I see that David Cameron is this morning writing about constitutional refrom to take power away from Downing Street. One of the things suggested is fixed-term Parliament, thus removing the power of the PM to decide when to call a General Election. I'm broadly supportive of that but I think perhaps we could even go further, such as:
Take the fixed-term principle farther and don't have a general election of all seats, but rather split the electoral cycle for the seats into two, or even three?
This would mean that the make-up of the House, majorities, balance of power and the like could shift more easily. The legislative process would also be slowed, whcih is not a bad thing, and it could potentially protect against the super-majority that landslides deliver.
Obviously the disadvantage of this could be a feeling of constant elecitoneering. However, if only a third of seats were being contested, then a national campaign would just piss two thirds of the country off. It would be counter-productive.
Confirmation hearings for all Cabinet posts.
This would reduce the ad-hoc reshuffle and bring stability to the leadership in Government departments. Sacking someone would no longer be so easy because the Prime Minister would have to consider the fact the replacement would need to be confirmed.
Obivously both these ideas have other positive and negative aspects which I'm sure people will point out. However, it seems to me that the biggest problem we have is what de Tocqueville called the "tyranny of the majority".
If the current way the polls have been going is correct - and putting the impact of expenses aside - then Cameron may well be on course for a serious landslide. Government's with landslide majorities are not, and should not be desirable.
If you have such vast numbers that you don't even need to debatre something properly to make it law then bad laws will inevitably be signed. One look at some of the Bills of the last ten years is evidence of that. Note, when I said "bad laws" I refer more to their framing than the subject matter in particular.