The road to revolution, from PR to staggered elections | Letters

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The Guardian

John Harris’s article on our broken political system focuses on the role that proportional representation and devolution might take in addressing deep-rooted and longstanding problems (The lesson from Johnson’s tenure – British politics needs dragging into the 21st century, 10 July). But I would add that we also need another dimension to be considered – that of continuity of government.

Elections for all seats in parliament at one time can lead to sharp swings from left to right – which undermines business confidence and creates divisions among the public. Alongside PR, we might therefore reasonably ask that elections for parliamentary seats be staggered.

This will also help address the other big challenge, not raised by Harris, that most of our biggest problems are buried in a multi-electoral cycle where incumbents have little interest to work towards long-term solutions.

PR, devolution and staggered electoral cycles might actually force our representatives to work together, on a rolling basis, to get on and solve these enormous problems through compromise and debate.
Bill Kingdom
Oxford

There was excellent analysis in the articles by John Harris and Rafael Behr (The Uber files tell a simple truth: democracy depends on curbing mercenary tech giants, 11 July), but no mention of another economic model that has been influential in Germany – Catholic social teaching.

This includes the principles of human dignity (the right to earn and support your family through fulfilling work), subsidiarity (devolution of power to the lowest practical level) and that all production should be for the common good, supported by charity and distributism, all underpinned by social justice. Given his Catholic background, this may just be influencing Andy Burnham’s thinking.

We will not start to make progress to a less consumptive, more equal and more sustainable country until we fully realise that the empire has gone and – thanks to Brexit, Boris Johnson’s legacy – we are alone in the world.
Brian Keegan
Peterborough

One central element missing from John Harris’s vision of a new politics taking shape is an excessive wealth tax. We need it for three reasons: to fund decent public services and a green new deal; to start to reduce inequality; and to work the Tory press into such a lather that they inadvertently hand the next election to the Tories’ progressive opponents.
Martin Yarnit
Sheffield

Excellent ideas are being proposed in your pages to radically change our so-called democratic political system to make it fit for purpose (Letters, 10 July). May I elaborate on what already has been suggested?

The House of Lords should be abolished and become a new elected national House of Commons. The current Commons should be split and dispersed into regional assemblies. All members should be elected by proportional representation. Instead of general elections every four to five years, one fifth of the members of parliament – regional and national – should be elected every year such that they turn over completely every five years.

All members of parliament should be required to devote their entire time to their job, be paid well and have no other job or remuneration.

If they lie in the execution of their political positions and this is proved, they should be expelled. The monarchy should be abolished, as should peerages, knighthoods and the entire honours system. Donations to political parties (overt bribery) should be made illegal.
Christopher Redman
Oxford

July 13, 2022 at 11:07PM Letters

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