The 6 year stretch
This is not a new topic in Britain. Very reasonable proposals were developed and presented between 2004 and 2010, on how to change the involvement of the people in the decisions that affect them. These proposals came from individuals who were not on the fringes of either the fanatical obsessed left or right wings of British politics but rather by groups and individuals with a genuine objective of improving the lot of all. However, the political party establishments rejected all of these proposals and yet they are supposed to be the "representative of the people" of this country.
The Power Commission
This inquiry was ably Chaired by Helena Kennedy who asked politicians to treat democratic reform as a non-partisan necessity. The recommendations in the Power Report included capping donors, voter-initiated legislation, lowering the voting age, monitoring lobby activities, restricting the power of part whips, replacing the first-past-the-post election system by a better system, eliminating election deposits and closed party lists, the realignment of some constituency boundaries and the decentralization of power to local government.
This truly outstanding work touched on most of the burning issues as to why there was a loss of support and confidence in political parties, but these reasonable recommendations were not accorded a serious consideration and response from government or political parties.
Tony Blair as prime minister, all but ignored this Report; this was to become a bad habit for most independent reports submitted to this government for the duration of is existence. On the other hand, the most significant report actually published by that government was a dossier to justify an illegal war and this contained misrepresentation which "misled" parliament.
However two relevant and interesting events took place after this impasse.
Hector McNeill, the constitutional economist, published a book on the British Constitution in 2007 and entitled "The Briton's Quest for Freedom .. Our unfinished journey.." that contained a detailed series of arguments as to why the operation of democracy in the UK would be more beneficial and productive if political parties were done away with. This was not some anarchistic extremist rant, there was no detectable leaning either to the right or left, but rather a reasoned logical analysis that identified some 49 significant constraints on the freedom on the people of Britain. All of them were introduced over time and are currently sustained by political parties.
Related to this was an explanation of why and how the Labour party intentionally changed its strategy to transform itself from being a party of conviction to a machine designed to gain and remain in power.
Although McNeill proposed an operational system without parties the follow up to this theme came three years later in a more proactive and daring fashion. Sir Paul Judge formed the Jury Team as a campaign to transform politics by operating without political parties. He also published a justification in 2010 very much in line with McNeill's analysis and listing many of the points raised in the Power Report of 2006.
At that time CybaCity.com was operational having been organized to initiate online voting but as a result of assessments of the likelihood of fraud associated with online voting, this objective was abandoned. However the specialists from CybaCity.com as well as several contributors to the APEurope Group media were of the opinion that the Jury Team initiative did not gain sufficient media support and therefore coverage was inadequate. One reason for this was the inherent bias by all parties against this initiative. In addition the initial "primary voting" system using texting which was open to abuse and therefore unreliable. An additional reality that created a significant issue and undermined Judge's intent, was the fact that in order to register to receive votes the Jury Team had to register as a political party which caused the notion of "politics without parties" to have no basis in fact.
In this case, the person proposing politics without parties, was someone with more direct experience in British politics. Paul Judge had served as the Director General of the Conservative Party and as a Ministerial Advisor to the Cabinet Office.
McNeill's book in fact pointed out the many Catch-22 traps facing those wishing to run as mass movements as opposed to political parties and the legislation covering general elections is one of these. The constitution does not support, in reality, a free movement of people to move to become community representatives without being tied to a political party. There is the option to register as an independent candidate but there needs to be a category for "movements" to allow them to field several candidates under a recognizable banner.
However, there is no doubt that Sir Paul Judge was on the right track and it is disappointing that the Jury Team proved to be unsuccessful in gaining a seat in Parliament. This was an impressive and pioneering effort and the idea was not as preposterous as many might now wish to make out; it was and is an idea whose time has come. However, the forces amassed against any initiative that is associated with non party politics is countered by corporations, the financial services industry and therefore the media. The reason for this is that unstructured organizations are more difficult to control through corruption or compromise. Indeed, the significance of Sir Paul Judge's initiative becomes increasingly clear when one delves more deeply what has been happening currently in British politics.
The Power Strategy
Chapter 14 of "The Briton's Quest for Freedom .. Our unfinished journey..", is entitled "The Power Strategy". This describes a power strategy devised by the Labour party which was planned by the New Marxists in collaboration with Neil Kinnock, but he proved to be unelectable. All of the tactics devised were designed to deliver a long term strategy for gaining and then staying in power by making use of a range of devices, almost all of which are based on deception. The notable fact is that this strategy is still rolling and the tactics are now applied by the two main political parties today.
In 1985, Neil Kinnock made a speech to the Labour Party conference signalling the start of a purge of Marxists from the party which anticipated the creation of New Labour. This was, in reality, part of the New Marxists strategy to deflect the negative association of the Labour party with a distorted view of Marxism and a whole collection of other leftish -isms used as a punch bag by the British media to this day. Because Labour lost the 1992 election the spotlight came off the New Marxists who had turned their attention to the recently "liberated" former Soviet Union satellite countries. There they had a remarkable success with the populations voting in new "democratic" parties" whose politicians were former Communist party apparatchiks. Many so-called "Young Communists" becoming overnight millionaires, now referred to as oligarchs, as a result of a widespread corruption of the privatization schemes of state assets enthusiastically funded by the EU and USAID. Some of these became leading politicians in post Soviet period governments of countries that later joined the European Union.
Although between 1992 and 1997 it was not at first perceived, this book chapter describes the intent of Gordon Brown and Tony Blair's theatrical acts of window dressing as aspects of this same Power Strategy. To please the City, Brown took full control over all shadow portfolios to reduce their size and he added a sweetener, he promised to make the Bank of England independent. Blair got rid of Clause 4, not on the basis of any logic, but by inciting a visceral response by party and union decision makers to the provocative and loaded question,
There was an increasing need to apply Orwellian "double-think" to decode both statements and acts. Thus Brown's first act in 1997 was to make the Bank of England independent, but in reality, his principal motivation was make sure the Labour party could never be blamed for defective monetary policy. This was in the light of the high interest rate policy imposed by the Conservative government becoming a major factor in its demise as a result of people losing their homes through repossession. The opportunity cost for this "passionate socialist" was to hand control over the control of monetary policy to the Bank and the financial services industry.
The Power Strategy, "to secure and stay in power", was taken up by Blair with enthusiasm and considerable "success" and morphing into Blairism; however it was not an original idea conjured up by Blair but was something whose foundation had been laid, with intent, 12 years before. Like a Communist apparatchik Blair ran his sofa government, often taking decisions without Cabinet involvement, and leading the country into war through a parliamentary vote making use of false arguments recorded in a dossier, with contributions from the party media spin apparatchik and passed off as an intelligence report. It was full of misrepresentations of the facts. This helped initiate a series of wars following an Israeli hit list drawn up by Netenyahu when he was working with the Boston Consulting Group in Washington. This led to the a major European immigration and asylum seeker crisis with which we are still dealing.
Blair only introduced a NHS reform because he happened to be embarrassed by a lady who cornered him, on camera, complaining about the treatment of her husband. Blair's solutions, never being an individual with an eye for detail, used private financial schemes that have close-to-bankrupted the NHS when he could have used government financial sources as far lower interest rates. In the context of this behaviour it becomes self-evident why the Blair government never responded to independent reports that advocated change, on just about anything. The game was to remain in control and to be the initiators of everything and with the odd catastrophic blunders being conveniently papered-over at some later date.
Deception, the political pandemic
Today, the basis of this "power" is now fairly well-understood because it is used by the two main political parties. It is based on what has come to be known as dog whistle and identity politics, writing manifestos that will not be delivered and generally manipulating factional agendas as "the will of the people" but whose underlying motivation came from corporate and financial service lobbies and of course supported by a media slowly abandoning its independence. Disinformation and denial remain strategic tools in the Power Strategy.
The problem today is that with a specific dominant reality of there being a strong commercial and corporate lobby that controls the media. With an increasing parallel power on the part of Big Tech companies controlling social media, the moulding of public opinions and agendas has almost no constituent input but is manipulated by the interests of those who have the money to pay.
The phenomenon of Boris Johnson a person who thrives in this environment of bending the truth is an indication of just how far the Conservative party has sunk from former times. The journalist Simon Jenkins, recently described Johnson as "Blair with adjectives". The whole process of the BREXIT justification and election concerned with this subject was drenched in misinformation emanating from the Conservative party which chose to blame the EU for the outcome of its own disastrous policy of quantitative easing which did more to undermine the wellbeing of constituents than even the ill-advised austerity policy. The effect of Gordon Brown making the Bank of England independent can be seen in the complete lack of any serious discussion on the efficacy of the Bank's quantitative easing policy which has driven up the number of paupers in this country. And yet the assertions since 2008 have been that the economy is doing well because share prices have risen as a result of speculative investment based on share buy backs, benefiting very few. The claim that any government initiative is "World-beating" has become a silly joke as a result of poor delivery.
The aimless and dangerous labyrinth
The main political parties are lost in a fog of identity politics and dog whistle catch phrases and the underlying corruption of misrepresentation. The default mode of public expression, was street protests, peaceful or not, which were distorted by media coverage and different levels of policing, with agent provocateurs turning peaceful demonstrations into means of provoking police brutality and the general affront of having no convenient locale to assemble to discuss and formulate good ideas was a problem. The world wide web has changed this, but the public at the moment are accessing the very online media that, in the end, are working against freely-formed expression. Most social media are also channels for oversight by political parties, intelligence agencies and foreign powers who wish to maintain a status quo and an image of themselves that does not represent reality. Our so-called mainstream media, increasingly following the trail that supports their bottom line, slavishly follow corporate and party lines making mockery of a free and independent press or any concept of a 4th Estate.
Because our constitution contains no means whereby the constituency of the country can act to terminate this prejudicial behaviour of political parties and governance, the 5 year rule is an example, we are left watching the theatrical spectical of a real time moral decline of political party leadership and relevance reflecting the shallow adherence to democratic principles of those who elected theses people to be their party leaders. We are in the midst of a serious constitutional crisis.
Those who attempted to advance the status of British democracy to become a more participatory, inclusive and responsive system through logical advocacy and constructive initiatives were rejected. The evolving outcome is increasing misery, rising income disparity and pauperism and a government and opposition, each working more to defend the image of their parties rather than the interests of the people. This irresponsibility causes the country to drift towards a state of affairs where settlements are likely to become more disruptive and potentially violent, only to create yet more misery than has already been cultivated by this lamentable party system. It is time to call it a day and realize the party is over.