Are we over Governed?

I was listening to the radio the other day and a caller had called in to complain that they felt that in the UK we are over governed. That got me thinking about that issue and if in fact our system of democracy does result in our being ‘over governed ‘as the caller felt. Looking at my own situation, I am currently represented like this:

Dundee City Council West End Ward

Cllr Bill Campbell SNP
Cllr Vari McDonald SNP
Cllr Richard McCready Labour
Cllr Fraser Macpherson Liberal Democrat

Represent me in all area of local services such as planning, transport, roads, education, social services and libraries.

Scottish Parliament

Joe Fitzpatrick MSP SNP
Jenny Marra MSP Labour North East List
Christian Allard MSP SNP North East List
Richard Baker MSP Labour North East List
Alex Johnstone MSP Conservative North East List
Lewis McDonald MSP Labour North East List
Alison McInnes MSP Liberal Democrat North East List
Nanette Milne MSP Conservative North East List

Represent me in the Scottish Parliament and have responsibility for a wide range of devolved matters. Areas include education, health, prisons, agriculture, justice and some tax raising powers.

UK Westminster Government

Chris Law MP SNP

Represents me in the House of Commons and scrutinises UK law and all aspects of UK Government.

European Parliament (Scotland)

Alyn Smith MEP SNP
Ian Hudghton MEP SNP
David Coburn MEP UKIP
Ian Duncan MEP Conservative
Catherine Stihler MEP Labour
David Martin MEP Labour

Basically the six MEPs represent me in the European Parliament and scrutinise proposed laws and the budget while sitting on various other decision-making bodies.

House of Lords

I can write to basically any of them.

Bloody hell, am I represented or what. Now trying to sort through that I would say that my main representatives are:

Cllr Fraser Macpherson Liberal Democrat Dundee City Council
Joe Fitzpatrick MSP SNP Scottish Parliament
Alison McInnes MSP Liberal Democrat North East List Scottish Parliament
Chris Law MP SNP UK Westminster Government
Ian Hudghton MEP SNP EU Parliament

Now I am really not sure what to make of all of this but on the face of it would look like the caller was correct in the sense that I may be over represented rather than over governed but there is probably an argument for that also. The other question is how would or could you change that and would it make a difference really at the end of the day.

I think that if you made Councillors full-time we could be represented by two rather than four. Do we need to be sending MPs to Westminster anymore when we have the Scottish Government, take away the independence argument for the moment, would it not be possible for one or two of the list MSPs to represent me at Westminster when appropriate in a federal system. MEPs, do we need six for Scotland, couldn’t we have an ambassador like system in a slimmed down EU? The House of Lords needs to go full stop. Either way when you look it we are over represented and in maintaining, rightfully, our democracy we have created a monster.

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10 comments

  1. bjsalba

    You are still thinking in terms of FPTP voting style and responsibilities. Proportional representation doesn’t work that way. It involves sharing,

  2. helen maclean

    Legislators
    USA both houses in total 525
    Russia 1600
    China 3000
    UK both houses 1700

    I think we might have a few too many relative to our population but then we british taxpayers are SO generous!

    Nellie

    • grumpyscottishman

      helen

      Wow I never knew we were so far ahead of others and Cameron is saying another 100 Lords this year which is about getting a Conservative majority, it is crazy and a waste of money. Thanks for enlighting me.

      Bruce

  3. The Secret Referee

    we need a second chamber in Westminster, just needs to be elected. Elected in 1/3 every 10 years. That way they are still accountable but also have the benefit to say what they like as their terms are so long.

      • The Secret Referee

        It would also be wise to cap the number of Lords, Call me Dave is about to appoint hundreds more to gain a majority in the house, needs to be capped at the same number of MPs, so let’s say the boundary changes go through, MPs will be 600, Lords should have no more than 600, elected 1/3 at a time starting 2020 at the same time as the Commons, making it 200 elected each time.

        Would be a hard thing to get right as we have went so long without an elected chamber.

        Holyrood is an example of 1 chamber not always working in my view, the committees are not effective and I do not think they provide the same level of scrutiny nor opposition to the bills. Even if a party has 98% of the vote, it needs an independent body to play devil’s advocate and opposition to keep it on its toes.

        • grumpyscottishman

          TSR

          Good points. I would scrap the HoL and have a second chamber that is at least 80% elected as I previously noted. Never thought about the Committees at Holyrood and how effective they are or are not, but not convinced that Holyrood requires a second chamber and if it does then maybe that could be drawn from exisiting councillors.

          Thanks for commenting.

          Bruce

  4. hektorsmum

    Should remember who set up the Scottish Parliament, Bruce, and while you are at it remember why it was set up this way, that all of the Unionist Parties put their sixpence in and wanted a system by which no party could get a majority and more especially that the SNP could EVER get a majority. These self same people also set up the voting system for the Councils which they have been forever fiddling with. I know I have served on the original, the Regional and the existing one which to be honest is back mostly the way it was.
    Looking at the US system which is probably simplistic certainly they have a much smaller Federal System but and the State System seems reasonable but their local level Government is not much better or appreciated any more than ours is.
    I admit that whenever I have had to consult on Council Business I tend to go to those who are members of the Party I vote for, and having read about other people’s experiences of dealing with the others I can see the point.
    The House of Lords is an absurd situation, in fact we have more unelected people there than those we elect and if this situation continues we could indeed have more getting their £300 a day than in any other place.

    • Anonymous

      hektorsmum

      Totally agree, it was set up as a way to keep the SNP out and perpetual coalition government, it was amazing what the SNP and the voters pulled off and overall it wasn’t a bad choice.

      I am really not sure what the alternative is to our bloated representatives other than I would dump the house of the dead in an instant. I guess the main way to cut it all down would be independence and that I still believe is coming in my lifetime. I just found it all really interesting when I looked at it.

      Thanks for commenting.

      Bruce

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