Pros and Cons of British Politics

London Newspaper Group — KNP 17-11-1978

The pros and cons of British politics... a diary item.

By Christopher Long

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Ever eager to pass on revolutionary gems to its readers, the Diary was naturally interested to learn more of Mr Farel Bradbury's proposals for electoral reform in his new book How to Fancy Politicians.

The title itself might lead one to suppose that Mr Bradbury had set himself a Herculean task, but it seems he is more interested in the 'competitive' meaning of fancying (viz. pigeons) than the purely amicable.

Mr Bradbury proposes, amazingly, that we should vote 'for policies as well as for politicians'.

This he calls V2P and it involves 'measuring the will of the people whilst keeping our familiar first-past-the-post voting system".

Amazingly, too, the concept (although it is not abundantly clear from the pre-launch blurb what the concept actually is) has 'only recently been made technically possible, is amazingly simple and would cost each of us only tuppence a year'.

And 'It has taken more than three years of discussion... and research to ensure that, in dealing with the problems of unrepresentative minority government and unstable legislation, these new proposals are effective, acceptable and workable'.

Sadly, just when the Diary thought it was coming to the nub of (or even a clue to) Mr Bradbury's revolutionary concept, his editor's blurb took on the tone of a soporific drug and revealed little more than the publication date: November 13, 1978 (Hydatum).

But happily a spokesman clarified all.

Mrs Sharon Marsh from Southampton said "He is a very clever man and I have known and worked with him for some time. No, I don't know what he does exactly... engineering?"

But more revealingly she added: "I suppose you could describe him as a sort of mad professor."

And that elusive concept?

"Well, in a nutshell I suppose his idea is rather like a football pools form. The candidate enters all his policies on the forms, and electors are then able to tick off the policies they agree with so that the MP knows what his constituents want and he can vote accordingly."

But would he, once elected, the Diary asked naively.

"Yes, I see," said Mrs Marsh.

Still, if it doesn't, as a concept, solve the basic problem of the unfancyable candidates who put themselves up for election – in an amicable sense, that is – then at least we could start fancying them in a competitive sense – like pigeons, for example.

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© (1978) Christopher Long. Copyright, Syndication & All Rights Reserved Worldwide.
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