The absence of any confidence or even belief in the probity or competence of those who have been elected to govern, either on a national or regional level, is now so universal that the question must be asked: Why are so few people standing up to challenge those in power, who it is obvious are interested in little other than feathering their nests and getting re-elected until it is time to retire?
A very few individuals still have some respect, but there are none in the party system — which exercises a tyrannical grip on its members and has the power to oust any voice that dares stand up against the party’s rule. The time has surely come to find ways of changing party power and two things now make this possible: One is the economic situation, which is far from the depth to which I think it will sink in the next five years. The second is a general lack of confidence in the politicians already mentioned.
Even the most politically removed people in society are now realising that the world has drastically changed and their lives must be radically altered. Altruism and honesty is compared to naivety and simple-mindedness, while those with ambition and real ability have long had better careers to go to. After all, what can an MP really do, but sit around in the tea room or one of the bars most evenings, gossiping or meeting a few constituents – and on occasional weekends attending meetings or listening to complaints back in the constituency? Little time is spent in the chamber except when the whips bring them there.
There has been, in recent years, the odd election of an individual, sometimes without a party label, usually standing against a discredited MP or on a single platform – such as saving a local hospital. Now, the time has come to find people willing to stand as independent candidates, and to get them elected. At a time, probably a year from now, when voters will have great difficulty in deciding whether to vote at all, and who to vote for, many will give that vote with a sigh of relief to an independent who is able to make himself visible and believable.
I cannot believe that with so many people facing unemployment, many of them well educated, that there are not six hundred such individuals to be found, who can be persuaded to stand and can find others to help them. The deposit is not that large, and volunteers are free.
Several elections ago, I went to work in Scotland during an election for ;The Campaign for a Tory-Free Scotland’ – which was extremely successful in clearing out Thatcher Tories from Scotland and putting in individuals such as Menzies Campbell. We had to decide who, of whichever party, had the best chance of getting a Tory MP out, which inevitably made us extremely unpopular with those non-Tory parties where we did not select their candidate – but it worked!
Now, with the growing influence of email and blogs such as this to get a message out, such a campaign can work again to find the independent candidates and get them out where they can be locally recognized, questioned and in turn, get a movement going to back them. This could quickly be a growing national movement like the Chartists or the Anti-Corn Law League in the past. Let me have some feedback, please!
Suggested name: League of Independent Candidates. (LIC for for short).
John Calder 27/4/09