Designing a desirable Government: basic principles

Part One

by Fabian Ubiquitus

Here is a wild idea.

This is a very brief initial outline of the idea, which I will elaborate on further as time goes by.

One of the primary problems our civilisation faces is the conduct of our governments.

They attract and become infiltrated by deadbeats, criminals and suppressives.

Once the criminals, deadbeats and suppressives outnumber or outgun – or even merely outwit or out-manoeuvre – those decent people in our governments and parliaments who ARE trying to provide government for the well being and long-term survival of the people, then to that degree government becomes an oppressor of the people.

It tends to go that way because government itself has no quality control, no means of policing, detecting and correcting departures from what we could consider to be sound governance.

Moreover, there is no broadly held agreement as to what we consider sound governance.

Yet for our own sakes we, the people, must evolve ways and means of correcting the follies and departures from benign conduct of our governments and we must have some sort of broad agreement as to what the principles of sound governance would be.

Our FIRST task would therefore be to work out and agree on what we consider to be sound basic principles for our governments to be bound by.

We are not looking for absolute truths here, just workability in terms of what we can broadly agree we want our government to be and do, towards the purpose of making our lives more tolerable.

This would be an UNDERCUT to party politics and the policies and bright ideas upon which parties base their manifestos. Such principles would assist pro-survival party politics and keep it alive if the people so desire by preventing its degeneration into a con game where the distinction between persuasion and deception becomes blurred and the competition of ideas turns into fraud, deception, manipulation, tyranny and so forth.

But how does one go about working out such common sense principles?

It seems to me at this stage that one can observe what government does, identify those things that endanger, disadvantage, upset or in various other ways inhibit the survival and well being of the citizenry. Having identified those things, one can work out a common sense principle therefrom, that obliges and – where necessary, forces – those in government not to do it.

To take one simple example: one can observe that time and time again problems are created for the citizenry – and indeed for government itself – when politicians and officials decide that it is perfectly all right to lie or make false reports to the people.

Therefore, one can derive the simple principle that no politician or official may knowingly lie or make a false or deliberately misleading report to the people or other politicians or officials. One then enshrines it in law and make deliberate violations of this principle a criminal offence. It sounds incredibly simple and obvious but the fact of the matter is that if we formulated this principle and enforced it for real through fair justice procedures, we would by this one reform alone raise the calm, harmony, good order and sound management of our civilisation to a new high level.

But of course, in order to APPLY this principle, another principle must be thoroughly in place: that all (ALL) officials, representatives, agents members and so on must be subject to the laws that bind the rest of us, with NO exemptions.

There is no good reason on God’s green Earth that, say, a Prime Minister should be exempt from laws that proscribe murder, genocide and other humanitarian crimes or that a government agent should be permitted to torture or murder – or indeed that a government Minister who orders it should not be prosecuted as an accessory thereto.

This seems a simple and workable way to proceed and the principles outlined below are derived and evolved from that simple approach.

Looking ahead to how we might begin to impinge upon government our demand that these principles be adhered to, here is a further wild idea.

A Code of Governance

Having listed out the basic common sense principles of government, we formulate them into a code of conduct. This Code of Governance might have, say, thirty precepts.

We then – as a preliminary step – send that code to our MPs, parliamentary candidates and so forth and ask them to pledge themselves to abide by that that code in all their actions whilst in government.

To give it more weight, we display this code on a website and ask people to declare their support for it using a simple online form. The higher the raw numbers of citizens declaring their support for the code, the more weight it will carry and the more it will register our demands in the minds of our representatives.

As the code enshrines actions broadly agreed upon as desirable and in alignment with our national codes and customs and humanitarian long-term survival concepts, we would quickly be able to identify, for example, a Parliamentary candidate whose intentions are less than honorable through his or her failure to pledge allegiance to the code.

Such action, if it obtains broad grass roots agreement and participation, will pressure politicians and so forth into ethical and honest conduct and, over time, render the body politic more honest, WITHOUT us having to get into party politics, forming new parties, standing for elections and so forth if we do not want to.

Of course, for those who wish to play the game of politics, that option remains open to them but if they are wise, they will publicly pledge themselves to AND exemplify in deed the common sense principles of sound governance enshrined in the Code.

Of course, it would be naive to expect the mere existence of some principles to, of itself, render more honest or trustworthy someone who is an habitual liar or devious criminal. However, if the idea obtains broad agreement and UNITES people around it and in support of it, we can achieve the following:

*  Grass roots unity and agreement as to what kind of governance we want that transcend party politics.

*  The evolution in effect of a Citizens’ Watchdog function whereby the citizenry can better assess the character of those in government against a clear yardstick for behaviour and intent.

*  If supported, insisted upon and demanded by sufficient numbers of us, a focusing of pressure upon politicians and officials to behave themselves.

*  Once that demand and pressure result in the passing of laws that enshrine these principles, we will then have created a climate in which dishonest people or people of criminal disposition cannot survive and which supports and helps those who are honest and sincere and genuinely seeking to govern for the benefit and well being of all the people.

So our first observation of government is the one I gave as an example above:

A primary difficulty we have with government is that politicians and officials lie to the people.

We can all agree that no matter what ideals, bright ideas, policies and so forth the different politicians promote, they SHOULD TELL THE TRUTH.

Therefore, we arrive at these principles:

*  all people in government must not utter any knowing falsehood, false report or misrepresentation to the people or to other officials or representatives.

*  the requirement for truthfulness must be enshrined in just laws.

*  those just laws must be applicable and enforceable upon ALL officials, representatives, agents, agencies, proxies and representatives.

*   those just laws must also be enforceable on and applicable to ALL persons, entities and agencies, corporations et al making representations, applications or submissions to or entering into co-action with government or any agency thereof.

*  it is an inviolable principle of sound and ethical governance that each person therein is responsible for his or her own actions and must be held accountable under just laws for his or her own actions.

*  there must be no exemptions to the above and the notion that any person carrying out, or ordering or aiding and abetting the carrying out of any act that results in harm to others is exempt due to the collective liability of some corporate or governmental entity is hereby CANCELLED. This is on the grounds that a corporate, business or governmental entity is not a person but comprises persons and among these persons are the specific persons who conceive, plan, order or carry out actions.

* this principle of personal responsibility applies not just to government but to all entities large or small so, for example, when a corporation produces a drug that harms or kills and it is found that the harm results from negligent safety testing or disingenuous marketing and so forth, those persons who made the decisions or gave the orders or devised the company’s policies or were party thereto, from the Board and CEO and major shareholders on down, must be held accountable and prosecuted for causing actual bodily harm or whatever the appropriate criminal charge might be. This principle of personal accountability will compel the decision makers and planners in all entities to behave responsibly towards their fellows.

This closes Part One of his essay. More discussion of basic principles will follow soon in Part Two.

Fabian Ubiquitus writes exclusively for UK Reloaded.

His identity remains confidential


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