilar from that described in Cyril Kornbluth’s short story, The Marching Morons (who spotted the trend – that the population, on the whole, is getting dumber – a couple of generations ago).
And yet the Tories are suggesting a referendum on some form of proportional representation – which even some politicians have trouble grasping – when many voters have trouble spelling X.
See Wikipedia on the subject of PR.
Sorry, but why ask the people on this one? No-one asks for permission to raise taxes, or go to war, or – really – anything else of any importance, between general elections. Hell, we’re still waiting for a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.
And before anyone is moved to post a comment saying that there should have been a general election over the succession of Gordon Brown, no, there shouldn’t.
The prime minister is never elected, except as an MP. The post of prime minister is not in the gift of the people. The post always goes to the leader of the party which gained a majority at the general election (except, as we’ll soon see, when they didn’t), elected by the party, not by the electorate.
However, the fact that a very great many people appear not to know that demonstrates all too well the innately poor grasp of politics by the general public, and the foolishness of expecting to get an informed response to an electoral reform plebiscite.
After all, the one man, one vote, first past the post, system was never put to the people (deeply flawed though the concept is).
Proportional representation, in pretty much any of its various forms, would radically change the face of British politics, and break the strangle-hold of the two major parties, which can never be a bad thing. It is, though, far too important to be left to the dubious will of the people. After all, look at what they did last week.
This is a situation where politicians need to stop brown-nosing the public – it’s not as if they actually care what we think, after all – and make a decision. That is, of course, duck-houses and moats aside, what they’re getting paid for.
It’s their job to run the country and make the decisions – they should not even be tempted to abrogate that responsibility. They must have the balls to bite this particular bullet and get the job done, even if it means, next time round, some of them will be out of office.
Which, of course, is why Cameron is thinking of dumping the responsibility in the lap of the public – he wants the deniability that comes with a referendum. Don’t blame us, it’s the will of the people! Just shows what a spineless bugger he really is.