Timmy elsewhere

At the ASI.

A new rallying cry.

No taxation for representation.

23 thoughts on “Timmy elsewhere”

  1. I think the basic problem here is that our system has reached a stage of advanced- one might say endemic- corruption, characterised by the fact that things which are antithetical to the public good become integrated and then seen as obligatory.

    To use an example from the world of high-theft finance, take QE. When first introduced it was considered a desperate last resort to be used only in extremis. Within a few short years it has become normalised, and the leading taxpayer piracy organisations are now clearly seeing it as something to be normalised and essential to the system. Hence, every time somebody mentions stopping it, the privateers in the pretend market for government theft (the “bond markets” as we call them) start firing cannon shot across Bernanke’s bows.

    Likewise, parties are anti-democractic institutions, cartels which destroy any hope of a representative democracy actually being in any meaningful sense representative. Now this is, it must be said, why “representative” forms of democracy are an extremely, intensely bad idea. They are intrinsically corruptible.

    But it is not so long ago that parties were not even named on the ballot paper, because they were seen as not what you are voting for and thus a slight embarrassment. Everyone knew that their purpose was to corrupt the system, but at least that wasn’t applauded; a little like the days when those trading in share metamarkets, while not illegal, were required to hang around in alleys in the City, among the footpads and whores, doing their business furtively with other disreputable types. Then, they got themselves a posh building in the classical style, became “intistutionalised”, then became seen as “necessary”, and here we are, with a gang of thieves running finance. Likewise, we now have a gang of thieves running politics. It is quite obvious that such disreputable mobsters would demand the insitutionalisation of their funding as well.

    We probably should have given the faux-classical institution to the whores, and left the financiers and politicians hanging around in the alleyways, their furtive business despised by all decent folk. At least the whores do something useful.

  2. Ian B,

    It’s also about having an electoral system where it’s very hard for new entrants to get anywhere, as the threat is always “if you vote UKIP, Labour will get in”. FPTP is a crude system for expressing preferences, and as a result, when the parties select mediocrities and bad policies, the normal effect in a market, of a new player appearing doesn’t happen, or else it takes a very long time to take effect.

    The only mainland seats that have gone to new parties in recent years are that bloke in Kidderminster who didn’t want the hospital closing, and Caroline Lucas who only won because the 3 main parties are so split that she could get a seat with less than 1/3rd of the constituents voting for her.

  3. Tim Amlond-

    Agreed, although I find it hard to think of another electoral system that would not have some similar flaw. Parties will tend to invade and subvert any political form.

    This is why I’m in favour of an element of sortition; in particular, that the Lords should be replaced by a house appointed by lottery, with half appointed at random each year from the general population. It should not initiate legislation, but should have an absolute veto power to kill legislation stone dead. It should probably also have a power of repeal independent of the Commons, or be able to “recommend” repeal to the Commons of some particular law.

    Whatever, a lottery Lords would help reduce the party influence, without being croneyised as the current one is. The argument against normally goes that the people appointed would be mostly stupid, lazy, crazy or venal. My reply is that they couldn’t be as bad as the Commons in that regard. You only have to look at our current PM and possible next one to see how poor the quality of person the current system elevates is.

  4. I presume lottery lords proponents are big fans of juries. Moving in circles of intellectual persons, or at least persons with a good degree of common sense it is easy to lose sight of the fact that the average person really couldn’t give a fuck and just wants to get off work early. There will be even less enlightened stroking of beards in the lottery lords than there is in jury rooms.

  5. “A political party is simply a private association of individuals banding together for mutual benefit”

    It’s more sinister than that. It’s not for mutual benefit, it’s against the interests of everyone else.

    A political party is a conspiracy to deprive you of control over matters that are rightly your concern.

    (I once woke up with that thought in my mind, and immediately went to look it up: it has to be a quote from someone. Didn’t find it. If someone could identify it for me I’d be grateful. I can’t believe I originated it.)

    Anyway, I’d like to see a workable (and tolerable) political system where parties are outright banned.

  6. Arthur T,
    “All professions are conspiracies against the laity”
    By George Bernard Shaw. It certainly applies to our present class of professional politicians.

  7. “the average person really couldn’t give a fuck and just wants to get off work early. ”

    You’re not exactly a populist, are you JamesV?

    The problem with this whole philosopher king ideology is that every time anyone tries it, it turns out that the superior class are just as selfish and venal as the plebs. And yet, people still believe in it. It seems to be largely “I want to be ruled by cunts like me, not cunts like them over there”.

  8. Arthur-

    “Anyway, I’d like to see a workable (and tolerable) political system where parties are outright banned.”

    Political cartels are bound to form where there is politics. The only way around it is by some way of preventing those cartels limiting entry to the system to their members; hence, my suggestion of lottery.

  9. Oh, and btw an essential element of the Lottery Lords is that it should secret ballot. The people there, not being representatives, should not be subject to ideological bullying.

  10. Also, while I’m thread-clogging, I thought another thing might be interesting.

    Make people pay to vote; just a nominal sum, say £10. That would discourage lots of people who don’t give much of a fuck who wins.

    Additional thought; if you vote for a losing candidate, you get your money back. Or, maybe double your money (£20). That’d shake things up a bit.

  11. Make people pay to vote; just a nominal sum, say £10. That would discourage lots of people who don’t give much of a fuck who wins.

    So the poor can either vote or eat that week.

  12. £10 isn’t much. Not once every five years.

    Anyway, it’s more of a thought experiment. How many would bother voting if it cost them even a triivial sum?

  13. The only mainland seats that have gone to new parties in recent years are that bloke in Kidderminster who didn’t want the hospital closing, and Caroline Lucas who only won because the 3 main parties are so split that she could get a seat with less than 1/3rd of the constituents voting for her.

    In 2010 not one candidate won more than 46% of his electorate’s support. Most of the electorate is either against the candidate / government or “none of the above”.

    It’s a funny old world.

  14. I presume lottery lords proponents are big fans of juries. Moving in circles of intellectual persons, or at least persons with a good degree of common sense it is easy to lose sight of the fact that the average person really couldn’t give a fuck and just wants to get off work early. There will be even less enlightened stroking of beards in the lottery lords than there is in jury rooms.

    Perhaps we could have a system whereby they are free to fuck off early but if they do the law won’t make it to the statute book.

  15. Ian, I don’t understand why we’d want even more people to be discouraged from voting.

    The politicians. It only encourages them. A universal franchise is the worst. Encouragement. Evar.

    Also, this-

    I presume lottery lords proponents are big fans of juries.

    Just to clarify, yes, I am an enormous fan of juries. They are one of the greatest inventions of the Western World, which is why the authoritarian tendency are always trying to find reasons to reduce their usage.

    The reason is the same as for the Lottery Lords; a jury may be biased, but there is no way for the State to influence its bias in their direction. Which is, indeed, why we have juries.

  16. Or how about only net taxpayers get to vote? If only to see Ritchie spitting into his tea over that one!

  17. It should not initiate legislation, but should have an absolute veto power to kill legislation stone dead. It should probably also have a power of repeal independent of the Commons, or be able to “recommend” repeal to the Commons of some particular law.

    I’ve often thought this would be a good role for the United Nations (or European Union, or other kinds of supra-national bodies). A deliberative assembly that can muse on laws and whether they ought to be kept, but can’t pass laws of its own.

  18. Or perhaps every electorate could return two members, one by the current system and one by sortition. The voted-for member has a vote in the commons, the randomly selected one has a seat behind him, a large stick of some sort, and immunity from prosecution. It’d double the wage bill of the Commons but I can live with that.

  19. I’m really not bothered with the wage bill for sortition candidates. I’d want them to be handsomely remunerated, to ensure that poor people, minorities, disabled people etc could safely take up the post. Since there would be no way to weasel one’s way into the job, the high wage would not be corrupting.

  20. Additionally, it might be that people who shine in the Lottery Lords would be in a position to stand as Commons candidates, perhaps even without party support at all. Might lead to a few more independents on the green benches.

  21. Ian B,

    In general, the flaw (if you consider it so) with other systems is that you always get coalitions. Although I think the way that tactical voting is taking place now, with LD and Lab seats, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if we are going to now have coalitions regularly.

    And I’m very much in favour of lottery lords.

  22. Talking of juries, I’d like to see a system where, instead of “We’ve got more bums on benches than you so we can do what we like” new laws are argued before a jury who can vote “Beneficial” or “Not Beneficial”.

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