Friday, February 19, 2010
Independents, Independence And Alliances
There seems to be a growing feeling that politics is full of nutters, which attracts people of an independent persuasion to try and make a difference. This is a good thing in my view but too many of the people who find politicians of the mainstream to be nutters, and want to displace them, are even bigger nutters themselves.
Many such nutters were formally members of mainstream parties, but were found to be a little too eccentric and scared the voters. Others became tired of the slimy self-seekers in the mainstream parties and got out, seeking something politically purer. Some are so obsessive about a single issue that they got out to start a single issue party/pressure group. Others, so full of ego and vanity and a generous dose of insanity, were convinced that they had been stopped from becoming Prime Minister after two years activity because internal opponents, or security service operatives or both, had been conspiring against them, so they hopped it.
There are also a goodly proportion who are not nutters at all. They are extremely genuine, able and honest and only left the mainstream parties because those parties changed. They changed to such an extent that they had to leave in order to start or join a party that they actually believed in again, or to fight as independents. It is virtually impossible for a few capable, honest, hardworking party members to fight and defeat the huge professional forces of the major parties. If you doubt that look how the professional Labour party castrated the Labour movement.
The forthcoming general election is likely to see a record number of independent candidates and smaller, newer parties. Sadly, I also suspect that they will face meltdown as people desperately vote to get Labour out or to keep the Tories out. The media is virtually a closed shop, protecting the position of the big three while putting up a seemingly impenetrable barrier around the smaller parties and independents. Unless you are a political and media whore like Martin Bell of course.
Part of the problem for smaller parties is the single issue tag. It's one thing for the Greens, UKIP and the BNP to win seats in the EU elections, that is the election where hardened Tories and Labourites kick their parties in the pants, it's another for them to win seats in Westminster. I would put my house on none of those three winning a solitary seat on May 6th. The main reason being the Green Party is seen as nutty environmentalists, UKIP is seen as obsessively Eurosceptic and the BNP are seen as dangerous racists. They appeal to far too narrow an interest group and people in general elections vote on a range of issues, education, health, law and order and many more.
So the small groups, parties and independents then realise that breaking the monopoly of the three tired old parties is not easy. Up pops 'the alliance'. So our independents and small parties pretty soon realise that to achieve anything they need to go down a road that inevitably makes them bigger, forces them to work with lots of other people and effectively sets them off towards becoming political parties. But that's another argument.
What set me off in this train of thought was a recent chat with a friend about a new alliance that had been formed to act as an umbrella for independents in the May 6th election. So I've had a look around and below is a list of current alliances that I have been able to identify. There is even an alliance including New Veritas! Although New Veritas looks identical to the loonytunes outfit that split from UKIP, complete with boasts about being founded by Kilroy Silk. Or should that be by 'New Kilroy Silk'?
So, here is my list of alliances fighting the general election with candidates, some sticking to the party names others sing the name of the alliance:
Alliance for Democracy
Independent Leave-the-EU Alliance
There is also a huge array of alliances, networks and other pressure groups trying to get candidates to speak out on a whole range of issues but I'm not going into them all.
So if you don't have the good fortune to have a Libertarian Party candidate to vote for, a quick look at some of the alliances above might be helpful. Or at least some of them will give you a good giggle!