(Just to be sure there is no leaping to conclusions here: the B-word was a bad idea that has turned putrid. This is about something else.)
INDEPENDENT NO MORE
To my utter dismay, the ten MP’s who left their respective parties to go independent have now decided to turn themselves into a political party. Not only that, but they have adopted the worst possible name – Change. Aside from being sued for using an already registered name, this is the most over-used, hackneyed, clichéd name in politics, and means nothing any more. I understand that they believe that being registered as a political party means that they can do stuff and get stuff they could not otherwise. But what? Here’s what the rules, as applied by the Electoral Commission, say:
Registration of a political party is not compulsory and you can only apply to register a party if you have an intention to contest elections. Independent candidates can contest elections without a party being registered. The main benefit of registering is that your party name, description and emblem can appear on the ballot papers.
So if they stand as independent candidates, they have nothing to lose. Other than their deposits, possibly, and the seats wherever they stand. But that can happen, and has done, to political party candidates many times. Indy candidates do not have to register with the EC, and the paperwork and expense that this entails can be avoided entirely.
POLITICAL PARTIES – OUT OUT OUT
Somewhere in the Electoral Commission EC, website, it says that political parties are essential to the democratic process. This is nonsense, and the EC has no right to be making propaganda like this. The fact is that while political parties need democracy, democracy does not need political parties. And given what is happening right now in Britain, there is every reason to feel that the Parties Are Over, and that their day is done. A new dispensation is now essential, and the starting point is to have a House of Commons where the majority (at least 400) are Independent members. More would be even better. From there, many things need to be stripped down to the foundations and rebuilt. Believe me, there is nothing anarchic about this. I stress that the foundations are still there and there they will stay.
THE PARTY’S OVER
For many years, I have
What does my book say in summary? Here’s a taster:
- A House of Commons controlled by Independent MP’s, and any such MP who then seeks to join a political party must resign the seat and look for re-election. No more “crossing the floor”
- General Elections every five years, without any possibility of that being changed by Parliament
- No MP from either House may be a Government minister, or work for the government in any capacity, and vice-versa
- A much-reduced government run by experienced and expert people, recruited and approved by a 75% vote of both Houses – and answerable to Parliament at any time
- Abolition of the House of Lords, replaced by an elected senate
- A written British Constitution with certain clauses entrenched – meaning that they cannot be amended without a 75% majority vote by both Houses
A substantial part of the book deals with the fundamental and essential business of electing serious, qualified people as Independent MP’s – why it must be done, and how it can be done.
WHAT HAS THE B-WORD DONE FOR US?
The best, possibly the only good thing to have emerged from the B-word mess is that has highlighted, under a very bright light indeed, that party politics is corrupt, shot through with bad and out-of-date practice and made rotten through the terrible business of political debt, with promises of preferment and threats of dismissal or silently being side-lined.
AN HONOURABLE JOB AT THE TOP
A new dispensation must be based on the concept that becoming an elected member of Parliament is the pinnacle of public service, not merely a path towards that greasy pole to government jobs.