Gordon Brown’s ‘will he? won’t he?’ antics this autumn over possibly calling a general election highlighted the absurdity of letting the Prime Minister choose when to call an election.
Yet why should the PM get to choose the election date? We all know how PMs have chosen the date – they choose a date when they think they have a decent chance of winning. Fixing part of an election system just so you can maximise your own chances of winning – isn’t that normally called fixing an election?
Democracy after all is for all of us – it’s for the public to control who runs things, not for those in power to manipulate the public into re-electing them.
The alternative is to have fixed terms for Parliament. My colleague David Howarth has come out 12th in the ballot (polite Parliament speak for lottery) to choose which MPs are given (a small amount of!) time to present their own bill to Parliament. David’s said his private member’s bill will be one for fixed term Parliaments.
Even Gordon himself used to be in favour of fixed term Parliaments, so it’ll be interesting to see what he says and does on this!
Oh, and while he is at it how about a maximum service term for Prime Minister to try and prevent the onset of Hubris Syndrome as expounded by your learned colleague Dr Owen. Please, no more record breaking ten year marathons that end up with the punch drunk resident of No 10 being forcibly ejected by the political bailiffs.