Friday, October 23, 2015

Civil Rights for voters ?

For over two hundred years inclusion-minded humanity has assumed that merely extending the right to vote to this or that group (the middle class then working class then women then minorities then the young) was the limits of the possible civil rights for voters.

But what happens when money talks, not voters, with spending limits set so high that they restrain no one - except the smaller and poorer parties?

What happens when some voters (from rural areas) got three times as many MPs per vote as did other voters (from immigrant heavy inner cities), just because the first set of voters reliably returned MPs from the parties of the rich and powerful ?

And what happens when two thirds of all voters regularly fails to see their personal choice reflected in the elected legislature, to the extent that almost half of all the voters failed to vote?

And what if voter suppression legislation was set in place that discouraged younger, poorer, immigrant voters from easily voting ?

In 2005, this whole process of guying the voting system to benefit the bigger older parties reached its current nadir.

(And not unexpectedly, at the oldest and biggest of all Parliaments ---- in Westminster.)

Blair's nadir

There a (false) "majority" government was awarded to a party (Tony Blair's Labour Party) that got about a third of the vote from roughly half of the voters.

People who assume the long series of Civil Rights campaigning has finally come to an end are dead wrong : the campaign to ensure Civil Rights for Voters has just begun.

All those who took part in securing a bare minimum of Civil Rights for blacks, aboriginals and other visible minorities, for LGBTs, for the physically and mentally challenged, victims of crime etc are still around to help lead the charge.

"A Voice in the Legislature for every Vote" should be our slogan.

That means eliminating the differential between voter numbers in rural versus urban districts, by increasing the number of districts/ elected politicians while simultaneously sharply slashing those MPs' salaries and support staff.

Yes, because our MPs shouldn't be full time "lifer" politicians, but rather remain embedded in the society and employed in the economy they are supposed to be 'representing', after all.

Parliament should meet regularly for two days every two weeks, year in and year out --- much like the way our local governments have worked successfully for so long.

Slash MPs' support staff and offices because incumbents of all parties get far far too much support, making it very hard for newcomers to challenge them successful.

Slash the maximum spending limits for parties and candidates to 20% of their current levels and make the term of those spending limits the entire four years between elections, not just the 40 days of a typical formal election call.

That's right - starve the frackers ! - make them winners based upon the force of their ideas and devotion to foot leather and hard work, not on how much dirty dark money they can throw at TV ads and on vacuous election signs.

Soon even Tory candidates will be gagging for a chance to appear before an all-candidates' debate, looking for some way - anyway - to bring their ideas before the voters.

Voting via photo ID citizenship cards 

Give us all a tamper proof photo id citizenship card so we can vote without a long expensive enumeration process and without the horrendous mistakes to be expected of any "current address" based system of ID in a highly mobile society.

Above all, move to some form of PR (proportional representation) - one that awards all parties getting more than four percent, a strictly accurate number of MPs to reflect their voter share.

But then break that principle of proportional representation at the bottom, to ensure at least one MP/one voice in parliament for any political party that can gets as little as one percent of the national vote in the election.

Maybe even a seat for any losing independent candidate who got at least twenty percent of the vote in their voting district.

"Better a wide diversity of voices inside the parliament building then gunmen shooting people outside the parliament building."

Get rid of the personal exemption on our income tax - replace it with giving the same exemption figure if you voted at the last election - as per the citizen card clicking the counter at the voting booth.

Reducing the non-voting nabobs of negativity to zilch

In effect it becomes a tax on those who still won't vote and my guess they hate losing some money to the taxpayer even more than they hate honouring our war dead by democratic voting.

Let's hold the final day of what has become an extended 35 day voting period (what once was called 'election day') on November 11th, to remind us of all who died so we could freely vote.

That is, start each election, every four years, on October 5th.

Non-voters won't be able to claim that they don't vote because their voice couldn't be heard in Parliament.

Now its simply because they are bone dead lazy.

Or are too busy house-invading, smoking crack or molesting sheep.

No more whiners

In the past, half of us became the ever present between-elections whiners who could always sit about confidently dissing the errors of the any and every MP, because they had never ever vote for any of them.

But an inclusion-oriented voting system makes all of us responsible for the bad things, as well as the good things, that the parliament that we all elected decide to do.

Just think - no more bone lazy whiners around the water cooler - doesn't that thought alone make working on a "civil rights effort for voters" worth all the sweat and early disappointments ???

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