I have a question.
Why do we have political parties?
It's something that struck me about the mayoral elections here in London, especially. The coverage wasn't Tory vs. Labour, but Boris vs. Ken and this got me wondering if people were voting for individuals of for the parties they represent. Then, if people are voting for individuals, then what is the point in having political parties at all?
It seems like over the last decade, the political parties have shifted positions an awful lot, dodging each other as they all slalom left and right to the point where you can't recognise left and right in any meaningful way when the Labour party has proved to be terrifyingly authoritarian in reality, despite initial promises of liberalisation.
Now, I know they're all vying to keep their jobs as a part of the generally sleek and efficient system of government that we have in the country - an elected oligarchy operating under a system of constitutional monarchy without a constitution, with accountability to a European Union of nations and responsibility among a Commonwealth of former colonies over whom our current rule is generally purely religious, although the gays look set to ruin that as the politics of the church migrate - but what I'm not certain about is why, in an era where communication is a "publish post" away from reaching millions (not from this blog, sadly), why we're still seeing a herd mentality in politics. Isn't it just a bit weird and cultish?
Now, I can understand if one of the reasons for having a political party was to help finance people who couldn't otherwise rise in politics to achieve positions of authority, but doesn't that mean that politicians are bound to be influenced by the people who've paid for their ascension. It's one of the things that worries me about the ongoing Barack vs. Hillary thing is the amount of money being flung behind both of them in order to finance their struggle for power. Surely those sponsors will expect some kind of payback in the future?
I'm sure there's a really good reason for it, but I'm not sure I can see it. Sure, it streamlines democracy if you control people in power by forcing them into at least nominal alliances, but that also allows you to bulldoze through stupid laws that the next voting bloc will undo.
Can someone have a go at explaining to me what the benefits of the system are? We don't have proportional representation and we don't really have a system that gives independent candidates a fighting chance, which just seems quite undemocratic. Not that we ever have had a democracy in this country, for all our bluster.
Actually. What I'd like to see in order to make this country wonderful:
1: Abolition of political parties as being essentially undemocratic constructs.
2: Enforce mandatory voting, so that no-one can claim a mandate on a 30% turnout.
3: Allow a "none of the above" option for protest voters to make their voices clearly heard.
Of course, the challenge would then be what to do if "none of the above" won the vote, but in a system where you had to vote and you had to know who you were voting for and what they believed in and one where it's not a wasted vote to vote for less mainstream politicians, you'd hope that we'd see fewer people either apathetic about politics or unable to identify with any of the candidates.
What do you think?