I have always held the belief that the following should apply to anyone seeking election:
1. Must of held a non-political job for 10 years. Define 'non political' what about someone who works in the NHS, non political, but what if they were also a shop steward and sponsored by a union, political.
2. Must be a resident of the contituency that they wish to represent (5 years Min). How do you get someone to stay/move to a constituency without guaranteeing them a job at the end? Remember only one of the people standing gets elected.
3. No criminal convictions. Fair enough, but what about "spent convictions"?
4. No second job or representative on any board of a company or charity. What if an MP is or wants to join the Reserve Forces, not allowed? If it is allowed, how can you stop others?
5. All private accounts to be audited annually to ensure no bribes or spurious payments are being taken. I think there is something like that, albeit loosely applied, already in place.
I think you need to be careful about comparing safe seats with rotten boroughs..
Rotten boroughs were a quirk of 19th C electoral changes, where MPs existed for seats where there was effectively no constituency such as Old Sarum. The seat was in the gift usually of a landowner or similar individual and no voting took place. There are actually a few of these still about such as the Chiltern Hundreds and the Crown Steward and Bailiff of the Manor of Northstead, both of which remain as mechanisms to allow an MP to resign.
All MPs in the modern Parliament have to be elected by their constituents. If the constituents choose to vote along party lines then that is their choice. That is democracy in action at the end of the day. No seat is ever that secure as can be seen from the swing from Labour to SNP in recent years, with safe seats falling like ninepins..
I think you need to be really careful about playing games with elections. History would seem to suggest that the electorate is not nearly as stupid as the media would suggest. UK is used to a two party system, which has a certain self regulating effect. PR would seriously unbalance this, and the complex system of power and influence that exists around it. PR would lead to uncertainty, and this is never a good thing.
If you want to do something about the political system.. join it..
I see your point on 1, and would maybe a difficult one. 2, that should be easy, this stops parties parachuting someone in which is the whole point. 3. If they are spent then that would be OK, 4. Maybe an approved list of 2nd Jobs allowed and which sectors. 5. It would need to be properly managed and auditied.
You wait until I list the reforms to the House I would have.
1. Expenses only for travel, food and accomodation where it is directly linked to Parlimentary work. Agree. I would tighten up the "two house" rules though (see also 2 below) and cut down on that drastically, extending the distance that commuting is expected of MPs. I bet the staff aren't allowed two homes!
2. A hotel to be purchased and used by MP's if they need accomodation overnight in London, no second homes. Food will be provided. It would end up the most luxurious and expensive hotel in the country/world!
3. Clocking in, all MP's to clock in and out. Failure to clock in and out results in deductions of pay. Failure to attend Parliment without good reason results in fines. What about MPs holding ministerial posts whose job takes them away from parliament? MOs also visit their constituencies so would you allow a four day working week? Where would MPs clock in as they have a large number of places to work from and who would police this?.
4. Failure to attend 80% of debates will result in a 20% reduction in wages. Very few debates require all MPs to be in attendance, just those with an interest in the subject and those who have been delegated by their party to attend. Indeed, the Chamber can't hold all MPs and a requirement to sit in 80% of debates would soon put huge pressure on the Chamber.
Point 1, agreed and as I said only expenses that are directly related to Parlimentary work so a 2nd home is not within that remit. 2. This could be open to Audit and would have to be no more than a 3-4* , as it is for overnight stays, use same caterers as the Forces for food with the same budget...want to eat out pay at your own expense. 3. I did say without good reason, same as my work I am expected to clock in to show attendence but I have a program that allows me to book business leave, holidays etc from my phone. 4. POint taken but either increase house size or reduce number of MP's to accomodate .