Wednesday, September 20, 2006

An end to political parties?

Also in today's Times, Danny Finkelstein has written a piece regarding Clare Short's call for a hung parliament. In it he highlights the paradox of political behaviour these days arguing that:

"Voters and the media ask parties for total unity and want MPs to be completely authentic. Politicians are simultaneously expected to say exactly the same thing as every other member of their party and to be true to themselves. This is obviously impossible.... Bridging the unbridgeable contradiction between unity and authenticity has turned politics into an elaborate game for insiders."

Personally I think that this is a very good point, excellently made, and I'm not just saying that because he gave me a complimentary quote for my banner. However, the implications of addressing the problem seem to me to be far more significant.

If politicians are only able to genuinely "re-connect" with the electorate by having the freedom to say what they believe rather than falsely maintaining an air of unity, does that not mean the abolishment of the whip as a concept to some extent? Does it not also imply a rethink, perhaps a regressive rethink, of the very role of political parties in Britain today?

Daniel Finkelstein has certainly highlighted the problem, is the solution a return to a Parliament of individuals rather than party political robots?


CityUnslicker said...
20 Sep 2006 11:34:00  

sounds like anarchism to me. Clearly we would all like politicians to lie to us less and be more honest; but where would the agreement be? what would get done?

Agree that govt doing less is a strong plus here; but we do need to fight wars, prtect our borders, organise the police and health services. What would be the point if there was no government?

Finally, then who would we all moan about??

leon said...
20 Sep 2006 11:48:00  

Interesting post, have picked it up over at PP for further discussion.

Anonymous said...
20 Sep 2006 12:42:00  

Thought this way for some time, otherwise there is no point being an MP if it just to be a drone of the Queen Bee in Cabinet- Also for independently elected Mayors and Chief Constables, if the latter cannot fight crime, Vote him/her out to replace with somebody who can. Its all about accountability- nobody appears to be accountable about anything anymore, they just want more of our cash.

Ross Parker said...
20 Sep 2006 14:09:00  

An elected Lords to represent the people, a PR commons to represent the party lines. Why not?

Average guy on the street said...
20 Sep 2006 15:00:00  

I agree. In my opinion, the problem with the party system is that you may only agree with, say, 60% of the manifesto (but only 40% of everyone else's manifestos) but you are stuck with the entire document if your party is elected. There is also the problem with accountability - party MP's are accountable only to the chief whip and do not care about us.

ThunderDragon said...
20 Sep 2006 16:50:00  

That could only ever work if the government was formed from within parliament. And it would remove most of the benefits of the Westminster Model, as Parliament would no longer be "effective" (ie. able to pass laws).

UK Daily Pundit said...
20 Sep 2006 19:49:00  

You might have picked it up Leon but the last time I looked at your blog you'd forgotten to hat-tip it.

leon said...
21 Sep 2006 10:37:00  

Eh? I started off the entry mentioning Dizzy by name and linked to him after quoting him:

I think it's plainly obvious the credit is there but if Dizzy feels it's not enough I'm more than happy to amend the post.:)

dizzy said...
21 Sep 2006 10:40:00  

Now now children! Stop bickering!

leon said...
21 Sep 2006 10:44:00  

Hey Dizzy, more than happy to edit the piece to make it clearer it came from you, it's no trouble.

UK Daily Pundit said...
21 Sep 2006 10:54:00  

My apologies Leon, you did indeed link to the story. Next time I visit your blog I will make sure I click on the big link in the title. I wondered why your posts were always so short.

dizzy said...
21 Sep 2006 10:56:00  

it's fine leon.

leon said...
21 Sep 2006 11:12:00  

Oh right, lol! No probs Pundit.:) is a participant in the Amazon Europe S.à.r.l. Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising programme designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to