I WAS RECENTLY sent a long and detailed blueprint, with copious references, on how to build a new political party fit for the 21st century. The paper made a number of very good points; better connections with constituents, using the internet to canvas opinion, more accountability and empowering local communities.
Where the concept fell into a yawning chasm, however, was its silence on other, competing, parties. The authors seemed to think that a party along those lines would sweep into power, and, in the absence of a more attractive alternative, it possibly could. However, unless they propose a totalitarian state run by a single party, their dream is doomed. Just as people adapt to changing circumstances, so do political parties, especially ones that have just received a drubbing from the electorate. After any new party has enjoyed its brief ‘motherhood and apple pie’ honeymoon, realpolitik would then reassert itself and the electorate would be offered inducements to switch their allegiance.
Political parties depend on sowing dissent to gain power and the only way to halt this destructive process is to end tribal politics. We need to restructure the political system so that our representatives naturally seek consensus rather than conflict. We have tested adversarial government to destruction, the future lies elsewhere. We must ensure that professional politicians are henceforth unable to divide the electorate along ancient fault lines to further their own careers and narrow ideology.
It took a child to point out that ‘the king had no clothes’ and any child could tell us that our present system of government is not fit for purpose. The electorate have it in their power to end this charade by refusing to vote for any candidate standing on a party ticket. Once the democratic process becomes immune to the machinations of political parties, we will again be headed in the right direction.
The establishment will of course rubbish the idea that you can ‘take the politics out of politics.’ A subservient media dependent on access to the major political parties for copy will naturally protect them by ignoring or traducing outsiders. However, with the arrival of Donald Trump the game has changed out of all recognition. Trump may appear an innocent abroad but many of the others now stepping in to exploit the current situation in Europe are far from innocent.
We now have a choice, we either reform our political system so that it becomes fit for purpose, but in a manner that voters approve of, or we do nothing and wait for the inevitable hurricane to arrive.
Martin Greene writes on behalf http://freeparliament.org.uk and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org