2000 years ago Mary and Joseph traveled to the other end of what is now Israel/Occupied Palestinian Territories to register their details in the town of Joseph’s ancestry.
The Romans had built houses with central heating. They’d built roads and carriages to run on them. They’d equipped a militia to move to distant lands and conquer great swathes of the Western world.
But they hadn’t quite figured out how muster all those people into the paperwork without them trekking back to the places they were formally registered in at birth.
2000 years later we’ve got the electronic communications to send emails, make Skype calls and detonate bombs on underground trains with a phone signal.
But we haven’t figured out how to align our Electoral Register with the details already held about those living in Britain. Details everyone from the BT phonebook to the Inland Revenue hold like your address….
Why is it that in 2011 you have to call up your local borough council to ask them to send out an application form for you to send back in so that 4 weeks later you can be added to an Electoral Role?
I’m going to hazard a guess that I’m one of the few people who
- Understands AV
- Knows which system I prefer and
- Wants to get out of bed on Thursday (when incidentally I’m working nights…counting AV Referendum Results at Sky…oh, the irony).
Yet, I’m one of the – I suspect many – people who are denied a vote because I didn’t fill in the forms in time.
Every time there’s an election I have to re-register because, bureaucracy forbid, the nature of modern life means I move. I moved for my gap year. I moved to go to University. And then again with each subsequent year. And then again to do my Masters. Lord alone knows what I’ll do when I’m into the swing of freelancing!
…And every year had to re-register in my local area because the notion that my ‘term-time’ address may actually be my home address before I’m 21 is completely incomprehensible to the pen-pushing waste of money that Local Government is.
I’m now 23 and unable to vote because I have again miraculously been re-located to my parents’ address, despite the fact that I haven’t lived there for 5 years.
What a farce.
So here’s my proposal for Government.
Independent, local shops are a gem for the UK, but let’s face it, the backbone of this country is in the big supermarkets that keep us eating and the cheap high-street chain-stores we buy most of our daily needs from.
So why are we still trying to cobble-together a Government on self-contained, hyper-local units? Lets have one national one-stop shop with local branches.
Can’t vote at your usual constituency? Not a problem, it’s all connected anyway, just pop down to your nearest polling station – your details are on our national system and we have this ingenious little invention called the Internet.
Medical Notes? One NHS. One system. Accessible by whichever hospital you’re admitted to while on holiday or away at University.
Need to talk to an MP? Not to worry, your local MP is here to help, even if you’re not from the area, because we’re all going to meet at the party conferences and Westminster Hall debates anyway…
Well it’s a nice dream…but if big business can do it, why can’t the Public Sector?
My apologies if you’ve been offended by an part of my musings/rant…