You are in the company of
Roger Warren Evans
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934 28 February 2004
users are used to being exploited. The astronomical prices charged
for Filofax "accessories" have always been a stain upon the good name of
the business sector. But now
looks like the presentation
common to other
No it does not. This is a special cardboard "imitation" page, designed and printed to look just like the other Filofax on-shelf presentations. Even imitation punch-holes are included, cunningly camouflaged and printed to look as if they are being viewed through the cellophane. Two of these heavier pieces of cardboard are included, front and back, within the cellophane package.
The effect is to give the slim pack a very substantial "feel", of thickness, therefore of quantity - concealing the fact that there are just 25 thin sheets of A5 paper within it. The volume of the package is doubled by this useless cardboard, sold for £2. That is the equivalent of 16p for an A4 sheet of paper.
But the actual number of sheets is not even shown on the outside of the pack. So you cannot check arithmetically, you can only feel. But in feeling the weight of the package, you are being most grievously deceived.
935 1 March 2004
I overcome Billy Bragg's faults...
Billy Bragg has come up with a new idea for elections to the House of Lords - he is an excellent speaker, and I enjoyed hearing him at the Commons last week, at the Fabian meeting. I am in principle an outright abolitionist, although in the spirit of compromise I have in recent years been trying to find an alternative policy which I can wholeheartedly support.
Bragg argues that we should use the Constituency votes-cast to re-constitute “regions” (including Wales and Scotland) and then allocate Lords seats from Regional Lists according to the resulting percentages. But such "List systems" simply deliver added power to the careerist Party machines, and are distrusted by many Labour members, including MPs.
My own solution, while more radical, would overcome that problem. Every representative would be elected by a conventional one-Member one-vote system. Let's remember that there is
The essence of any electoral system is that it should facilitate thepeaceful transfer of power, the peaceful eviction of a Government which has become unacceptable to the electorate. The real essence of democratic success is therefore negative, rather than positive. Positive mandates are far less important, in constraining unacceptable regimes, than the threat of eviction.
The representative with the highest number of votes within each Constituency would sit in the Commons, thus acknowledging his or her democratic primacy. The remainder would be assigned either to the Lords or Strasbourg, as the Parties judged best, and those assignments could be changed mid-term. While no doubt the Commons MPs - the overall winners at Constituency level - would retain popular primacy, every elected representative would have won, outright, a Constituency contest. The shadowy wraiths of the "List Members" would be banished from the corridors of power.
Many would still resist the assignment of MPs to the Second Chamber and to Strasbourg by the Party machines, who would therefore pick those teams.