Why we need a new kind of party

Why start a new party?

Surely there is a range of parties to suit all political tastes already available?

This is certainly what the current crop of parties would have you believe.  It’s just a matter of matching your political instincts to a party’s profile and joining up, isn’t it?

Or does it seem to you that the antics of our politicians resemble two teams of clowns fighting over who gets to drive the clown car?  The red team wants to turn left.  The blue team wants to turn right.  No-one seems concerned at how battered the car gets.  It’s all part of the fun!  It works for the circus, but it looks somewhat out of place in Formula One.  Our politicians seem not to reflect or represent British excellence at all, and the British people are increasingly frustrated with their apparent ineptitude.

Whatever your political instincts, you seriously have to question whether the current set-up can offer you any hope.

Let’s suppose your politics lead you to favour and support the Labour Party.  You’re doomed to frustration.  Labour governments will always be undermined,  sabotaged and side-lined by the big-business interests who’ll campaign relentlessly for a Labour Government to fail, because they know that waiting in the wings they have their Conservative Party place-men ready to do their bidding once they can get them back into power.  If you vote in a Labour government, you can be sure and certain of one thing – one day the Tories will be back, to undo anything that Labour have done.

On the other hand, suppose you’re a dyed in the wool true-blue Tory, keen to set loose and free the wondrous forces of nature that lead to the decent and hard-working folk being rewarded for their endeavours, with God in his Heaven and little Harry’s name down for Eton.  Hurrah! – Well, the same disappointment awaits. Labour will be back once your less subtle adherents have crashed the clown car by steering it into the wall on the right.

Neither of the two major parties offer a sustainable continuity of purpose for Britain, and each is contemptuous of the other, or at least they feel they have to pretend to be.  So what passes for political debate in Britain is a ludicrous and relentless feud between two groups of dogmatists who feel compelled to reject and deride the ideas of the other side – even if they think the ideas have merit.  It really is a pathetic spectacle.  We’re such a sophisticated and creative nation.  It’s a disgrace that our politics is so lacking in both.

Between these two never to be reconciled political foes lies the great bulk of the British people.  They are fair-minded and open to hearing a decent argument for any new idea, and happy to consider it on its merits – something you couldn’t possibly say about the two sets of political outliers that we are constantly told we must choose between.

And are they really all that different?  We hear a lot of arguments about how Parliament is unrepresentative of the British electorate because there are not enough women MP’s.  But it’s far, far worse than that.  There are very few scientists and engineers who are MP’s.   There are no young people.  In recent years there have been very few new MP’s who’ve done anything other than pursue a career in politics.  All they know is how the system of politics operates.   Party loyalty.  How to win elections.  The same dull and out-dated political rhetoric that they’ve rehearsed for decades.

Our politicians do not represent the people of this country.  They represent the remnants of a cabal of enthusiasts for a grab-bag of arguments that are hardly relevant to the problems the modern world presents us with.

We could sweep them aside with a broader based party which more properly represented the views of the vast majority of the British people.  A genuinely democratic party that would allow all its members an equal say.

The Internet puts such a party within our grasp.    It would look completely different to the current crop of parties.

The Labour Party has 193,000 members.

The Conservative Party’s membership has been estimated at 177,000, and getting less every day as its members die off and are not replaced by young people joining.

The Lib-Dems have around 65,000.

If you look into the details of how each of the main parties makes policy you’ll find them all profoundly undemocratic.  Worse still, many of the movers and shakers of our two main political parties are inventing policies only for the sake of satisfying their respective party grandees and donors, in pursuit of career advancement.   Their policy ideas often have very little to do with what is good for the country.  So many of our politicians now are university educated in humanities subjects like economics or politics, their instinct is always to find out what they need to do to get a passing grade.  The idea that they are in Parliament to serve the people hardly seems to occur to them.

A new and more broad-based party that actually considered ideas on their merits and voted the best people and the best ideas to the top via a constantly-in-session internet caucus could grow its membership beyond that of the current crop of parties in a matter of months. Imagine a party where you didn’t have to make it to the meetings to be frustrated by the procedures, the pedants and the long-winded bores that occupy so much of grass roots politics and put so many people off it.   A party where you could join in the debates from where-ever and whenever you wanted, and for as much or as little time as you wanted, where your vote always counts.  No party conference.  No local meetings that have to be attended.  Just the nearest thing to a genuine democracy that we can possibly achieve.

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