Friday, 8 May 2009

The Wisdom Of Crowds

There is a theory that says taking a wide and diverse group of people and setting them a problem leads to innovative and novel solutions. It's called The Wisdom of Crowds and it's theoretically what our system of democracy is built upon. Westminster with over 600 MPs and the EU Parliament with over 700 MEPs should be perfect examples where people from a huge variety of backgrounds debate problems and propose solutions. Unfortunately, that isn't what has actually happened due to the Party system that has become so ingrained in the public psyche, largely due to the propaganda from the parties themselves. Time and again we are told that only this party or that party can deliver change and so we get electioneering along the lines of "Only the SNP can beat Labour".

This is fundamentally missing the point of politicians and democracy. Playing the parties off against each other leads to the situation we have now where the parties are to all intents and purposes identical replicas of each other.

The vast majority of MPs in parties are drawn from the same pool of people - politics & media studies graduates or those who have ground their way through local councils. Far from being a diverse pool of talents, we actively restrict membership of this political club to the very people who have never had to suffer the effects of politicians.

How many times do you think our MPs have had to search for an NHS Dentist with space on their books? How many have sat for hours in a Doctor's waiting room? How many have suffered the body blow of redundancy or the worry of a child being bullied at school? How many of our MPs have lived on minimum wage or come home with every muscle aching after a hard day's work? How many have even sat on a bus?

It's because the vast majority of MPs have absolutely no connection with the reality of life for ordinary people that we see the paroxysms of indignation from them that their expense accounts are now under scrutiny. They simply cannot comprehend how the rest of us live without cleaners and gardeners.

“The political system has a problem….My point is a very simple one - the political system is
to some extent closed to outsiders, to people who are not of a particular stamp. This is not
just about race, this is a wider point that our leadership class is really basically white, male
and professional. It is very hard for women to break in and very hard for working-class
people to get to the higher reaches of parties."
Trevor Philips, Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission

This self-serving elite organises itself into parties for self-protection. For them, there's safety in a crowd. Following the party line means they don't have to take personal resposibility. I've written to my MP three times in my life about local issues. On the two occasions I actually got an eventual reply, they trotted out the party mantra dictated by London, over 400 miles away.

When they publicise their manifestos, they can print any old tosh they like because they will never be held personally accountable. When their promises are shown to be utter lies, they put it down to the party.

And we keep falling for it. We keep voting in parties despite the evidence of the last half century that political parties serve only themselves, not people.

I have already intimated to you the danger of parties in the state … The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, is itself a frightful despotism. The common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.
George Washington

I'm standing as an Independent. I'm supported by Jury Team who are giving me, an ordinary man, this opportunity. I fully agree with the statements made by Jury Team that:

Government should be run for the benefit of the people and not for the benefit of any political party.

Elected representatives should vote according to their view of what is best for the country and their constituents and not at the direction of a political party.

Politicians should fully comply with the Nolan Principles of Public Life and have externally decided and transparent remuneration

There isn't a party politician crawling out of Westminster that can say the same.

I stand for an end to sleaze and an end to corrupt party politics. Until we tackle these two issues and get politicians doing what we actually pay them to do, all the talk of grand ideas and beating this or that party is just a load of hot air.

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