Tuesday 10 January 2017

The oxygen of populism

The trouble with our current political system is that the views of the public at large are not getting through to our MPs. Yes, I know they all ‘bang on’ about how they are kept in touch by their constituency surgeries but in reality, they only get to meet a vocal minority with specific problems while the views of the vast majority are seldom brought or get to their attention. It could not be clearer, over recent years, that our politicians seldom if ever speak for the ‘people’.

The problems start with the need, for anyone considering a career in politics, to join a party and become part of the ‘tribe’ and accept their mantras for without the support of a party machine the chances of getting elected as an independent are very slim. Adopting the ‘party-line’, from the start of a political career, means fresh ideas are not getting into the political arena which does of course presume that prospective candidates do have them! So, for example, if a new politician is an ardent climate sceptic he or she would have to suppress their views for fear of jeopardise their career prospects. As Bernard Shaw said: ‘He knows nothing; he thinks he knows everything – that clearly points to a political career!’

So, our system of governance will only be reformed when our politicians have to seriously take into account the views of the majority which is what our six demands set out to do. Our first demand requires that the people are recognised as sovereign and from this the other demands follow. Then demand two, ‘Real Local Democracy’, would allow constituents to agree the level of pay of their MPs and set up a procedure for recall between elections if they so desired. Demand three, ‘Separation of Powers’, would enable the whole of Parliament to keep the executive in check with demands four and five giving the people real power to reject or approve the government’s proposed legislation and annual taxation requirements. Finally demand six pulls everything together in a new codified constitution.

So, when enacted, the six demands of The Harrogate Agenda would really reform our current system of governance by ensuring new systems were in place to allow the views of the majority to be heard when so desired. Our Agenda allows the oxygen of populism to puncture the Westminster bubble allowing fresh ideas to enter the system from the people for the people.