Constitutional reform.

The premise of the ‘Police Academy’ films is quite straightforward.

The Authorities are concerned at a severe drop in the number of good people signing up. So rather than do anything sensible to address this, they throw open the doors to anybody who fancies it. Hilarious consequences ensue.

This is the argument for giving votes to sixteen year-olds.

The government should not be basing major constitutional change on the Police Academy films. It is madness.

I don’t usually write about politics, but I’ve been catching up on a lot of newspapers recently. And now I wish I hadn’t because I get so blackly depressed about the sheer living-on-planet-Zog-ness of most politicians. And the fact they’re guided by newspaper editors, who know very well what the real world is like, but choose to ignore this in favour of manufactured indignation and synthetic outrage. (I think that might be one and the same thing, just with different words).

So I’m fighting back. Given that, in percentage terms, this blog has shown a larger year-on-year readership increase than all the national newspapers put together, I feel justified in putting forward the following constitutional proposals:

Item one – new technology

A microchip shall be inserted in everybody’s TV. Citizens will then accrue eligibility points based on their viewing, with only those people with a positive score allowed to vote.

Positive points will be given for programmes that are informative about the issues of the day. Panorama, Newsnight, etc.

Negative points will be given for programmes made for the brain-dead. Hartbeat, Through the Keyhole, any programme featuring Steve Penk, etc.

Extra negative points shall be allocated for ‘Tonight with Trevor McDonald’, watched by people who think they’re intellectual because they can sing all the words to ‘Imagine’.

Item two – other bars/extensions to the franchise

The following people will be allowed to vote, whatever:

  • Prisoners.

    Barring prisoners from voting is perverse. They are the only people with the time to read all the newspapers, discuss and form judgements on the major issues, etc. They also have experience of the criminal justice system, are more likely to be a victim of crime, come from deprived social backgrounds etc.

The following people will not be allowed to vote, whatever:

  • Children under 18

  • Pensioners

  • Tim the chef from that Gordon Ramsay programme on the telly last night

Item three – political advertising

All political advertising shall be banned. It is nasty and dishonest. The parties shall be allowed one letter to the electorate, which the electorate must study and absorb as there will be a system of random spot checks.

It shall consist of two sides of A4, printed in 12-point Courier. It will explain clearly what the party would do should it be elected.

Before dispatch, the contents of the letter shall be scrutinised by a small panel of the most wise and respected members of British society. That is, me, and the elderly Sikh bloke that did the marathon.

I would be prepared to allow Comic Sans, if it made the politicians feel that they were striking a blow for the youth vote.

Item four – newspaper bias

It is clear that in a democracy, journalists should be free to write in support the party of their choice. However, the privilege of influencing our opinion must be paid for in some way.

At the end of each newspaper edition, political opinions expressed will be carefully logged and the proprietor charged a fee for each that is not balanced by an equal and opposite point of view.

Monies raised will be allocated to non-fashionable sweep-under-the-carpet things like mental health care, rehabilitation of offenders, etc.

Journalists will protest that this would be completely impractical. However, it would be easy, using PayPal.

Costs payable will be calculated by the same panel (see item three). For reasons of irony, I will judge the broadsheets and tabloids whilst Mr Singh will evaluate the Daily Mail and Express.

This is a long post, for which I apologise.

However, it is important that we get this right.

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