Dentistry and Psephology — Rotting gums and the UK’s electoral system

With a raging toothache caused by a piece of dental equipment being left in my gum after a root canal had been done. We trust professionals and, in the UK, the trust is reinforced with the necessary checks and balances on professionals when things do go awry.

Our Parliamentary system is akin to the state of my teeth — fixed and mended time and again, serving a purpose and allowing us to eat; but there are flaws and hidden elements coming back to bite — bad. But, unlike my teeth, the infection is not being treated so real action can be taken to have us go forward with certainty.

My teeth? Easy answer: extraction and build anew so can function into the next phase of life since there is a complicating factor with the proximity of the major nerve allowing feeling in the lip. Imagine no feeling in your bottom lip for the rest of your days. A sort of permanent anaesthetized lip. No feeling, no knowledge of what is about to befall your tongue. In Parliamentary terms? We are fed what other people think we need to know. We require more feeling, more power to the Fifth Estate and social media to have true sense what is going on. Definitely do not anaesthetize openness.

Choice is straightforward now: remove and rebuild properly.

Ask this type of questions of our Parliamentary system. What is happening with all the pieces going on inside the parties before any Parliamentary debate? How much rot have we gotten we cannot see? What pieces of debris are going to surface with a little more inspection? Who is going to clear up the false promises of BREXIT, decentralisation without commensurate resources? The mess that is our Upper House with places sold on patronage (rewarding the party faithful and not the electorate directly)?

Perhaps a strange analogy at first until thinking on the contention: Our parliamentary system is no longer fit for purpose now let alone into the future. Yes, served us well; as my teeth have done (although I wished brushed far more and undertaken the necessary oversight to ensure things did not get to the stage where action seemed so final). Technology has moved on and, despite some microphones and cameras so we can watch our MPs maintain their presence or lack of presence in the House, little done to look at how we can chew better and aid the digestion of decision-making.

Now evident trust slightly misplaced — Accidents happen but what of reactions and need for openness about limits and liabilities — Are we talking the dentist or the Parliament? We have changed some of our Parliamentarians, same as I changed dentist. But have we changed the system so our chosen Parliamentarians, our governance structures, have a better say on the wide variety of issues we face as individuals, families, communities, groups of shared interests, nations and the state of the United Kingdom? Do we, the electorate, feel we have a system representing, managing and leading us into the future? A future none of us know but we all must strategize and plan for?

Time for change is here. My tooth will be pulled out, a bridge built using new technology and building on the quality dentistry work done by other fantastic dentists (within the National Health Service in the main I add to reinforce what is great about us). I will be ready for chewing the fat with people.

What of UK Governance in terms of Parliament, other elements in our structure? Voting is only one element in democracy; let us not leave aside accountability, openness to be held accountable and show the responsibility we, the people, invest in our political process to be led and managed exceptionally well. Do not confuse management and leadership since we have seen clear signs of incompetent managers and inept leaders these last few weeks for sure.

Extraction and rebuilding required; emphasize the solid, cut out the rot and inept and build something we all, all, can have confidence in.

Positive suggestions to come as we start on @GoGov and #changethesystem.