Jacob Rees-Mogg is PaddyPower’s second favourite MP to replace John Bercow as Speaker of the House.
Last summer, Jacob Rees-Mogg became the favourite to replace Theresa May as Tory leader and prime minister. In one of British politics’ most bizarre tantrums of the modern era, Rees-Mogg remains the favourite with many betting companies.
However, he is also the second favourite to replace John Bercow as Speaker of the House of Commons. PaddyPower offers odds of 13/5 for Rees-Mogg to become Britain’s next Speaker of the House of Commons (as of 23rd February).
The Speaker’s purpose is to play a neutral role and lead proceedings, much like a referee in a Football match.
The favourite to replace Bercow is Labour MP Lindsay Hoyle, who currently serves as Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons. Paddy Power offers evens for a Hoyle Speaker-ship.
John Bercow, a former Tory MP, has been Speaker of the House since 2009. Currently, there is no talk of Bercow stepping down from the role. Furthermore, Sky News has reported that Bercow intends to remain Speaker until the end of this parliament in 2022.
Nonetheless, the fact that the out-of-touch Conservative Jacob Rees-Mogg is the second favourite to become Speaker shows the reality of his progress in politics. He is now a household name and it is often speculated that he could at some point be elevated to the cabinet or even actually go as far as becoming Prime Minister.
2. Replacing the House of Lords
There is so much wrong with Britain’s upper-chamber. It is bloated to the extent that it is one of the largest legislative chambers in the world, and it is not in the slightest bit democratic. On top of that, the fact that there are still a significant number of hereditary peers is frankly an embarrassment to our so-called democracy.
But what’s the solution? Another elected chamber is one option – provided both have fair voting systems – but this would result in constant battles between the two. An alternative is the system used in Germany, which recognises individual parts of the UK and gives them power over UK-wide issues. With devolution now ingrained into British politics, this is an interesting solution to turn the Lords into something much better. Germany’s Bundesrat is made up of representatives from all sixteen states, with voting power varying slightly by population sizes. This is similar to the American Senate, where different states are recognised, but does so in a way that let’s sub-UK governments be heard.
3. A Written Constitution
The UK’s lack of a written codified constitution and reliance on precedence and tradition sets us apart from most of the rest of the world. Having a written constitution would set out clear rules regarding the powers of different levels of governments, the rights of British citizens, and most relevant for the current situation set out rules regarding referendums.
Referendums in the UK historically take place out of political necessity but look at Ireland. Amendments to the Irish constitution can only occur if voted for in a referendum. A written constitution that outlines such procedures like Ireland does will provide a much-needed framework for such democratic decisions while also protecting the rights of individuals and different levels of governance.
4. A Federal Britain
Federalism has long been called for in the UK, but little has been done to initiate it. The Liberal Democrats have long backed it while elements of Labour have shifted in that direction. A Federal Britain, in which powers are brought closer to the people, will loosen Westminster’s tight grip on the country and end the remnants of the one-size fits all approach from the time before devolution.
The main problem with this however, is England. Should England be regionalised, or should it remain one large entity within the framework of a federal Britain? That’s a question for a constitutional convention and a likely series of referendums.
Either way the people should have their say.
5. Improved Political Education
Education is the key to advancing individuals in society and advancing society itself.
Specifically, substantial, obligatory and non-biased political education is long overdue. If people are to be informed for elections, they need to understand how the system works, who the main political players are and the importance of voting in the first place.
The key to a healthy democracy is a knowledgeable population. Political education in schools is a much-needed solution to our ill democracy.
6. Automatic Voter Registration
One barrier to voting in the first place is the fact that individuals must register ahead of polling day. Generally, this is a simple procedure that takes a few minutes, however, that’s not the point. Individuals should have an automatic link with the political system via being able to vote from the get-go.
Automatic registration takes place in other countries, why not here?
Let’s make voting easy.
7. Compulsory Voting…For First-Time Voters
Many individuals, including myself, are very vary of making voting compulsory. The freedom not to vote is an important freedom and people should vote for the sake of it.
However, the proposal for first-time compulsory voting is a compromise that could set voters on a path to consistent engagement as there is strong evidence that voting is habitual, meaning that once individuals start they will continue to do so for the rest of their lives. Perhaps it would be worth piloting this to see its impact.
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