The failure of our party-political system to cope with the demands of government have become all too apparent over several decades now. As the policy makers are hardly going to vote themselves out of office by changing the basis on which they are elected, it is time to establish a new dominant but elected grouping that has only one objective: changing the machinery of representation.
Why have we changed our voting between parties historically? Not because of success at running the country but as a result of failure. Yes there have been some instances where a party has stayed in for more than one term because they appeared to be delivering sufficient ‘bribes’ to the electorate (with the voter’s own money of course) or frequently because the last lot in power fell apart in such a big way towards the end that the people have no faith in them.
Essentially, most of the electorate have voted for the best of a bad bunch and that accounts for the decline there has been in election turnouts. Yes there have been other influences such as hedonism and general social apathy, but the perception from any straw poll you care to run is that politicians do not tell the truth and, with a few notable exceptions, are only in it for the rewards of power (great aphrosisiac) and money.
Another danger from our traditional party political system is that it has become a career path, with more effort being put into the internal and external processes of party politics rather than the careful analysis of issues and the crafting of long-lasting if at times painful solutions.
Why has the BBC news become such a turnoff? It repeatedly tells us the most important story of the day (the one that comes first) is some internal party row/plot or a bout of point scoring in a debate. It really helps to drive down voter interest.
So how to set about change if the main two parties are naturally opposed to measures such as proportional representation and concensus government? The electorate have already shown their views by switching to minor parties at the European Elections, I would suggest because it is the only way to be taken notice of.
Of course the politicians interpreted the message as just the controversy over their expenses and the rule book saying what they could claim. Sort that out and the public would love them again, they tried to convince us. Wrong!
What would happen if we had a party with just one aim – to bring in a fairer system that gave parties a number of seats proportional to their share of the national vote. The party would promise to do nothing else in terms of governance and have a new election as soon as the legislation had been passed.
It would be the ideal way to achieve a referendum on the change and by-pass the vested interests that would otherwise block any such move.