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Re-count the Demands On:2000-11-18 14:12:59

I bet you are really getting fed up with everyone on the radio always going on and on about the election, and I’m sure that’s why you’ve tuned into Simon.

Of course the problem with the election—one of the problems with the election—is the old dichotomy between accuracy and precision.

It’s like digital stopwatches. You know—your wristwatch has a timer in it that tells time to the hundredth of a second, only by the time you’ve pressed that awkward button twice, you are lucky if you manage to be accurate to the nearest second. And the mess in Florida is like two chaps who have timed a race with their wristwatches and are now fighting about that one hundredth of a second. The whole result is below the level that differences are significant.

And then there is the horror of the popular vote versus the Electoral College. As a decent (I hope) English gentleman I feel really bad about this, because of course it’s my fault—well not mine personally, really—I mean the fault of the English. You see those dear old founding gaffers were all decent English gentlemen, so even though they didn’t want to have kings and aristocrats, as decent English gentlemen they were so distressed by the thought of Hoi Polloi electing the king—sorry I mean President—that they came up with a decent English compromise, a pseudo-aristocracy, the Electoral College! Something to balance the masses, to make sure that small groups of people can put one over on large groups.
So I want to make amends for my ancestry.

I’m going to tell you the way to solve all the problems with all of our political system.
All of them!
Imagine the scene on a future election night. It’s rightly and inevitably done on the television. You can have plenty of glitz and the nature of the thing will ensure plenty of tension and incredible ratings. We settle down (nervously) to watch as the numbered balls are randomly blown around and out of the machine to spell out the Social Security numbers of the chosen ones. We start off with the House, move on to the Senate, the Veep and Finally the Pres! Sort of Miss World order.
Yes election night is Lottery night! And think what follows:
Soft money is squashed, endlessly increasing election costs are cut, stupid, vicious TV ads are zapped, Special interests are stymied and as for term limits? Do you know what the chances of the same set of nine numbers coming up twice are? If it happens they deserve it!

And then there are the more subtle things:
Finally our government will be really representative, there will (purely by chance) tend to be the same proportions of women, minorities and left handed Englishmen in our government as in our population.

Of course we will also have the same proportion of criminals, liars and perverts as in the general population—a great improvement over our current system which tends to select far too many of them!

Cheerio for now
Richard Howland-Bolton

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