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4. Sponsor Independent politicians

The case for holistic political economy included a critique of party politics and is the reason why an association, not a political party is proposed. To follow through on this let’s take on the question of how we bump, nudge or force change in the current system which is massively resistant to change.

Clearly if the ideas take off people will push them in the parties that they belong to and some reforms may get into manifestos. Draft legislation can be prepared and advocated. Here is another idea. Suppose, in Parliament (or on councils) there were more independently minded people, people who would support any good idea (across party lines) that takes us towards the vision of alternative politics and political economy.

Why not sponsor independent politicians (who support the creation of holistic political economy)?

The objective would be to get a significant number elected (10-20 could be enough to create change). By targeting constituencies and focussing efforts where there is a chance of success this would be a way of overcoming the barrier to entry posed by the first past the post system. Once in parliament rather than being the awkward squad they would become the constructive squad. Alternative Independent MP’s could actively promote cooperation and collaboration supporting proposals from wherever they emerge across party lines. They would be free from the whip and refuse government positions. By their presence they would counteract the dominance of the executive in the legislature, amongst MP’s of the ruling party.

This may be for a later stage of development than the initiation stage but there is no harm in thinking ahead.

Rationale

In the c18th Britain had a large number of MPs who were known as the Independent Country Gentry – generally they would support the government of the day (Namier) .To cite a recent example, Frome has a council where independents have made a significant positive difference. (Note: Independents for Frome)

Traditional parties exist to win power; they then implement a programme. Until the elected minority problem is solved forming a party and using the whip means accepting this. It also means they are accepting that what they do will lack the legitimacy to persist. Sponsoring Alternative Independent MP’s is a tactic to break this down not an end in-itself.

Putting up HoPE Independents in well-chosen seats is not without difficulties of its own, given the inherent barrier to entry that first past the post represents. However, it could be a powerful signal for “none of the above”. It could capture the imagination if campaigned for with flair. More importantly - it is (and always has been) possible to set the agenda from outside parliament.