How to Make a Better Government

An idea I've had that's been brewing for a while is that of a better, and more well structured government for the modern times. I hope to outline this idea in a easy-to-understand way.

Firstly I'll say that I have thought about this mainly from a UK perspective and would be interested to get any feedback if you think this would work with your country's culture and governmental setup.

One thing to understand is that this is ultimately Utopian in nature, whilst I think that ideas from it could be implemented with good results, I do not expect this to be the perfect model, however I do believe it to be a model that works for the majority.

Preface (Our Government is too Big!)

When we look at the model for almost every modern governmental system we have either a large, central body of state (usually a parliament) that creates, enforces, and arbitrates laws, bills, acts, and so on; or a completely nonexistent state (anarchism). In the idea of (Marxist) Communism there is no 'state' in the sense we know it in modern western nations, rather a 'Dictatorship of the Proletariat' which in essence there is still a central state. How, I ask does this differ from our current method of rule? Apart from the fact that the worker owns the state we do not have the type of local accountability which, at least I feel, should be a part of our democracy. [1]

Why should we sit idly whilst people in a city miles away make decisions that ultimately affect us? It is of my opinion that we should elect people from the community to do the jobs which effect us most. In the past few years of Conservative and New Labour neo-liberal rule we have seen drastic cuts in our NHS, police, and other vital services.

It is my opinion that the 'big government' should operate as the Minarchist's 'night watchman state', i.e. it should do the least to protect us as a nation. The function of the government in an ideal society is to protect its citizens above all else but it's clear to see that this has been undermined in most western nations. There is no accountability and no place to point a finger but the very top of the stack, sure it's easy to push the blame on the leader of the ruling party but we forget that there's a lot going on below them. However the role of the cabinet in the UK isn't as it should be 'these are the best people for the job' but instead 'how can we reward the most loyal to the party and silence dissent'. My local MP was selected for the cabinet by George Osborne to suppress his views on the Conservative's disability credit cuts. The existence of the cabinet is an incredibly complex political tool that does more than put people in charge.


The new governmental structure should be thus: - Transition 'big government' to be a night watchman state - Give the lost power to local authorities

This means that we remove the 'untouchability' of the 'great leader' and create smaller local leaders who actually have power to do what they need to. The big state still controls the minimum needed for the country to function. It also acts as a commune between local authorities, attendance for what are essentially 'MPs' is mandatory and all votes that go through the parliament are too, this means that if the people of a local authority are unhappy they have a clear voting record to look at.

The other point of this parliament would be to arrange inter-local authority partnerships on projects. This would lead to the same kind of important projects like HS2 being considered and the voices of each area that it passes through being heard. Currently these are held at a national level and some MP in Dundee has as much of a say as anyone outside.

Further, I think that the party system should cease to be officially recognised. Parties are an important tool in campaigning but the lines between party and politics have been blurred over the years. There is plenty of division and disagreement between MPs of the same party so why shouldn't they be allowed to disagree. The party system encourages the members of its party to vote a certain way and dissenters are not rewarded kindly. Ultimately this leads to a perversion of democracy and the idea that party comes before politics. I mean, look how many people have no clue of the policies of the party that they vote for or oppose. The system could perhaps have on the ballot the 'top three policies' of the candidate, or at least a description in plain English of what they stand for.

Immediate Problems

Quite frankly, the current state of local government is broken. A lot of the structure relies on old neoliberal ideas of outsourcing and contracting. As well as the dreaded consulting [1]. Ultimately the actual structure of the organisation is broken due to complete lack of drive for anything other than 'just working' there is no drive to serve the community (barely anyone who works in a lot of these places lives there) and no incentive for the workers to actually do anything above and beyond. Both of my parents have been public sector workers for a long time and when my mother moved out of the public sector this year she said that she suddenly felt the need to actually do work rather than the minimum.

Not only this but this idea calls for a complete dissolution of the ruling class and almost all parliamentary tradition. As with many competing and different ideologies there can be no change without revolution, but rather than the violent Communist revolutions that we have seen I'd like to advocate for a political change, perhaps MPs et al. can work more closely with their constituents rather than their parties. Of course this requires a dedication to the people that you serve and perhaps some goddamn conviction. Perhaps past serving the country in parliament the politician can use the public space to teach people about politics past the parties and instil a sense of civic responsibility.

At the moment we have a large amount of volunteers for foreign aid but where we need it most locally we have a complete lack, why? Because in school we are never taught to care for our town and community. A lot of assemblies focus on overseas or 'big' problems e.g. climate change. Of course these are important but why do we hide in those when the best and most immediate changes we can make are local? Perhaps it's hiding from the changes that we can actually make immediately and with some work vs 'turn the lights off when not in use'. Politics should be taught from a young age and a focus should be on the child deciding what they believe in. A real lack of philosophy exists in the UK curriculum (the closest we get is maybe RE and PSHE) and this drags people down into not thinking for themselves. We have an issue of people growing up on media that tells them what to do and think (even if you don't agree that the content is doing that, the adverts sure are) and having no guidance from anyone to think critically about what's presented to them. The young are growing up not just with adverts for coca-cola that vastly overestimate the actual involvement with the fall of the Berlin wall [2] but shows like John Oliver etc. that present all views but their own as a joke. (No it's not a valid political argument to say the same thing that you opponent said but in a mocking voice).

Appendix: The distribution of authority

I know that I haven't gone over what this 'night watchman' state would do or be but it's a little too long to describe for a blog. Essentially it's a state that does the minimum to protect it's citizens and keep the country running. Ideally under the system proposed the state would still collect taxes but share based on population / geographic demand so that each local authority has enough. There would be no 'cuts on firemen' but 'cuts on all councils' if an economic downturn was to occur. Further, taxation should exist in the best interests of the people of the country and not to fuel frivolous spending (e.g. military R&D beyond what is needed to protect the country)

The local council should deal with things like healthcare, emergency services etc. The 'big government' would set a minimum standard and if councils dip below this help will be offered and special measures could occur.


Obviously, there are issues with this idea but it's something that I needed to write. If anyone has any questions don't hesitate to email me at uncleleech (at)


[1] If you can name a worse industry than consulting in terms of actual use to local govt vs money it costs I would be very surprised.

[2] Strangely this advert really does show the rise of capitalism in the west and how corporations will completely twist events. It's a gross show of consumerism and again overstates the actual involvement of coca-cola in the events leading up to and immediately after the fall of the wall. It's almost a celebration that 'now the USSR is gone we have no red menace and our capitalism prevails'

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