Hampshire cricket legend David Gower’s suggestion this week that townies should not be allowed to vote unless they pass exams on countryside issues opens up a whole hornets’ nest of ideas.

His musing to a radio station when asked what he would like to do if he ruled the world, revealed a frustration we all must recognise when it comes to politics in general.

It was Churchill who famously said that democracy didn’t work, it was just that we hadn’t come up with anything better to run the country with.

And the problem with giving everyone the vote, no matter what their level of understanding of complex issues, is that they do tend to put the wrong people into power, well at least half of the time. When democracy was first introduced into Britain you had to be fairly well off, own land and be male to get the vote. While the circumstances of property ownership changed down through the centuries the fact you were a woman was prohibitive until well into the last century.

With such hard-won rights it’s hard to see how we could ever go back to, as I have mooted before, only giving the vote to those who pay taxes, for instance. That would neatly rule out large chunks of teenagers who expect to live off their parents but merrily vote for parties that want to tax them to the hilt for solid social reasons.

No, that’s not likely to happen. But Mr Gower’s idea to sit a test before being allowed to tick the box is worth consideration.

It wouldn’t have to be restricted to rural matters of course, but extended across a whole raft of issues here a decent general knowledge might just prove you are worthy to have a say in who runs the nation. Questions might include: • How much electricity is needed to kick-start a wind turbine?

• If horse meat is safe and tastes good, why is it wrong to find it in a 25p burger?

• How many licence fees does it take to keep a BBC boss in lunches at The Ivy for a week?

Anyone who can’t answer those sorts of questions doesn’t deserve the government they get – or perhaps they do.