British politics is yet to experience the shock of the moment where it’s changed forever by the internet, but it surely can’t be far away. The pantomime feuding between our two main parties is a pathetic distraction from the real problems we face, and it’s well known that people are hungry for change.
What perhaps isn’t so well known is just how frail the grass roots support for our main parties really is. Membership of all the parties is at a spectacular low point, something they conspire to keep quiet about. The people who want to see real change vastly outnumber the memberships of the parties we have to choose from.
Neither party can claim any kind of match for the bell curve of British political opinion. Real democracy surely lives at the peak of that curve, but the only time politicians engage with it is when they need votes. Day to day, their interests lie in taking control of their parties. More and more of our MP’s are careerists who’ve studied politics at university, and we’ve come to trust them less and less. This is a tragedy, because the kind of new thinking and expertise we need tends to come from people who’ve worked in the real world.
The general air of frustration has produced an even more bizarre situation, where there’s a complementary curve – the more moderate people are, the less likely they are to get involved,because they don’t see themselves as “being political”, which has increasingly come to mean belonging to the extremes.
And feeding the problem is our wonky first past the post system, which regularly delivers us a government that the majority don’t want.
Our proposal to improve matters is to start a new party that uses the power of the internet to make itself genuinely democratic. The party’s website will also be its caucus – the source of the party’s philosophy, constitution, policies and candidate selection, on a one member, one vote basis.
It will develop systems to find the best ideas, vote them to the top of the agenda, refine them and make them into policy. And all in plain sight – anyone who’s not a member will be able to watch the proceedings, but won’t be able to comment or vote.
We think this must be the way forward, because reforming the old parties would take much longer and be far more difficult than simply starting a new one.
So imagine with us, a new kind of party.
A party where as a member you could contribute as much or as little as you wanted, without the meetings and annual conferences where the old hands and fervent activists take charge and skew the agenda.
A party that would regard evidence as crucial to the debate, and seek advice from genuine independent experts.
A party where rich and powerful people and corporations can’t buy undue influence through lobbying and sponsorship and cosy-ing up to our representatives they way they do at the moment.
If you’d like to see such a party become a reality, help us grow the seedling into a sapling by donating to our crowd-funder so that we can start building the website that will be the party’s home.
See it as a kind of investment – an investment that could return a new politics where the best ideas win, instead of the tawdry blame shifting and slap-stick quarrelling between dogma salesmen that we have at the moment.