Breaks between terms have proved ineffective. Likewise, allowing representatives to become senators and senators to become representatives, and so forth, is mere window-dressing. These arrangements invariably ensure that the same old faces turn up, time and time again, pulling the strings for the same special interests. What is needed are rules to put an end to professional politicians. Not only should the constitution limit legislative and executive officers to a single term of office, it should also prohibit the holding of subsequent executive or legislative office in the same jurisdiction.

These laws will make it impossible for a person to make a career out of being a politician. An honest architect, accountant, lawyer, farmer, shop-owner, department store manager, businessman—any person who has demonstrated a modicum of common sense—can perfectly well understand the affairs of state. And applying that understanding in a single term will do infinitely more good than a professional politician, who in most cases has no understanding of the affairs of ordinary people. Having suffered for so long under professional politicians, the people might be afraid at first to trust themselves with government. That is only natural; it is said that even the prisoners in gulags cried when they heard Stalin was dead—out of fear for the future.

This article is an extract from the book ‘Principles of Good Government’ by Matthew Bransgrove