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December 13, 2006

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Matthew

Denying the vote to the 8m or so people who derive most of their income from the State doesn't seem particularly good idea to me.

chris strange

Removing the franchise from the tax consumers should certainly help to avoid rent seeking and producer capture. So probably a good thing. It would certainly make reforming the state sector to be more efficient easier.

Is the Clarke Tax that this talks about similar to the Demand Revealing Referenda that you have blogged about before?

Bishop Hill

Matthew

Why not?

james higham

...people should be given more control over their own lives and over the government...

"Should be given" is the interesting phrase here. Given by those above? Chris, how would you achieve this end? More control over the government? I'd like to see it but the Finance says no.

Denying the vote to 8m. You so dislike managerialism, which is the way those above feel they're better and tell us to do this and that. Fair enough. But what's with this "deny" and "legislate" and "remove"? Isn't this draconian interference precisely what you've been arguing against all along - the way they can push us around?

Shuggy

"But what's with this "deny" and "legislate" and "remove"?"

Reversing the trend from 1832 and actually shrinking the franchise? It's the new libertarianism, apparently.

chris y

Why not?

Because, as somebody pointed out in Anthony's comments, they're also customers. I as a Ford worker can't influence the company's policy directly, but if I know that company policy has led to cost cutting on the production line which compromises the safety of the cars, and therefore I buy a Honda, I am influencing it as a consumer by rejecting its products.

I as a teacher already can't influence the government: they pay no attention to my representations and are make education policies driven by managerialist fantasies which are entirely detached from reality. So I as a consumer who wants my children to get a decent education ought to have the right to throw the rascals out.

Quinn

Not to mention that as a teacher, why should you be denied the right to vote for who you want in government based on foreign policy, police numbers, the NHS, etc.

In any case Chris D; how does removing the vote from public sector workers square with your support for worker co-ops/ownership etc, and for the workers to have more power relative to their managerialist leaders?

Jim

Since Anthony's whizzy idea seems to involve removing the vote of only those directly employed by the state, it would probably only result in contracting out on a vast scale with the person in the post and the work being done remaining the same with an enormous new layer of bureaucracy inserted between them and democracy. Or special interests would compete to get each other's industries nationalised and therefore disenfranchised, which as I said in comments on Anthony's blog suggests an ever-larger state and an ever-smaller electorate, probably not what he intended.

Pilot Officer Prune

Personally, I'd vote against this proposal.
I don't like an idea that would disfranchise the Armed Forces - we have little enough say in the political life of the country (we are explicitly forbidden from commenting on politics in a public forum) and removing the vote for the duration of our service (as we are fully paid by the taxpayer) would render every one of us utterly politically impotent.
At the moment, I at least have a vote. I'd like to keep it.

I'd imagine the same goes for the police, for example.

AJE

Thanks Chris

Reversing the trend from 1832 and actually shrinking the franchise? It's the new libertarianism, apparently.

I think you're being unhelpfully rhetorical. The point of my post was to distance us from "universal suffrage" as a basic human right, and say that in practice no-one advocates it, and therefore we all believe the size franchise is a variable. That being the case, why not run a few thought experiments about altering it? Whether we prevent state employees from voting, or give an extra vote to non-state employees, we'd end up with the same result - so can't we have a theoretical discussion about cause and effect, rather dismissing it with soundbite?

I as a Ford worker can't influence the company's policy directly, but if I know that company policy has led to cost cutting on the production line which compromises the safety of the cars, and therefore I buy a Honda, I am influencing it as a consumer by rejecting its products.

I think you're using the analogy incorrectly, since in this case Honda workers are being forced to buy a Ford.

I as a teacher already can't influence the government: they pay no attention to my representations and are make education policies driven by managerialist fantasies which are entirely detached from reality. So I as a consumer who wants my children to get a decent education ought to have the right to throw the rascals out.

If you as a teacher can't influence education policies through your union, how the fuck can you claim that you as a voter can influence government policies through the ballot box?

YOU VOTE DOESN'T MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE

as a teacher, why should you be denied the right to vote for who you want in government based on foreign policy, police numbers, the NHS,

Because you're not paying for those things. But regardless your influence isn't consigned to your vote. We need to disentangle the emotional importance of "the vote" from the actual impact of "a vote".

how does removing the vote from public sector workers

This is my point. If you rephrase these points with "a vote" instead of "the vote", and then look at the actual voting that a public sector worker has (e.g. for union representation) then we can compare their voice between two different systems.

it would probably only result in contracting out on a vast scale

This raises the issue of the pervasiveness and ubiquity of the state, but I think simple accounting mechanisms could solve it. Regardless, constitutional reform needs to be packaged, so I appreciate your advice on the complementary policies that'd be required for this idea to be more workable.

Or special interests would compete to get each other's industries nationalised and therefore disenfranchised

Again, you seem to think this point is a hammer blow. I think it's an interesting issue that could be resolved with deeper theoretical/empirical work. I honestly don't see it happening though.

At the moment, I at least have a vote. I'd like to keep it.

If you are against a war on moral grounds, you should use your right as a free individual to conscientiously object. It's neither patriotic nor heroic to vote against a war, but then fight it anyway because the median voter happens to be in favour.

I guess this issue comes down to whether you're emotionally tied to voting. Personally I'd rather live in a world where people's beliefs affected their actions, not the single innefectual vote they make once every 4 years.

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