Thursday, December 17, 2009

Be careful what you wish for

(NB, It's me, the P-G)

Following from Steve McIntyre's excellent smackdown of the "out-of-context" defence of the now infamous "hide the decline" climategate mail, we are delighted to bring you yet more "be careful what you wish for" scrumptiousness.

This time it is our favourite, ever competent and playing-at-the-top-of-her-game esteemed Minister of His, Her or Its Majesty's [ed - can we find a less obviously class loaded term for this? No? Oh - never mind] Governpeoplet, Harriet Harperson in a master[derogatory and loaded term for adult-in-waiting]ful perforpersonce at Prime Minister's Questions.

Compeopleting on Tory - on their face, largely sensible - proposals that our representatives ought to be resident for tax purposes - and studiously failing actually to answer the question put to his/her/it, s/he/it came up with the hilariously original idea of "no representation without taxation".

How we roared with laughter! Especially because we know exactly how that phrase is normally used. It's not original, and it's not normally associated with the Harperson's normal associates.

Harperson? Meet B'Stard.
Fascinating, not least because it shows what a radical feminist socialist type turns into when there's a sniff of money to be had...


Nigel Sedgwick said...

I'm amazed; more: flabbergasted. A smidgeon of agreement with Harriet Harman. I'm so pleased. Harriet, please, please, let's enact it immediately.

What, you may well ask, is the poor boy on about.

Well, it's my grand plan for democratisation of the House of Lords! It's a perfect fit.

One pound, one vote!

There should be one vote for each pound of tax paid, not for each citizen. This is to provide a House of Taxpayers (representing the economic footprint of the electorate) in balance to the House of Commons (representing the existential footprint of the electorate). The current Parliament Act(s) would have to be done away with, so that the new House of Taxpayers ranked equal with the House of Commons. I see votes being based on payment of Income Tax and National Insurance, averaged over say the last 5 years, as something that is both practically measurable and is usable in running an election in the modern computerised world. There would also need to be a sensible mechanism for transferring votes between spouses.

There is more on this here on the ASI blog (4th and two subsequent comments)

I (and surely Harriet too) recommend this reform to everyone as a good way forward. As well as giving us a democratic House of Lords, it is also a way forward worthy of evaluation by experience without subtracting from or disrupting that democracy that we already have.

Votes for taxpayers; that's what I say!

Best regards

bella gerens said...

Nigel -

It's also a good way to give working migrants the vote. As of course they deserve, don't they, living and working and paying tax in this country but currently denied representation and the franchise.

Nigel Sedgwick said...

@Bella: after they become naturalised citizens, by all means. And according to both their existential and economic footprints.

Best regards

Anonymous said...

If you want a sound-bite level response to the "out of context" crap :

"You can't take (software) code out of context"

Anonymous said...

If Bella was Canadian she would be able to vote.

Anonymous said...

As for working migrants, perhaps one vote in local elctions per pound of council tax paid would be fair.

@Nigel: would you extend a vote to migrants once they become permanent residents (i.e. indefinite leave to remain)?

Alan Douglas said...

And a corollary : NO votes for non tax-payers, such as all on benefits, dole, etc. Arrangements would have to be made for the retired, temporarily ill, pregnant, but the principle should be :

No representation without taxation.

I wrote this as a comment a few days bask. Don't tell me Harperchild reads my blog answers. Will I ever live that down ?

Alan Douglas

The Pedant-General said...


I think you need to follow the link old chap [ed: errr.... replace with suitably non-patronising, gender-neutral term of respect for interlocutor].



Thanks for the link - all v interesting. For my part, I'm just a touch nervous about an elected upper chamber.

That, in fact, is rather the point of the Tom Paine post to which Jackart links. The problem is not democratic legitimacy: it is one of democracy subverting either into a tyranny of the majority or a basket case as politicians pander to the LCD/voters discover they can vote themselves "the key to the treasury" to paraphrase Mencken. Or both at the same time.

Elected Lords will not solve that. An understanding that democracy is the only means, individual liberty being the ends, is what is needed.



Generalfeldmarschall said...

Get it right, old chap.

Harridan Harpyperson.

Pat said...

The practical benefit of democracy is that it is one means of extracting the wisdom from crowds.
It works provided the voters are:-
1/ diverse (no problems there at all)
2/ independent- the secret ballot solve much of that, but independent information sources would much promote this- thus public service broadcasting should cease to be a monopoly, and places of learning should be independent of the state and each other. I question whether anyone should be allowed to vote who is still in education, as they are far too strongly influenced by their teachers. In the meantime- thank God for the Blogoshere.
3 They should all have an interest in getting the answer right. So eligibility for suffrage should be based on some assessment of peoples intentions for their own future- in essence it should be limited to those with a commitment to living out their lives here, and bringing up their children here.
re. Jackart I think that most civil servants would pass this test.

theoldman66 said...

In the light of Climategate shouldn't we now stop making any reference to Climate Science, and instead refer to Climate "Science"?

Gareth said...

So called manmade climate change.

Jeff Wood said...

Old Man, the more we learn the more I incline to "Climate Scientology".

Anonymous said...

Climate science ?
I would have loved to have taken the podium in Copenhagen.
Cleared my throat ,hmm hmmm.
Then shouted at the top of my voice...
Climate science,

Roger Thornhill said...

For some years I have been in favour of dealing with this particular moral hazard of the Tyranny of the Majority.

Those earning the majority of their income from tax funded sources should not get the vote, for to do so is tantamount to "vote buying", i.e. corruption. They vote for more pay/protected pay. That, friends, is fundamentally WRONG. The rot started in 1911. It took the Parliament Act to force it through.

The exception should be pensions and even then that issue should go away as pensions are reformed away from the current Ponzi Scheme.

What of teachers, doctors and nurses? Well, in a Libertarian administration they would not be State employees anymore. Simples.

NHS Fail Wail

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