What do we need from government?



Update: I’ve developed an online survey, which you can find here, which enables you to rank the extent to which you think the current UK system of central government meets these needs. If you have five minutes to spare please click the link and complete your answers. The survey is anonymous but I will publish the results here.

Here’s my attempt at describing what we need from government. Have I got this right? What have I missed? What should be changed? I’ve limited the list to my top ten – are there other things you would substitute. (Update: I’ve now added a question to the poll which you can use to add any other suggestions or comments.)

To summarise the story so far (see previous posts):

  • this list is intended to be about what we want from government, regardless of which party is in power;
  • I’ve produced it as a precusor to thinking about whether the current system of government provides these things and, if not, how we might go about introducing changes;
  • I’m doing this because I think our system of government is no longer fit for purpose and is in urgent need of change.

Just to re-emphasise the point, this is not about government policies themselves which will, of course, vary from party to party, it’s about how policies are developed and implemented. 

What do we want from government?

Ensures that the wellbeing and safety of the population is
protected and enhanced:
government which does everything it can to enable
everyone to lead better lives and protect them from harm.


Is honest, open and straighforward: government which does what
it promised it would do to win our votes, and tells us the truth.


Thinks and acts for the long term as well as dealing
with immediate priorities: 
government which is able to think
beyond the next election and ensures that the interests and 
wellbeing of future generations are taken into account. 


Bases policies on evidence, sound reasoning and analysis: 
government which does not act on the basis of blind dogma or 
unproven theories but which acts rationally and shows us how and why
it has reached its conclusions. Government which does not change
things for the sake of doing so.. 


Engages the electorate: government which keeps people involved
and informed, shows them how they can influence what is done and
does not act in ways which will alienate voters. 

Implements fair and equitable policies: government which 
does not favour the interests of one group over another.

Is answerable and accountable to electors: government which
sees its first duty as being to the electorate rather than to 
lobbyists or funders.

Is able to do unpopular things: government which is able to develop
and implement policies which are in the best interests of the 
population and are in line with evidence and reasoningwithout being
de-railed by special interests.  

Is competent to govern: government which puts competent people in posititions of power and whose leaders do not second-guessor ignore those who have better understanding and knowledge.

Seeks out and punishes corruption: government which ensures that its members, and those who implement its policies, are as free from corruption as possible and which detects and punishes corrupt individuals.  

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