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Monday, 1 October 2012

A New Politics to end Tribal Politics

I have been banging on about tribal politics for some time, proclaiming the way forward to be open primaries using the 2009 Totnes open primary as a template.

I believe the open primary route could provide us with a way to diminish the power of the political parties that have stolen our democracy. However there may be other ways and I would be interested to hear from anyone who has ideas on other alternative ways forward

The problem with our current tribal politics is that it brings down the debate to the yah boo level, people are so busy defending their tribe they fail to consider the logic of the argument for change.

However many people have difficulty in seeing the advantages of the  political parties power diminished, they think it would cause chaos and that you cannot do without a party system.

Of course you cannot eliminate the party system, we are tribal after all and we like to be part of a team, but you can diminish their power.
Currently we select a candidate for MP either as directed from Party HQ or by the constituency party, we as the voters have no say in this so it is not surprising that party memberships have dropped dramatically, the Tories for example from 3 million in 1950 to 170,000 in 2012. This is unsustainable in a democratic country.

It cannot be right that our MP's enter parliament having being given a mandate by the voters to represent us, only to be promptly taken over by the party machine and told which way they must vote, despite their constituents.

This results in any party with a majority pushing through legislation without proper debate and with which a majority of the electorate may disagree. In poll after poll you find the electorate often support measures which their party does not, the electorate are a lot smarter than they are given credit for, they have common sense.

Imagine a House of Commons with MP's who are directly accountable to their electorate, meaning they can be recalled by their constituents and if needs be sacked for not representing their manifesto commitment. This would also preclude them from signing up to the party manifesto as a whole if they disagreed with some aspects, a further curb on the parties issuing manifesto's they have no intention of honouring. (Referendums!)

This would lead to a House of Commons with independently minded
MP's, who although being a member of a political party, need have no hesitation in voting against their party if they believed by doing so they would be representing the views of their constituents.

This would lead to the Political Parties having to convince ALL MP's of the logic of their proposed legislation, it would mean that the government could be voted down regularly if they were not listening.

I can already hear you saying this could cause chaos with governments continually resigning, but I don't believe this would happen, if you can't convince the MP's of the validity of your legislation then you have to drop it. In the event of a government's legislation continually being defeated, then yes they would have to resign, but that would be no bad thing.

We would end up with a mature thinking House of Commons with MP's  primary concern being their constituents, and if needs be voting accordingly, even if it meant voting for the other parties, and without a threat to their future as MP's within the party.

The Political Parties  would have to compete for the votes of all MP's, without the aid of whips, so becoming the servant of the MP's and not the master, and through them the electorate.