Over the years we’ve extended the right to vote to all our adult citizens in a desire to have a representative democracy, is it now time to take the final, logical step in that process and abolish political parties?
Where once they were mass movements they’ve slowly restricted the influence of their members, driving down membership numbers to become almost wholly reliant on the donations of a few unions and millionaires.
With ‘cash for honours’ having scared away some of the more generous benefactors they’re now eying up our wallets. Funding themselves by appealing to more people doesn’t seem to have occurred to most of the political classes.
As they dash to their so-called ‘centre ground’ – which has seen the privatisation of chunks of the NHS, the sale of schools to millionaires and the near-eradication of affordable housing wihtout voters having been offered an alternative approach – and fight expensive media wars in a few marginal seats they wonder aloud why fewer people participate in the democratic process.
It’s difficult to know who the parties represent these days but increasingly many of us feel ‘not me’.
At present we’re expected to believe that every Labour, Tory or LibDem MP believes exactly the same as ever other. Anyone who speaks out risks being disciplined by the party machine. The system demands absolute loyalty to party and scant regard to the wishes of voters.
With parties gone we’d remove the artificial divisions which hamper public debate in our country.
Issues could be debated openly and honestly until a genuine consensus was formed. An end to political parties would mean no more leaders trying to score points on who is the better defender of this service or that initiative whilst simultaneously cutting the funding or saddling the taxpayer with private debt so they can also present themselves as a ‘low tax’ party.
There would be no more parliamentary success for unpopular policies which are currently pushed through in the face of public opposition.
Instead of ‘our’ representatives obeying party whips, independent councillors, MPs and Assembly Members would need to show loyalty to their electorate. Without a party machine to fall back anyone who went against the wishes of the voters would find themselves out of a job.
Imagine the liberation of knowing that that your vote actually counted.