With the British Elections approaching politicians promise to clean up politics. But why is it necessary to clean up politics? And what does it mean to clean up politics.
Some politicians say it is all about the MPs Expenses Scandal - make them repay the expenses and change the expenses rules. But politicians were in very low public esteem long before the Expenses Scandals. The Expenses Scandal was even welcomed by some politicians because it was relatively minor and easy to deal with issue and was a distraction from such big and unpleasant issues like the lawless wars and the blatant deception of the public and abuses of power at the highest level associated with these wars.
No, it is not just the expenses, and not even just the wars. It is the general level of competence and honesty in government and replacement of governance with spin, blatant demagogy, and posing and posturing. This is what needs to be removed from government to make it work.
And are not promises to "clean up politics" without specifically stating what this means, and without proposing specific measures to achieve this objective just another pre-electoral political stance.
But what should be done to clean government from the dirt and sleaze of politics?
Enacting the following three Acts of Parliament would be the first practical step in this direction:
1. The Honesty in Government Act will stipulate that making of false and/or logically invalid statements by persons holding a public office is a crime punishable by a minimum of 5 years imprisonment and disqualification from holding a public office for life.
Reason: This is the only way to ensure honesty in government.
2. The Formalisation of Government Communications Act will stipulate that all government communications be in writing and comply with a statutory format. One of the main requirements of this format will be the formal statement of reasons for any government action.
Reason: Formalisation of government communications is necessary to help government officials to make competent decisions and to provide efficient means for public scrutiny and validation of these decisions. It will also make it easier to find errors and will help to prevent abuses of government powers.
3. The Prohibition of Government Borrowing Act will prohibit borrowing by government.
Reason: All government spending ultimately comes from taxes. And, government borrowing is just deferred taxation. And, as government can be changed before a loan is repaid, it can avoid their own responsibility for paying the loan, and make others liable for it.
Thus, a government can bribe a section of the electorate with borrowed money to make themselves "popular", and leave the "unpopular" task of raising taxes to repay the loan to its opponents.
Also government borrowing can be used to cover up the costs of unpopular policies, as it was done to finance the unpopular recent wars. While raising taxes makes the costs of government policies more difficult to hide, and thus makes the government more accountable, and more honest.
The main issues of the current British elections is dishonesty and incompetence in government. And providing solutions to these problems by enacting laws which will make government more honest and competent will help those who enact these laws towards a landslide victory.