Another model for bribing MPs

As you might have noticed, I have Flattr attached to my blog posts. It’s a system which gives me entire pennies in income and is mostly there as a vanity project.

Terence kindly Flattred my post on bribing MPs, which got me to thinking about another strategy for crowd-funding subverting the course of the democratic process by making our elected officials actually pay attention to the people they’re representing: We adopt the Flattr model. Let’s call it Bribr.

Here’s how I imagine it would work:

Every time a bill, debate or other significant event happened in parliament, we would have an electronic representation of which MPs took which sides. You could then choose to cast your vote of approval with a particular position. Every MP who took that position gets one bribry point from you (a lot of stuff goes through parliament. I imagine you could filter by some significant metrics in order to not get overwhelmed).

At the end of the month you are asked how happy you were with parliament this month. Happiness is a quantity measured in pounds sterling. That quantity is then divided by MPs according to how much you bribred each of them: If you only engaged in bribry over one issue and 10 MPs voted on that issue in accordance with your favour, they’d each get 10% of your monthly allocation.

So each MP ends the month with a certain amount of money, spread over bribs from many different people. Rather than giving them money directly there are a bunch of reward tiers – ideally you want a hundred or so different reward possibilities just to keep things varied – and the MP gets a reward appropriate to the amount of money they have assigned to them, with any not spent rolling over to the next month. Any MP who ends up with a truly ridiculous amount of money (say, multi thousands of pounds) gets one of the most lavish rewards plus a note saying “Hey. We really love what you’re doing. Is there anything you’d like that’s worth about this much?”

Moral status? I’m actually more comfortable with this then I am with the other one. You’re essentially just rewarding MPs for doing their jobs well. I’d still have to hold my nose a bit to run something like this, but I don’t think I’d have a problem using it. Legal status? Not sure. I don’t know enough about the bribery statutes to say one way or another. It’s clearly much closer to bribery than the other version, because people are being directly rewarded for their votes. Again, would have to talk to an actual lawyer.

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3 thoughts on “Another model for bribing MPs

  1. James

    Unfortunately, I think the legal bribes work through a sense of obligation rather than reward.

    1. david Post author

      Certainly this isn’t the normal model of bribery. I’d be surprised if getting regular monthly gifts from an organisation whose quality aligned well with how well that organisation approved of your behaviour didn’t create some effect though.

      Perhaps what is needed is evidence based bribery? Run a number of different mechanisms, see which ones are most likely to influence the result?

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