March 31, 2010
Just a quick note to say that I’ve had some problems with my email – but they are sorted now. So if you’ve emailed me recently then apologies for not responding / reacting as appropriate. I will get on it shortly.
If you do want to get in touch you can email me email@example.com or follow me on Twitter @independent_mps
Speak soon 😉
June 5, 2009
I realised that as I was writing this blog it was probably only fair that I told you a bit more about me. I’m not going to tell you my favourite colour or the name of my first cat or anything like that, but stuff that’s within the context of this blog and this discussion. So here’s a bit more about my politics.
I’ve always been interested in politics: the nature of ‘serving’; trying to do what’s best for whoever voted for you (and those that didn’t); the negotiation and debate; trying to rationalise which issues can be discarded to gain a greater good and which have to remain. I’ve also always been interested in the politics involved in so-called everyday situations: the office; buying a car; discussions amongst couples etc. However, I’ve never been particularly interested in political parties.
Traditionally I’ve been a Labour supporter – I remember watching the 1997 elections results from the US and being aware that history was being made and I was so far away. The benefit though, was that I could watch it until the result was obvious and then go out for dinner to celebrate. As a teenager I grew up under the Thatcher Government and detested that whole era. I detested the individualism and the class wars that Thatcher seemed to promote. Yet at the same time over the last few years I have become equally disillusioned with New Labour, especially over the dodgy dossier and the Iraq War.
So that’s a very brief history of my political affiliations … for what it’s worth.
PS – But of course this is nothing to do with my political views – I’m not going to be standing. It’s all about trying to allow other people to have their political views heard … and be represented by real people not parties.
June 3, 2009
The political system at the moment seems to be ruled by a political class, but there is a good reason for that: to get elected to parliament you need to have money and infrastructure behind you. Currently the best way of receiving both of them is to be a member of a political party, work your way up through the ranks, showing your support and allegiance, hoping that the pay off will be winning election. In other words you have to be a career politician.
Another way that is being discussed at the moment is to be a celebrity. By the nature of your celebrity you will already have in place some money and infrastructure in place (or fairly easy access to both).
I’ve nothing against career politicians or celebrities and I’m sure that there are many decent people amongst them who would (and are) make outstanding representatives of the people in parliament. However, both groups seem detached from the ‘ordinary person’ and that detachment doesn’t seem very healthy to me.
My view is that there is probably a fair number of people that would be interested in becoming an MP and serving their local community (and a relatively high demand for that from voters). However a lot of people who may be interested in being an MP are being put off by the cost (deposits, cost of printing literature and other publicity as well potentially time off work); the scale of the task (posting flyers or knocking on the door of everyone in your constituency, not to mention creating and managing policies); and the fact that winning is probably unlikely.
I think some form of support network is needed to help those people out. This would definitely not be a political party in the traditional sense – there would be no manifesto and once elected no whips – instead it would offer support – financial, physical, organisational and perhaps emotional to help these people take on the satus quo.
The network would not be about trying to match the established parties politically – that’s up to each individual independent candidate. But it would be about trying to match the parties’s infrastructure.
Perhaps then we could have a fair fight at the ballot box and we would be able to offer the electorate a real alternative.
June 2, 2009
This blog has been set up to discuss the possibility of setting up a network or group or club (or whatever) of independent political candidates (and hopefully MPs). I’m going to use this blog as a way to express my views and thoughts and to work out what it is exactly that I think about this. Hopefully it will generate some comment, start debates and refine and prove (or disprove) some of my thoughts.
The immediate background to this is of course the scandal around MPs expenses, however I’m not going to discuss any of the individual cases. Instead I want to discuss what I think the scandal has highlighted – and that is the fact that we currently have a ‘political class’ in the UK that feels and acts like a members club that is subject to its own rules.
I think that lots of people feel detached from the political process and the scandal has brought that to a head. The current political system and the current political parties don’t seem to represent the people any more. Now more than ever the old adage “It doesn’t matter who you vote for, the Government always gets it” seem true.
Recently there has been a lot of talk in the media about independent candidates standing in the next election against some of the most ‘shamed’ MPs. However, I have two big issues with these discussions:
1 – They’re only talking about standing against the so-called worst offenders. Why shouldn’t all constituencies have independent candidates? I feel that the problem is with the system, the parties and the ‘club’ that has developed; the individuals are just a representation of that.
2 – It is mainly ‘celebrities’ that are being discussed as potential candidates. I have nothing against celebrities per se (and I heard Esther Rantzen on 5Live answer the question very well recently by saying that she is an ordinary person, who just happens to be well known for what she does), however I feel that this should be about ‘real’ people taking back the political process.
While all these thoughts were running around in my head I came across this post by Lloyd Davis and the twitter hashtag #LloydDavis4MP (and the excellent follow-up post) and I realised that I wanted to get involved.
So I’m going to write this blog for a bit and see what happens. If it seems that other people are interested too then we might have something, if not then we’ll just have to lump it if our ‘elected officials’ fail us again.