Last week, Andreas Whittam Smith (AWS), the founder of The Independent newspaper launched a new political campaign. They’re calling it Democracy 2015. Their stated aim is to create a new political party of one-term independents in time for the 2015 elections, where they intend to fight the big parties.
All sorts of arguments have been made as to whether or not this is achievable or even desirable. There are also serious issues with organisation, structure and transparency which need to be addressed (see the links at the bottom of this piece). But that’s not my purpose in writing this. Clearly the structure of the party itself and any elections they contest are a purely national issue and therefore not ones for Simpol to be concerned with.
However, if they do manage to achieve their aims – and even AWS has said this borders on the impossible – they will still need a way to deal with global issues. If they do succeed in establishing this party and getting elected, they will still find themselves subject to the exact same global competitive forces that undermine current politics.
It is interesting that the whole thing starts from the position of blaming the ‘political class’ for the problems we face. Whatever truth there may be in that, it is clear that even the most committed and principled party will still find itself paralysed by the need to keep the UK competitive in the global marketplace.
It has been interesting, in discussions on the group page, to see that people still insist that there are big policy differences between the main parties. This may be true, of course, if you read their manifestos (depending on exactly what you regard as ‘big differences). But, once actually in power, we inevitably see the same policies trotted out again again. Why? Because those are the only policies allowed by the constraints of uncontrolled, unregulated, unrestrained competition globally.
So Simpol-UK have contacted D2015 and made them aware of Simultaneous Policy and how necessary it would be for them if they genuinely wish to effect lasting change.
The other element of D2015 that I have found interesting though, if unintentional by its makers, is that a (so far small) community of people has come together to attempt to formulate underlying principles and coherent policy by consensus. This move towards people power is something positive I think. In the end, people power is going to be the real solution to many political problems, not least the crucial issue of legitimacy.
Simpol too, has been working on how to make people power work. We have long had in place plans for how to bring the people together to create policy. Hopefully D2015 and Simpol can learn from each other in this respect.
It’s early days for D2015 yet – not even a week has passed. Hopefully it will overcome its initial weaknesses and problems and go on to make a real difference. Watch this space!
Links to other D2015 analyses