It’s an oldie but a goodie, and it gets recycled every few years – our political leaders think we should have longer parliamentary terms. No matter that every time this one has been wheeled out for a referendum, it has been rejected.
The arguments in favour of a four year term seem to be that three years is too short, and that longer terms would enable politicians to take unpopular decisions and not be punished for it at the ballot box. That second reason is telling: the implication is that politicians are always right, and voters are just too silly to see it. As for the “too short” argument, it’s just a version of “how long is a piece of string?” What they really mean that terms are too short to make unpopular decisions i.e. we get bounced straight to the second “voters are too silly” reason.
There’s another version of the “voters are too silly” reason. Politicians have noticed that as every election rolls around, they seem to offer more and more bribes to the electorate. Then those wretched voters go and vote for them! If only we had four year terms, politicians wouldn’t need to offer as many bribes.
It’s not actually clear that the bribe problem really exists. For bribes to work, voters would have to be selfish, and vote only for themselves. But as it turns out, voters seem to vote based on who they think will do better for their country as a whole, not based on what they will get for themselves.
And even if the bribe problem was real, there would be one really straightforward way to stop it. Politicians could stop offering bribes.