Now the grisly tedium of the party conference season has descended on us like a urine soaked blanket, it may be worth thinking about... oh I don't know...
...how about systems of government?
Sadly, all political systems are corruptible because people are corruptible so institutions and systems are corruptible, however well designed.
Maybe our best defence against corruption is transparency – in many ways our only defence. Sound political systems are transparent simply because transparency allows feedback. Our present UK system may have numerous deficiencies but that wouldn’t matter too much if we had transparency. Unfortunately we don’t – we have complexity which reduces transparency.
Of course some political systems are prone to promote corruption while others are less prone, so systems can help – a necessary but insufficient condition one might say.
Anyone may easily compile their own list of basic standards for assessing any system of government, it isn't the slightest bit difficult. Here’s one I cooked up earlier after a good, solid thirty second think :-
A well-written constitution.
A fair and transparent tax system.
A plebiscite system for major issues.
Unbiased news media.
Strong local government.
A well-educated electorate.
How are we doing so far?