An idea from Matthew Parris that will unite political activists everywhere

by Stephen Tall on August 14, 2014

head over heels in the letterboxThe Lib-Con Coalition may have run out-of-steam, but Conservative MP-turned-columnist Matthew Parris has identified a policy around which the two parties could happily unite. Indeed, his proposal might even form the basis for a Rainbow Coalition of all the parties.

What’s prompted the idea is that Matthew’s been out delivering leaflets recently. And it has unleashed within him his ‘inner fascist’:

I want order. I want consistency. I want standards. And I want eye-watering penalties for property owners who try their fellow Britons’ patience and waste our time by making their addresses impossible to find. I am driven to distraction by the merry chaos of British residential and commercial addresses, and if I crick my back one more time stooping to try to force a flimsy paper envelope through a vicious ankle-level steel trap of a letterbox, I shall resign as a libertarian and howl for regulation.

So here’s his solution:

‘Mediating’ grassroots candidate-selection meetings I often ask would-be candidates: if you were lucky in the Commons ballot and won the chance to sponsor a Private Member’s Bill, what would it be? After a lifetime of delivering and canvassing, I know what mine would be. I can hear the Commons Clerk reading it out now …

‘A Bill to establish a rational system of street numbering for domestic and commercial addresses; and for the application of compulsory common standards for the elevation, internal dimensions, resistance of spring-loaded flaps and density of draft-excluders, of all letter boxes designed for general use; for greater clarity in the siting of such letter boxes; for ease of access to and between such letter boxes; and for associated purposes.’

Make that Item #1 in the next Programme for Government.

* Stephen Tall is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, and editor of the 2013 publication, The Coalition and Beyond: Liberal Reforms for the Decade Ahead. He is also a Research Associate for the liberal think-tank CentreForum and writes at his own site, The Collected Stephen Tall.

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