lpc1998's Home

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

In reponse to We are talking at slightly cross-purposes here - [Bernard Clayson]
Email: Fri, 2 Jul 2004 22:45:37 -0700

A discussion like the NPS may have more than one purposes
Saturday, 3nd July 2004 22:30 Singapore

[lpc1998]:

“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]:

“Don't worry about it, I have unpredictable heaps of work, then quieter periods, if I do not reply within a week 'rattle my cage' again.”
Wow! This sounds very ferocious. *grin*

[Bernard Clayson]:

“Start the discussion now, if anyone looks in on the group they can see something happening.”
Okay, when I am already, I shall post my message there.


[lpc1998]:

“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]:

“We are talking at slightly cross-purposes here (not an unusual occurrance in poltical system discussions), it is one thing to have your system as an objective, it is quite another to have
a) the means of getting there, and
b) for the 'means' and the 'objective' to be easily understood by the non-political people.
Failing to achieve that will have it in the category of 'wish-list' instead of 'possible/feasible'.”
Fair comments from one particular point of view. What is ‘possible/feasible’ to a person is essentially a matter of personal judgement or definition. Nevertheless, a discussion like the NPS may have more than one purposes.


[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) .”

[lpc1998]:

“Yes, I would like to have more details before I comment on your idea here.”

[Bernard Clayson]:

  1. Enlist members of the public to serve on a committee to present proposals in a 'for' and 'against' format using:
    a. interested professional (or retired professional) people to act as specialist advisory panels to quantify elements of public proposals.
  2. present their findings to the public with;
    a. alternative solutions
    b. suggestions on what controls need to be set, and;
    c. set revision time limits on the proposed project
  3. open the discussion to public comments
    a. comments 'for' and 'against' should be submitted on a separate papers
  4. Documents to be presented as:
    a. proposal detail
    b. advantages and potential consequences
    c. reassessment period
    d. potential costs involved
  5. public to vote on final document/s.”
Are you proposing a committee of ‘lay’ people like the jury?


<snip>

[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."

[lpc1998]:

“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]:

“The trick is to get the others to 'dig the hole', then help it fall in on them.”
Hmm … ‘the others’ must be the enemies *grin*


[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.”

[lpc1998]:

“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.”

[Bernard Clayson]:

“You are overlooking the hierarchy the PM has to climb through to get to that position, he/she has to be elected by his/her peers of that level in order to achieve the next level, and as it would be impossible to serve on all levels (from community, parish, district, county, region, government AND be PM), the obligation to serve on more than three is automatically removed ........... but the qualifying status remains. Hence any attempt to favour ANY sector would automatically find disfavour with the other sectors, and the PM (and MP's) can only act on their constituents vote.”
Are “his/her peers” fellow MPs or party members whose endorsement for election or political career depends on or benefits from the political party controlled by the PM and his political success?

Have a nice day! Cheers!

Best Regards

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