08 March 2009

Manifesto checklist

Ten things I would like to see in a party manifesto, in line with my political beliefs. But would there be any party offering these ideas? Even if there was, would that party have a candidate where I live? Full essay.

25 comments:

bison said...

To add to the wishful thinking:

1. Abolish compulsory voting and scrap penalties for not voting.

2. Term limits for political office at the ministerial level.

3. Removal of restrictive legislation on political campaigning.

4. I'm not so sure about the scrapping of plurality voting - maybe it should stay in some fashion, with smaller constituencies (like 2-3 instead of 5-seat constituencies). Introducing plurality voting unifies opposition parties to a point where the country has a basic two-party system. Boffins call this Duverger's (sp?) law.

Bloom said...

Even a progressive state like California has seen its population voted against the ban on Prop 8. The result was highly attributable to the high percentage of hispanic voters who are generally conservative and 'pro-family'. It is highly unlikely the Singapore voter will identify and endorse a manifesto with a 'Gay Equality' element in it.

europhia core said...

Dear YB,

"Abolish the death penalty. Abolish caning."

I simply cannot agree with you on these lines. Even the US retains the death penalty.

Your double standards show when you continue

"Restrict detention without trial to cases of suspected terrorism and violent revolution, with additional reviews, safeguards and open records within five years of any detention."

If detention without trial for supected terrorsim and violence can exist, then the death penalty must stay for the most henious crimes such as murder. And caning should stay for the most brutal crimes such as rape and armed robbery.

I and perhaps most of us singaporeans are for the death penalty and caning for the most violent crimes and the use of ISA as mentioned in your post. Granted, there must be safeguards in place. Amen to that.

Blake said...

Some of your suggestions seem to be rather unrealistic and pointless.

For example, voting for a "Senate" to advise the President? You mean on top of voting for MPs, voting for the President, you still want Singaporeans to vote 6 people from a pool of 18 to advise the President? You think we need more politicking? You think the average man on the street is going to be informed enough to discriminate between the 18 candidates? You think more voting will mean more enlightened policies? You give the electorate too much credit.

An apex court with 3 out of 7 judges being foreigners? This is even more preposterous and pointless. No country in the world allows nearly half of its highest court to be comprised of foreigners. The solution to executive influence on the judiciary is not getting foreigners to become judges; it is removing the executive influence. Foreigners are no more likely to be independent if the executive can exert some form of power or control over them.

Anders said...

Europhia Core:
""Abolish the death penalty. Abolish caning."

I simply cannot agree with you on these lines. Even the US retains the death penalty."

US is an exception. The vast majority of first world countries have abolished the death penalty.

"If detention without trial for supected terrorsim and violence can exist, then the death penalty must stay for the most henious crimes such as murder."

I fail to see the logic of this statement. How does detaining suspected terrorists force us to murder convicted murderers?

Anonymous said...

This manifesto checklist will be difficult to come through, especially Death Penalty and Gay Right! It could only end up people continue to deny all Gay Right and support Death Penalty!

PAP just need to give a scenario without Death Penalty and Gay Right like a fear monger (as usual), and they might in fact gain more support!

So I guess our very shy oppositions will only shy away from such subject! Sad!

By the way, Gay man here and I do support Death Penalty! I could never agree that people could kill people, and all the law could do is life imprisonment! Simply too convenient! It like the death victim have no right, since he's DEATH?

Teck Soon said...

Sounds good. And I agree on your stand against the death penalty and caning. I hate Singapore being known as the per capita execution capital of the world. A good first step would be to abolish mandatory death sentences and shift back the burden of proof in all criminal cases, especially death penalty drug cases, to the prosecution.

I would also like to add to euphoria core's comment on US death penalty retention: Quite a few US states have abolished the death penalty. But not Texas - George Bush's home state and with highest execution rate - Bush is a big death penalty supporter. Singapore can find a friend now.

Anonymous said...

The US may have the death penalty but they also have lengthy appeals systems that frequently overturn the death sentence. The US may have the death penalty but never for petty drug offences - they have a sense of proportion there. A significant proportion of the appeals drag on until the prisoner's natural death. In the end, only between 1-2% of those who receive the death sentence actually go to the gallows. Many states in the US have also amended their state constitutions to legally prohibit the death penalty; it's not everywhere in the US that has the death penalty. There is also a strong lobby in the US against the death penalty.

euphoria core, you decide if your analogy even comes close to being called an appropriate one.

Anonymous said...

Many of the items in your manifesto are similar to the SDP's.

Yawning Bread Sampler said...

Bison - I am equivocal about abolishing compulsory voting - I can see the downside of a political system when elections reflect the views of the passionate more than those of the apathetic centre.

I am sympathetic to calls for term limits and the removal of restrictive legislation on political campaigning, but these are not up there among the top priorities.

I think it is messy and will remain open to abuse to keep any form of GRC.

Yawning Bread Sampler said...

Blake - We already have an unelected Council of Presidential Advisors who "advise the president", albeit on a smaller range of issues than my proposed Senate. I think we might as well have the right to elect them. Having a senate also checks a president who may be inclined to ba partisan.

Apex court - Hong Kong has foreign judges. In any case, so what if no other country does? If it is a benefit to Singapore - why not?

Yawning Bread Sampler said...

Blake and Anonymous 08 March 2009, 21:35 -

As to whether something is realistic or not, we shouldn't forget ideals just because they are not realistic. Progress is seldom made by only resigning oneself to the status quo or to the do-able. Sometimes, it is necessary to say "Here is the guiding star. I shall take this direction even if I may never reach the star", but at least I get some distance to where I want to go, and do not merely follow the crowd, ending up where I don't want to be.

Yawning Bread Sampler said...

Anonymous 09 March 2009, 02:50 - I know, except that SDP has not fleshed out its social agenda clearly. It is also obvious to me that the Workers' Party is uninspiring.

Anonymous said...

I think it has come to
a stage where the present
government is no longer
morally acceptable.

How absurd it is to complain
about the quality of the
opposition. By using it as a reason
to continue voting for the PAP
or abstaining, we are giving PAP
the means to maintain this lack
of quality.

I am voting for the opposition
no matter who they put there.

I am too cowardly to stand.
Anyone who dares is more than
good enough for me.

Anonymous said...

I think the compensation benchmark used for ministers and top officers is causing too much unhealthy distraction and should be reviewed.

Anonymous said...

Sound like FANTASY, but certainly encouraging IF our oppositions take up some of the points! Just IF!

Anonymous said...

Dear YB,

Great! This is more like a manifesto of a political party, in which i feel you should have started on long ago. but, if you feel you should give the next elections a shot, you can count me in as one of your active supporters.

Kai Khiun

europhia core said...

OK, perhaps I didn't make myself clear. I wanted to say that the death penalty should be a possible sentence, but not mandatory.

I think a better idea would be to remove the non-mandatory clause for certain crimes eg. drug trafficking.

So in this case it would be a possible sentence, leaving it up to the judge (or panel of judges)

But scrapping the death penalty totally is off limits.

You may argue the presence of the death penalty does not reduce crime rates like US. But the problem with US is it's gun laws. Singapore does have that problem.

There are many cases in "western" countries where the most brutal murders have been committed and the worst sentence the judge can give is life in prisonment. Even then, this unwrittenly means no parole for 20 years max. And during that period we will still have to feed them.

I still think the death penalty should be retained, but discretionary power transferred to the judges.

Anonymous said...

ephraim core, would you agree to the death penalty for crimes against humanity which are typically committed by those in power?

I think that some of Singapore's current political leaders would be likely candidates.

Anonymous said...

ephraim, ephraim, wherfore art thou?

Hast thou losteth thy tongue?

Yawning Bread Sampler said...

Who is this "ephraim" that you are referring to?

Ae you referring to "europhia core"?

Anonymous said...

Sorry, muy mistake. It is euphoria not ephraim core.

Fargoal said...

Nothing on foreign policy? I suspect that in Singapore, there isn't a wide ideological gap on foreign policy issues.

Anonymous said...

To Blake, who wrote ignorantly:

"An apex court with 3 out of 7 judges being foreigners? This is even more preposterous and pointless. No country in the world allows nearly half of its highest court to be comprised of foreigners. The solution to executive influence on the judiciary is not getting foreigners to become judges; it is removing the executive influence. Foreigners are no more likely to be independent if the executive can exert some form of power or control over them."

Look up the Judicial Committee
of the Priviy Council.

Aloysius said...

Interesting and brave ideas, especially on gay equality and abolishment of the dealth penalty.

Point 6:
If a field is a natural monopoly, subject that company to tight regulation. Such regulation should be by oversight boards that include a strong representation of consumers.

S'pore's public transport and media markets are arguably natural monopolies. Our domestic market is simply too small for small and fragmented players. Your suggestion of breaking up Mediacorp and SPH will wreck havoc there - look at their failed forays into each other's market. I think you're right to be anxious about consumer welfare, but we should avoid giving any party overwhelming authority.

Point 7:
We need to change course, and go back to more progressive taxation

S'pore's tax system has never been progressive in the first place. It has been highly tilted, with the top few percent of the population paying the largest proportion of income taxes.

Furthermore, though GST is a regressive tax, it can also be seen from an equity perspective, especially when there are so many foreigners working and so consuming here. There is also a case to keep it to ensure a reliable source of govt revenue.

Your suggestions on social safety net are sensible and beneficial, but the govt is adverse to this...so well...

Point 8:
More reform and streamlining is needed to deliver basic healthcare to all, that is either free or with only a small co-payment

Polyclinics? Such a system already exists.

It should be of a good standard without access impediments such as long waiting times

This statement tells nothing. It depends on which type of healthcare one is getting, and where. Polyclinics are expected to have a long waiting time, because of the heavy subsidies and other services offered. Furthermore, primary care is obtained from GPs - about 80 percent of the population.

I think your concerns on healthcare should be driven by future challenges posed by the elderly and advances in technology which lead to higher costs.

Point 9:
For the young, we will need a childcare centre in virtually every office block, open round the clock (since some adults have to work odd shifts). For the elderly, we need a comprehensive national system offering different levels of service, from regular house visits to retirement homes.

This is another very good idea, especially the round-the-clock part. This will definitely create some form of stability for families, and encourage them to have more children without having a disincentive of worrying over cost of living etc.