Monthly Archives: August 2019

Let parliament hire and fire

“Liberal democracies need political structures that are capable of governing”, argues Gisela Stuart from the Vote Leave campaign. Indeed, and therefore they should not come from political parties. Instead, they should be known for their talent to govern and elected by all members of parliament. Only then you have a structure capable of governing. Obviously, political parties are not structures designed to select those capable of governing. They are clubs of nepotism where either the power hungry or the most loyal are rewarded by its members with the privilege to execute the will of the party.

This is not democratic by far. A parliament is supposed to represent the diversity of the population and discuss rationally all possible courses for the country. The executive branche then follows up on this or first enriches the discussion. In the end, the ministers should be trusted by the parliament to govern according to their will, which is after all the representation of the will of the people. 

Instead of selecting ministers from its own ranks the population should be asked to nominate capable and talented candidates based on the job description for each post in the cabinet the parliament collectively agrees upon. Similar to what ordinary civilians are subject to throughout their career. Should the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care have a formal training as medical doctor (like the first Minister of Health) or someone with a track record managing complex bureaucracies? Certainly not someone from the pharmaceutical industry. 

Parliament has many details to work out for the perfect candidate for each post. Committees writing a collective document is nothing new and daily practice, a job description is a small task for them. Once they are published any citizen can send a confidential letter suggesting another citizen. The nominees that score the most points for each requirement are then visited for a surprise interview with a delegation of frontbenchers from parliament. Once asked, the talented candidate will recognise the call and will be able to answer questions on what to do in which situations with hesitation and with convincing precision.  

After all, the talented leader and manager surfaces in practise, following the management course is not enough. Certainly a good education is required, but only in practise after a number of years you can see who leads with integrity and support from the people they work with.

A political structure with these people will be stable and capable. Most importantly, it will be a government of the people (through the nominations) by the people (their representation in parliament). Individual Cabinet members can be fired by a majority of parliament. If parliament is undecided about how to steer the country the Cabinet is not restrained by some party accidentally in majority. Actually, members of parliament can disagree freely within their party without any consequence for a stable government. A majority vote on an issue can cut through parties but still give a clear direction for the Cabinet. Now that would be democratic.