lpc1998's Home

Original Posting: New Political System for the Information Age Draft #05

In reponse to Bullet-proof pants needed - [Bernard Clayson]
Email: Sun, 27 Jun 2004 22:23:59 -0700

Proposed Baptism of Fire for the NPS
Friday, 2nd July 2004 16:30 Singapore

<snip>

[Bernard Clayson]:

“Did not succeed, but I have leaned a lot in the process, not least of which is the 'people', getting any sort of cohesion going is truly like 'herding cats'.”

[lpc1998]:

“Yes, you are right. The ‘people’ is the weakest link in the NPS too. That is why in the NPS, voter education is considered to be of paramount importance. This is a huge area for thought and discussion and I hope that there would be opportunity some (time) in the future to discuss this with you.”

[Bernard Clayson]:

“Start when you like, and as you may have noticed, I have joined your group, do you wish to discuss it through that group? ”
Thank you for joining NPSForum. It is a good idea to discuss this matter in the forum so that we may have inputs from other people as well. However, at the moment owing to work commitments, I am most likely unable to respond to your posts on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, particularly on Tuesday. So should we wait for more active members before we start our discussions there?


[Bernard Clayson]:

“Before I forget, Jiri Polak publishes a hard-copy of WDD Newsletter, I offered to publish it on one of my sites, to which he agreed, his articles are the leader to all his newsletters, followed by extracts from around the world (how he does it amazes me).”

[lpc1998]:

“From the little I have read of his articles, he appears to be not only an original thinker, but also a master of words and has the courage to tell the truth as he knows it. I shall one day invite him to comment on the NPS too.”

[Bernard Clayson]:

“If you want a 'bit' of publicity just let me know, I'll post your site on several of the political groups, you'll need bullet-proof pants though<grin>, it goes with the political territory.”
I guess that it is a matter of time when the NPS site has to be publicized. Okay then, go ahead and post it and let the NPS has to go through the Baptism of Fire with you as its godfather. *grin*


[Bernard Clayson]:

“1)I would suggest you reduce the size of the flow-chart, it's difficult to get the over-all picture whilst shifting the screen to see the composite pieces.”

[lpc1998]:

“Thank you for your suggestion. This problem arises from the conversion from the doc.file to html. And the editing of the html to correct it would take an enormous amount of time, and I have yet to figure out a better way of correcting the problem. In the meantime, if you close all the side windows on the screen such as ‘Favourite’, the flow-chart can be seen in one screen without having to scroll left or right.”

[Bernard Clayson]:

“I use a graph package to create a gif file, create a table and import the gif file in the table.
That way you can size it to suit all screen sizes (which is the problem with not seeing all in one go) .”
I have not used a graph packet yet. I guess I have to upgrade my technology. *grin* Which graph package do you use?


[Bernard Clayson]:

“2) Caution with using the internet for voting etc. I thought that ...... until I looked in to the subject, it's so full of holes that it does not hold water. Like a lot of things, it would be OK 'when' everything else is in place, but not until then.”

[lpc1998]:

“You are right again. For this reason, the NPS has retained voting at the polling station with a signed hard copy for the ballot box. See the voting procedures for the citizens’ initiative as an example.”

[Bernard Clayson]:

“I noticed you have -

'Not later than the 13th day following the citizens’ initiative announcement, the Election Commission shall finalize a list of issues which have obtained endorsements of not less than 25% of the qualified voters.'

Two points -

  1. Election Commission is civil servants, what would happen if an aspect of an issue was against their best interest i.e. cut the bueaucrats numbers, or reduce their pensions to come in line with everyone in the private sector. How would you know the numbers had not been manipulated.

    I have taken a different line on this, democracy is government of the people, by the people, so the public have a committee that investigate public comments to present them as a 'for' and 'against' so the people can then judge on all opions. (more detail if you want it)

  2. 'not less than 25% of endorsements', don't overlook the fact that the 1% may have understood the potential consequences in x years time.”
First, let me explain why ‘not less than 25% of endorsements’. Opponents to citizens’ initiatives and referendums seldom fail to point out the high costs of citizens’ initiatives and referendums, not only in economic and personal terms, but also in voters’ fatigue, confusion and disillusionments. So voters should not be made to go to the polling stations, unless the issues are substantial or where many people are passionate about. Such issues like the war in Iraq would be able to pass this test.

Moreover, since citizens’ initiatives or referendums require not less than 50% of the valid votes cast to be adopted, a 25% requirement for endorsement is not manifestly unreasonable.

In this respect, this provision is intended to be an improvement of the Swiss system which already sees hundreds of citizens' initiatives and referendums a year. So a much bigger country would have problem multiplied many times.

As regard your fear of vested interests and corruption in the Election Commission, such fears are generally valid in the existing political systems. The NPS has been specifically designed to deal with these problems, not only in the Election Commission, but also in the entire Administration and the Civil Service by making them exceedingly transparent:

The Senate has following powers under Clause 19:

“The Senate shall have the powers to appoint the appropriate investigating committee to look into allegations or suspicions of wrongdoing or malpractice by any person holding a public office including the President with the exception of the Councillors. The proceedings of such a investigating committee shall be telecasted live over national television and the Internet except those parts of the proceedings that involve the issues of national security and state secrets unless authorised otherwise by the Senate.”
The Council of Veterans has similar powers under Clause 13:
“The Council of Veterans shall have the powers to appoint the appropriate investigating committee to look into allegations or suspicions of wrongdoing or malpractice by any person holding a public office including the President with the exception of the Senators. The proceedings of such a investigating committee shall be telecasted live over national television and the Internet except for those parts of the proceedings that involve the issues of national security and state secrets unless authorised otherwise by the Council of Veterans.”
Journalist and reporters from the National Media Commission would be very hungry for such stories and therefore would be on a lookout for them.

The citizens themselves would be far more politically aware, concerned and active than those in the existing political systems as the result of voter education conducted by the Election Commission.

So it is extremely difficult and highly risky for a public official to be corrupt, incompetent or abusive in the exercise of office powers, unless he is exceptionally creative or lucky. Unlike the existing political systems, in the NPS the political and social cultures are very hostile to such a public official. Too many pairs of eyes are watching him.

Furthermore, the remunerations and benefits of a public official (other than members of the Talent Development Institute, Senators and Councillors) including the President are professionally assessed and recommended by the Talent Development Institute, approved by the Council of Veterans and confirmed by the Senate. So these remunerations and benefits would reflect fair market values for the necessary talents, and not subject to political manoeuvring, expediency or corruption.

And Clause 1 of citizens’ initiatives requires a prior demonstration of support of not less than 5% of the qualified voters:

“All qualified voters shall be entitled to propose any issue for a citizens’ initiative provided that the issue is shown to the satisfaction of the Election Commission that it has the support of not less than 5% of the qualified voters.”
So it is implied here that those issues that are not put up by the Election Commission for indication of voters’ support have to find other means of demonstration of voters’ support. This could be done through personal or other websites run commercially or by non-profit organizations or special interests groups. The Election Commission has no monopoly here.

Issues which are shown to be of strong voters’ support or interests in these websites are expected to be reflected to have similar voters’ support or interests in the Election Commission’s websites. Any glaring discrepancies would trigger off public disquiet and cause the Senate or the Council of Veterans to institute a public enquiry into such a discrepancy with or without petition by interested citizens. So your fear of figure manipulation or massaging by the Election Commission has already been adequately addressed.

[Bernard Clayson]:

“I have taken a different line on this, democracy is government of the people, by the people, so the public have a committee that investigate public comments to present them as a 'for' and 'against' so the people can then judge on all opions. (more detail if you want it).”
Yes, I would like to have more details before I comment on your idea here.


<snip>

[Bernard Clayson]:

“..... Politicians are the least of the problem, in reality they are only there for the people to throw abuse at i.e. take the blame.”

[lpc1998]:

“Here I must disagree with you. Hmm … this is a view of the politicians. Politicians who aspire to be national, state or community leaders must provide leadership to both the people and the civil service, the later the more so as it is not only under their control, but also their responsibility.”

[Bernard Clayson]:

“I thought you would say that, which is why I mentioned it<grin>
I am not saying it is all the civil servants fault, often it is the lack of man-management skills of the politicians.
Try looking at it this way - the civil servants are the middle management and workers of a factory i.e. the professionals, every four years the company directors are changed i.e. another load of amateurs, first they have pecking order established (who is really the boss), then they have the options of the shop floor -
  1. Advise them on the potential problems and costs etc. if that fails -

  2. Do exactly what they are told (and make sure everyone knows who told them to do it)

  3. Do it badly, bad quality products i.e. make sure the most vunerable of society is hit first.

Civil servants know who is running the country, and they know how to manipulate the system because the system is them.  ”

What you say here are the problems of the existing political systems. They are among the very reasons why the world and we, in the first place, need the NPS which will make the system exceedingly transparent so that civil servants would not have the privilege for such manipulation with impunity. Any suggestion to improve the NPS in this area would be very valuable.

Moreover, the Council of Veterans would have many former senior and experienced civil servants who know the workings of the civil service inside out. These people would be excellent resource to deal with these problems.


<snip>

[Bernard Clayson]:

“4).... Politics is about perceptions, be careful of getting to locked in to your perception without judging it from others perspective.”

[lpc1998]:

“Fully agree with you. That is why the NPS discussion here is presented as a 'Draft' for consideration, amendments or additions by the readers or participants. The final version at the end of the NPS journey could be very different from its first version.”

[Bernard Clayson]:

“Right attitude, I like it.”
Thank you.


[Bernard Clayson]:

“5) I try to keep to a simple maxim KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid), never achieve it but do try, it always runs in to conflict with not explaining enough, and verbose which switches people concentration off.”

[lpc1998]:

“A simple maxim may be useful generally, but there are times when the situations require responses that are appropriate to the circumstances.”

[Bernard Clayson]:

“Three others to keep in mind:
  1. Don't re-invent the wheel just because you have a puncture (use what works and adjust those that don't)
  2. 7 P's (Piss Poor Planning Produces Piss Poor Performance)
  3. When you are in a hole - STOP digging."
The first 2 are good reminders and the 3rd is wisdom. The continued digging of the hole would most probably result in the digger being buried deep inside it. This is useful, if this is what the digger really wants. *grin*

[Bernard Clayson]:

“So far, you are doing OK.”
Thank you.


[Bernard Clayson]:

“Good luck, and contact me if I can help in any way.”

<snip>

[lpc1998]:

“There is one thing I would like to ask you. NPS-UK as proposed by you is constituency-based: Members of Parliament, local officials, councilors, etc represent the constituencies that elect them. In the circumstances, aren’t they accountable first to their constituents and for their interests above everything and everyone else? Isn’t this parochial and the encouragement of parochialism? ”

[Bernard Clayson]:

“They can only vote on the power of the constituencies opinion (unless they have delegated powers) even then those decisions are logged for the public to judge by, on top of that, every representative (right up to the Prime Minister) can be repremanded/withdrawn by the community that proposed him/her. Move locality and they have to start again (reminder of their origins).
Every individual in the system has a deputy i.e. continuous government.”
Isn’t this precisely the problem? To remain in office or to be re-elected, the Prime Minister must serve his constituents ‘well’ with special benefits and privileges at the expense of the rest of the citizens. This is one crucial reason why Prime Ministers are often elected with large electoral majority.

A Prime Minister’s constituent is in the position to tell the civil servant handling his case that he wants satisfaction from the civil servant failing which he would see the Prime Minister on Monday (or whatever day it is) morning/evening at the meet-the–people-session. This would be scandalous in the NPS.

Best Regards

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