The aim of this proposal is to ensure that politicians should be actively in touch with the lives of those they represent. The following are suggestions for making this happen:
(1) Elected politicians should be obliged to use at least one public service in their constituency or ward per year. For example, they should either (a) use public transport (however awful it might be) from, to or within their constituency or ward, (b) use the local hospital (and (i) be made to pay for parking like everyone else, (ii) put up with the same conditions as members of the public – e.g. delays, mixed wards, referrals to distant hospitals), (c) use public toilets, etc, in their own area, (d) visit local schools and see the conditions some teachers, kitchen staff, etc., are having to work under. Their visits should not be preceded by a grand 'clean up' of the school.
(2) Politicians should be rated on the effectiveness of their response to constituency problems, e.g. time taken to respond to constituency letters, constituent satisfaction, etc.
Why is this idea important?
I believe these ideas are important because during the past few years we have become aware of how unaccountable some politicians manage to be. Often we get a new MP or Councillor, who promises the earth but who is ever after inaccessible or unapproachable, who does not answer their emails or is evasive in some way.
It will help to keep politicians' feet on the ground, and keep them in touch with the lives of 'ordinary people'.
In our area the sole form of public transport is the post bus, which we have to walk over a mile to get to, and it takes about 2 hours to drive 8 miles to the nearest town because of pick-ups and drop-offs on the way. It operates once per day, Monday to Friday.