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It's Speaker Week on PM. Read Tim Collins' ideas here.

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Eddie Mair | 17:00 UK time, Monday, 15 June 2009

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Here at PM, we're offering you the chance to vote for the best ideas on cleaning up public life and restoring faith in politics.

We're calling it Speaker Week.

We've asked four people - none of them politicians - to put forward their personal manifestos for change. You can hear them on consecutive nights, and on Friday they'll debate each other.

Then you'll be able to vote by phone for the person whose ideas you like best.

Tonight, it's the manifesto of Colonel Tim Collins.

Feel free to read his words and let us know what you think by clicking on Comments.

As a candidate, I would seek to re-establish the connectivity between the people and parliament because that is the link that has been broken. We have gone through a period over the last 11 years where increasingly, politics have been about self, and political parties have been about their own party interest. I found it fascinating, for instance, when James Purnell resigned that he talked about his great love for the Labour Party and Gordon Brown's great love for the Labour Party; no mention of the Nation. Ultimately, I think what we have to do is break this party stranglehold, this selfish aspect, and re-establish connection with the people. It needs to be about us as a Nation, collectively helping each other and taking a wider view and abandoning Party Political viewpoints. I think we need a huge shake up in the Party Political system in the United Kingdom. I think we need the emergence of new parties because, frankly, the old parties are old and tired. I really don't think they have the faith of the Nation behind them anymore.

So as Speaker, I would seek to have Parliament re-connect and begin once more to represent the people of the United Kingdom and not narrow viewpoints gathered in smoky rooms.

The way in which one can re-connect is to ensure that candidates have come from the real world. Far too many politicians are people who have lived in a form of La La land; they were a sixer in the Brownies, then they scrambled their way up to be head of the school debating society, eventually emerging as the president of a College Student Union. They then make their way to Parliament to carry the bag of some senior politician, until they go off and get their own constituency. Before long, some of these people are leading the country without any idea of what it's like to live on planet earth. These people have never laid awake at night wondering how they're going to pay their employees. They've never led men into danger, and they've never stood wondering if they're going to have a job the next day because of the decisions they make.

They are like a company running your wealth; they don't really care. It's like someone driving a hire car, it's not their concern. What we need now are people re-connecting. Real people in Parliament. People who care and understand what it is to get a decision wrong, who understand the consequences of their actions, the real human consequences. That's what we need to re-connect with the Nation.

The way in which we can ensure this would be to establish, ultimately, a set of candidates who have come from the real world. Obviously, because it's a democracy it can't be compulsory; people can vote for whoever they like. But I think that once we start to raise the standard of parliamentary candidates, that will catch on. There will be a gold standard, and we will no longer be content to be represented by someone who has never stood in our shoes.

I think in terms of overhauling the parliamentary system, what we need are better people in parliament, as opposed to a better system for getting them there. I'm content with first past the post.

But inside parliament itself, I think we have to take a long look at the Upper House. Recent reforms have left the House of Lords neither fish nor fowl, and since we've started these reforms, what we've got to do is finish them, so that we can actually have a representative House of Lords. We need to find ways that we can have people that can take the longer view, bearing in mind that politicians get elected every 5 years, and that's as far as they can ever see into the future. We need people who represent communities and take the long view to represent the interests of the people who live there.

I think you would find me more of a commanding officer or a headmaster as a Speaker, as opposed to someone who sits and decides who should speak during a debate. By headmaster or commanding officer, what I mean is that I would rigidly enforce standards. Anyone whose integrity dipped would be required to resign. There can be no place in public life and there can be no place in public office for those who lack integrity. It's a basic requirement. And like the army, I wouldn't expect to have to ask someone to resign. The second their integrity is called into doubt, they should tender their resignation themselves to avoid the shame of being humiliated and being dismissed.

Comments

  • 1. At 5:26pm on 15 Jun 2009, Charlie wrote:

    As I also posted elsewhere:


    I only came to know of Colonel Collins via his eve of battle speech in Kuwait:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_Collins_(British_Army_officer)

    I can think of no better person to lead reform of the Commons.

    Unfortunately, the Colonel cannot be Mr Speaker (this time round) but I do wish he'd stand for Parliament...

    I'll listen to the manifesto's of the other three "candidates" but my goodness, they'll need to be extraordinary to even come close to the qualities of this extraordinary man.

    We shall see...

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  • 2. At 5:52pm on 15 Jun 2009, BoiledBunny wrote:

    Just get all the candidates to be Speaker to compete for the role and face Sir Alan Sugar, Margaret and Nick weekly?

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  • 3. At 5:57pm on 15 Jun 2009, Richard_SM wrote:



    Col. Tim Collins strikes me as someone who is still trying to come to terms with his role in the Iraq War. I don't say that as a criticism, merely an observation. His famous/infamous speech was 'strange' and contained many contradictions. Certainly not the type of speech one would have expected from a modern military officer. He was naive when he made that speech six years ago and, it would appear, has not developed his thoughts much further.

    His speech sounded like a prelude to standing as an MP, and he's sounding like a politician already: lots of neutral statements; very little substance. Far more reform is necessary.

    Marks: 1/10

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  • 4. At 6:03pm on 15 Jun 2009, astromaksim wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 5. At 6:03pm on 15 Jun 2009, sailingbrooksie wrote:

    Col Tim gets my vote, What a breath of fresh air !

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  • 6. At 6:03pm on 15 Jun 2009, forgottenclassic wrote:

    yes to speaker week, no to speaker weak!

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  • 7. At 6:07pm on 15 Jun 2009, Lady_Sue wrote:

    A calm cool voice of reason.

    Agree with Charlie above - it is going to be difficult to top this. Also agree that it is people like this man who should be standing for parliament. A pity he isn't.

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  • 8. At 6:15pm on 15 Jun 2009, bjohns27 wrote:

    I know that the comments Tim Collins made about the type of person and the career path of the people who get into parliament will strike a chord with many of my friends and acquaintances from all parts of the political spectrum. Changing it is, I fear, going to be a lot harder than identifying it.

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  • 9. At 6:15pm on 15 Jun 2009, camnurse wrote:

    Is there some way that Col Collins could be persuaded to stand as a candidate for parliament at the next election, or even by-election?

    In due course, he could then become the next Defence Secretary in place of the current ineffective nonentity.

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  • 10. At 6:17pm on 15 Jun 2009, ugolino wrote:

    Why do we need political parties at all? Parliament should consist of five hundred independents who have achieved, hopefully, some element of distinction in the real world. They should be clear experts in their fields - obvious meritocrats who can be respected by all. The 500 should, by democratic vote amongst themselves, appoint the Government, including the Prime Minister. They have the right to "recall" any of their appointees at any time. Every vote would be a free vote.

    Political parties were relevant in the days when they represented clear ideological differences. Since no one can any longer recognise much difference between the main parties, they have become irrelevant and an obstacle to good governance. They squabble futilely amongst themselves like the Big and Little-endians in Gullivers Travels. Abolish political parties and replace them with a House of independent meritocrats.

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  • 11. At 6:18pm on 15 Jun 2009, BagginsAtSea wrote:

    "Anyone whose integrity dipped would be required to resign."

    This is all I need to hear.

    Following this policy would have reduced the current bovine collection by about a half - at least.

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  • 12. At 6:19pm on 15 Jun 2009, Colin McAuley wrote:

    Until fairly recently, he was a "military man"; a decidedly un-democratic institution! From what I have heard, he did well in that milieu, and must be respected for his service. The last paragraph of his statement should show all that he is yet to learn how any parliament truly works. Let him run for elected office, with actual ideas, be elected and spend some time contemplating how things work in a democratic institution (as opposed to a hierarchy), and we shall see. For now, he is definitely "not ready for prime time.

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  • 13. At 6:20pm on 15 Jun 2009, jackfromlondon wrote:

    I'm not sure about the profile that Colonel Tim Collins gives of the career route of a typical MP but, my goodness, he's got it absolutely right about the need for parliamentarians to re-connect with the real world. I was utterly dismayed by James Purnell's statement about a love of the Labour party but no mention of service to the British public. Cynical personal survival and promotion of one's party seem to be paramount, to the exclusion of the interests of the Nation. Would that we had a candidate for Speaker with Collins' views!

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  • 14. At 7:19pm on 15 Jun 2009, thenonsuch wrote:

    Tim Collins for Prime Minister! He speaks as the ordinary decent man thinks and feels. It is inspiring to hear him.
    More, more please.

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  • 15. At 7:25pm on 15 Jun 2009, T8-eh-T8 wrote:

    I listened to the speech on the 17:36 from York to Darlington, on my phone radio, so a bit crackly. Good to see it in print.

    Any appeal for politics to down play partizan confrontation and connect to the needs and concerns of the actual public is bound to garner praise.

    It is what we all say, all the time, on pretty much every episode of Question Time, in any newspaper poll. It is a measure of just how distant our politicians are from the nation that they do not react to to this, even when told directly face to face. A measure of the disdain in which the public are held, the sneering mockery of the public which we suspect resonates through the corridors of Westminster.

    I liked this speech, as meaningless as it may be. It articulated the public frustration, which with no small irony, toward a circumstnce where the public has no say.

    I thought we were the voters.

    How comes we don't seem to be able to vote for anything?

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  • 16. At 7:28pm on 15 Jun 2009, James Baring wrote:

    I am an admirer of Tim Collins, but if politics was as simple as he seems to think there would be many a qualified person from business, the military and other parts of the community standng and competing successfully as MPs. While I think he would make an excellent candidate, those who have learned a lot in one or even more careers could be in for a shock when faced with the British Public and constituents who they has to worry about just as an MD does his employees, the big difference being the employees can fire you on a whim - as some are finding out, at the next election. The same critics want professional MPs with no outside interests, so why does Collins think they would have no financial worries. Think it through please folks. Demagogery is not government, people with the gift of the gab can get elected surprisingly smoothly, but integrity is Collins strong suit we hear, and discipline. So go for it, but be prepared for a surprise. For instance many think the Iraq war was a mistake, but maybe opposing it was also a mistake, and the reason for many of the failures to do the job better.

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  • 17. At 8:05pm on 15 Jun 2009, wensleyfoss wrote:

    Tim Collins left me full of hope

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  • 18. At 8:06pm on 15 Jun 2009, sasleydeprox wrote:

    Tim Collins for President.

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  • 19. At 8:14pm on 15 Jun 2009, honestpropatria wrote:

    I support Collins in principle in spite of his limited political experience. He is right to clearly state that the trinity that is State, People and Functions of Government is fundamentally broken and that there is now a requirement to both listen and address the needs of the Nation. Integrity should be a given in public office and the slightest hint of any lack of it should not require a national newspaper to prompt appropriate action. Maybe now is the time to examine whether the Nation will be best served by having an MP as the Speaker - another fox inside the henhouse. Change is what we need and the likes of Collins should be applauded; he undoubtedly would deliver were he to get through the minefield that is the Westminster trenches. If he can lead men on operations in battle, on behalf of the Nation, he can deliver in public office. The Values and Standards espoused by the Armed Forces is a good starting point to remind our elected officials what is both practised and preached.

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  • 20. At 9:15pm on 15 Jun 2009, roquefort44 wrote:

    Tim Collins is perfectly in tune with the general feeling that the traditional political parties in this country have become irrelevant. I also echo ugolino's thoughts on a parliament based on merit and experience. However to get the best people into parliament we would have to a) pay them a decent salary (at least equivalent to what they could earn elsewhere) and b) accept the fact that any elected group will be a reflection of the population at large and so will contain a small proportion of individuals with high morals, an equally small proportion with no morals at all and a mass in the middle who, like the rest of us, struggle to maintain high standards but sometimes fall short. However it is clearly asburd that we are for the most part governed by people who have no life experience outside the Westminster "bubble". Sir Alan Sugar for Chancellor of the Exchequer anyone?

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  • 21. At 9:25pm on 15 Jun 2009, Cossackgirl wrote:

    1. Charlie
    I couldn't agree more! To me his famous speech was like something reconnecting through time with the Age of Chivalry - I didn't know they spoke like that anymore on the eve of battle! Magic.
    As for him describing himself in the Speaker's chair as a commanding officer (I think the headmaster reference is a nod towards civilians), I felt there the undertone of Cromwellian "In the name of God, go!" It is something the whole nation has been shouting at the MPs for some time now, so I expect many people would feel only too happy.
    But we all remember what Oliver Cromwell did next, so, with all my respect and admiration, Col. Tim Collins for Parliament, but not quite yet for Dictator, however competent and well-intentioned...

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  • 22. At 9:36pm on 15 Jun 2009, Psycho B Delic wrote:

    airPolymath @16

    Nicely put. Couldn't agree with you more.

    Ugilino @ 10

    So the day after the election who will be PM: Which of the 500 independants will garner enough support to be able to create a stable working government?

    Once formed, what would its policies be?

    Since there are no parties, and any government would have to formed by serious horse trading etc when it comes to policies where would it get it's mandate as you wouldn't know before the election who would form it so there is no way it would have a mandate, unless it went back to the elctorate and said "This group of like minded individuals want to form a government that wants to implement these policies" and that sound suspiciously like a party to me.

    Then there are the long term decisions that need a sustained long term approach ....

    Half the problem with the system, as stated before, is because nowadays its all about the individual and not about community.

    But of course to a Labour Minister the Party being in Power IS best for the country.

    There are clear differences between the parties.

    The bank led recession has and would have cost us trillions no matter who was in power. With labour it is up front and the taxpayer, especially those on higher incomes will pay for it. Too right. We all benefitted from the good times, and unlike the last recession the schools and hospitals haven't been so run into the ground that we have to pump billions into them to get them back up to standard. The Tories, in the middle of a recession, want to cut services - mostly used by the poor and staffed by people who don't get paid a lot. So there you have it.

    Under Labour those who can afford it more and have benefitted more pay and under the conservatives the poorer end of the population pay. You only have to look at the sink estates in the old mining communities to see people still paying for the last tory government's policies - and we're still paying.

    Either way we all pay - it's just that one way seems more naturally just than the other.

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  • 23. At 9:45pm on 15 Jun 2009, chiltern2000 wrote:

    Oh where is this new party? Where is the movement of people who do have real life experience and are not just party puppets? Is the current system so stitched up that no one else knows how to gain access?

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  • 24. At 9:58pm on 15 Jun 2009, 1904smellie wrote:

    Surely, Colonel Tim Collins has spoken for the nation. Politicians, perhaps not everyone, serve themselves and their respective parties before the nation. Those who didn't arrive from amateur politics seem to have been (failed)lawyers. These 'representatives' get us into wars (in our name), then expect the military to get them out of the mess they created. If parliament had a majority of ex service personnel we'd be a more peaceful nation and have more resources to spend upon the services and infrastructures we need and improve our quality of life. Well said Tim.

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  • 25. At 10:30pm on 15 Jun 2009, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Cossackgirl @ 21, well, *I* have some idea what Oliver Cromwell did after getting rid of the interminable and unconstructive parliament, but I don't feel confident that most other people do!

    Besides, invading either Scotland or Ireland would be a bit of a no-no, even if it were what the entire country seemed to be shouting for.

    Yours, someone who rather admires the Lord *Protector* than otherwise, and remembers [1] that he turned down the crown and [2] that he was a moderate, as oppposed (successfully opposed) to the various extremists around at the time.

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  • 26. At 10:58pm on 15 Jun 2009, Fakeorganism wrote:

    This is a very encouraging start of speaker week. It strikes me that the key word here is integrity.There is a huge integrity vacuum in Westminster which is being filled with a bunch of hypocritical never has-beens. There is indeed a huge gulf between the politicians and the public and the decrease in electoral turn out has shown this over and again. I agree that those in power should be drawn from the ranks of we mortals who have had to face the trials of life and cope with problems that equip us for life. I sometimes thinks that the House of Lords could perhaps have a section for ordinary citizens. I am not quite sure of the mechanism but perhaps people drawn from all walks of life in a similar way to jury service. It might add a touch of reality to the whole system.

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  • 27. At 11:13pm on 15 Jun 2009, Edwardevon wrote:

    What an inspirational manifesto by a true hero! Sadly, the MPs we have in the House of Commons today are, with a few notable exceptions, a bunch of self-seeking turkeys who have no intention of voting for Christmas.

    This was best illustrated when they voted on the recent motion calling for a General Election - it is fiscally beneficial for these MPs to hang on as long as they possibly can and so the choice, to them, was simple.

    ''Far too many politicians are people who have lived in a form of La La land; they were a sixer in the Brownies, then they scrambled their way up to be head of the school debating society, eventually emerging as the president of a College Student Union. They then make their way to Parliament to carry the bag of some senior politician, until they go off and get their own constituency''

    Any true Democrat, reading this incisive observation, ought to be so horrified - even ashamed - seeing how desperate the Iranian people are for Freedom - should take to the streets.

    Colonel Collins is exactly what we need as Speaker - sadly, the Speaker we will get will be the one who helps this disgraceful bunch of Brownies to continue to amass their fortunes.

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  • 28. At 11:48am on 16 Jun 2009, CharlesDexterWard wrote:

    I listened to and enjoyed the colonels speach, but unlike what seems to be the majority of your commenters i am not going make up my mind until i've heard them all !! May I suggest that others do the same before disiding that the good colonel is the best thing since sliced bread

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  • 29. At 12:20pm on 16 Jun 2009, darkdesign wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 30. At 1:29pm on 16 Jun 2009, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    CDW @ 28, I heard this and thought "Well, he won't win: people will listen to the others and remember them more clearly because they are more recent in their minds."

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  • 31. At 7:41pm on 16 Jun 2009, Cossackgirl wrote:

    25. Chris_Ghoti
    Erudite as ever!
    I was brought up on the charismatic image as portrayed by Richard Harris, what's not to like?
    Remind me, though, am I wrong in remembering that the man who turned down the crown for himself, ended up pleading on his malarial death-bed that his son, an altogether unambitious and pleasantly unassuming squire, should be appointed the Lord Protector. I always saw this as a most ironic "sic transit..", his trying to establish a hereditary Protectorate.
    Less than two years later the son gave up and went back to peaceful country living, the Stuarts were restored and the people danced in the street...
    Sic transit gloria mundi. Or have I got it wrong?

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  • 32. At 10:18pm on 16 Jun 2009, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Cossackgirl @ 25, as I understood it from the contemporary accounts it was as much a case of "Richard's not going to mess things up as badly as anyone else I can think of", coupled with a feeling that the English were likely to be prepared to accept an hereditary link where they would have argued about any other candidate Oliver Cromwell might put forward. His son Richard was nominated as his successor on both 31st August and 2nd September 1658, and Oliver died on 3rd September that year.

    The army slung Richard out in 1659, so he didn't exactly decide to retire; more failed to argue very hard about it, then went off to France in 1660 and lived under an alias.

    I have to admit that my eldest uncle was called "Oliver" after the Lord Protector, which shows you where my grandfather's sympathies lay! :-) I don't have any picture of Richard Harris in my mind.

    As for restoring the Stuarts, what a disaster *they* went on being! Honestly, Charlie the Two was all sorts of charming, but what a stinker really. And his brother was so much worse that even the English lost patience with him and searched desperately until they found someone with any sort of claim to the throne to whom they could offer it instead.

    I must re-read Cromwell's Letters and Speeches again some time; he wrote some wonderful stuff.

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  • 33. At 10:48pm on 16 Jun 2009, Cossackgirl wrote:

    32. Thanks for elucidating it, Chris, the details fit the vaguer picture I had of the son as heir episode.
    As for Richard Harris, I was referring to the most excellent film "Cromwell" in which he played the hero and Alec Guinness was a marvellous King Charles. Splendid battle scenes and quite intelligent in presenting the developing conflict. If you haven't seen it, it's out on DVD.
    As for the Restoration and its aftermath, in my own mind it is connected to the ineffable lines from 1066 AND ALL THAT:
    Williamanmary for some reason was known as The Orange in their own country of Holland, and were popular as King of England because the people naturally believed it was descended from Nell Glyn.

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  • 34. At 11:10pm on 16 Jun 2009, needsanewnickname wrote:

    In what ways was Charles II a stinker?

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  • 35. At 00:52am on 17 Jun 2009, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Frances O @ 34, he was probably no more of a stinker than most monarchs, really, but I happen to have noticed a few things that put me off him.

    I lack the space or time to go into his reign in any detail, but I think taking a large sum of money from the ruler of a foreign power to pay for his personal debts, on the understanding that he wouldn't interfere with his army in their concerns, and thus betraying the previous foreign power he had taken a large sum of money from on the understanding that he would support them against foreign power #2, was just ever so slightly less than impeccable behaviour. For instance. One doesn't have to look all that far for other examples of his being just a tad two-faced, or as we might politely say expedient, in his dealings.

    Ennobling his bastards was merely a peccadillo, obviously.

    I'm not quite sure why his being an RC was deemed forgivable but his brother being an RC was intolerable; maybe Charles lied about it more successfully. He did rather tend to say what was convenient rather than what was true, when it came to things like that.

    Me? Biased? I can't think what would make you think that!

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  • 36. At 09:53am on 17 Jun 2009, GWFHegel wrote:

    Tim Collins' idea of a 'representative house of Lords' is a very dangerous one; well suited to the aims of a militaristic backed coup.

    That is, it should be remembered that it was Labour and the Conservatives who cosied up to the city and released banking hell on us. It is the lower house that is truly rotten and has done all that is possible to get its cronies into the upper one.
    This with no other aim, to guarantee company law is a win win for the lobbyists who organised the bribes.

    How else could it have inflicted such damage on the probity of the banking system?

    Try to buy an hereditary peer with a title!
    I met a young Lady who worked in a bookshop, how could she of explained a new house? with a representative house of Lords, there
    would be no accountability, as the
    continual change would make opaque their real identities.
    Mr. Collins inspires those self-serving egotists, who would advocate treason.


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  • 37. At 12:47pm on 17 Jun 2009, GWFHegel wrote:

    Just to add to what I said previously,
    Mr. Collins' could of proposed the reform of the Commons; a Representative House of Commons, but he didn't. So you
    should ask yourself why.
    Can he honestly say he is not part of the fraud; to construct the illusion
    of proportional representation?

    Imagine a Representative House of Commons. The publics
    interests would have rights; from toilet cleaners, to sustainable agriculturalists to those in health care and manufacturing etc., could actually affect change!


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  • 38. At 1:03pm on 17 Jun 2009, Greg Webb wrote:

    I've never been a fan of the oft-repeated view that politicians must have 'real-world experience' - that the best are by definition former military officers and business owners. This is a very narrow constituency that doesn't represent the vast majority of the country, and I'd much rather see MPs who came from the communities they represented and could properly relate to them.

    Why should I prefer someone who got high-level jobs through family contacts and made a personal fortune this way to the young person who decided to dedicate themselves to serving the nation at a young age and give us the benefit of their youthful energy and drive?

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  • 39. At 7:42pm on 17 Jun 2009, talgog wrote:

    Dear Jim

    Could you please fix it for us to have Colonel Tim Collins as Prime Minister from next Monday?

    with thanks from talgog, aged 68 1/2



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  • 40. At 6:01pm on 18 Jun 2009, pskj2009 wrote:

    Great Rhetoric, but hardly any firm proposals

    1 We need better MPs Apple Pie. Yes but how?
    2 Overhauling the parliamentary system - No!
    3 Overhaul the democratic system - No!
    4 Reform the House of Lords? Yes, but how?

    Rhetoric, passion, but not enough clear ideas. What would I be voting for?

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  • 41. At 12:16pm on 19 Jun 2009, nunabove wrote:

    "...in terms of overhauling the parliamentary system, what we need are better people in parliament, as opposed to a better system for getting them there. I'm content with first past the post."
    That's stupid. If we don't reform the "system for getting them there", how does Colonel Tim Collins propose to get "better people in parliament"? Are these "better people" supposed to appear as if by magic?
    The First Past The Post voting system is directly responsible for the greedy and unrepresentative nature of many MPs. In order not to waste his or her vote on a candidate who has no chance of being elected, the voter is forced to vote for one of the official party candidates.
    MPs therefore owe their jobs to the party organisations rather than directly to the voters. And the voters are discouraged from voting for independent candidates who would offer some real competition.

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  • 42. At 11:17pm on 19 Jun 2009, Genuflectus wrote:

    Collins appears to be proposing
    (1) replace old parties with new
    (2) establish a gold standard for MPs to include a) no career politicians b) integrity c) sense of duty to nation rather than party d) courage (to resign)
    (3) Speaker should rigidly enforce standards
    (4) Lords should be representative and long serving

    My views on these are:
    (1) Establishing new parties is his most radical idea and while most unlikely to happen, is probably the best way to get reform as the current lot will be too concerned with maintaining the establishment ie keeping themselves unaccountable and on the gravy train.
    Is there a case for supporting the smaller parties such as LibDems or Greens, which may not be brand new but certainly are newer than the old Tory / Labour bed fellows? These minor parties dont seem to be given much credence by pundits in the media.
    (2) Having standards is a good idea, but they most be the right standards and they must be enforced so
    (3) having a Speaker who enforces the standards is a good thing but I dont think MPs should be allowed to police themselves.
    (4) I agree with this. The upper house should be populated with long sighted wisdom as a balance to the house of commons whose inhabitants should have limited tenure ( like the white house ). To move away from career politicians, people with life talent would need to commit to serve for just a while. I like fakeorganisms idea of having a place for ordinary citizens in the upper house. It definitely shouldn't be an automatic promotion for retiring MPs.

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  • 43. At 11:43am on 20 Jun 2009, zak607 wrote:

    Tim,

    Please stand for Parliament your ideas are exactly what this country needs and have already secured the votes of everyone in this household.

    we need normal people governing our country not a political elite who have proven they are untrustworthy and only enter politics for personal gain.

    We have 850 manufacturing jobs at risk at Daf Vans, and I have not heard one Politician metion it, but I have heard plenty of politicians talking about themselves !.

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  • 44. At 11:31am on 21 Jun 2009, Ambledavey wrote:

    As he finds no objection to first past the post, it means he has no objection to safe seats for life. To my mind that is a big factor in career politicians having more regard for their reputation with the party leadership than links with their electors. Safe seats are also a big factor in turning off people from voting because in far too many places the same party has held the seat for 50 years or more. So you know who the winner is as soon as the election's called. What we need is a system where every vote counts (but NOT one where you just vote for a party). So I can't vote for a man who supports safe seats.

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