The Covid Pandemic has shown us all how inept, how incapable and how self-serving all of our MPs really are.
We have leaders who cannot lead. We have dissenting voices from within the ranks of the governing Political Party that pick and choose when to dissent, based on what the risk will be to them. We have an Opposition that instead of opposing a Government hellbent on destroying the fabric of society without comprehending what it is doing, instead pushes and promotes even more totalitarian forms of Government policy at every available turn. We have 650 elected representatives who do not have the experience, motivation or wherewithal to understand and empathise with the lives of the people they were elected to represent.
Yet it wasn’t just the Covid Pandemic that made things this way. We only need turn our minds back to the Prime Ministerial tenure of Boris Johnson’s predecessor Theresa May and the Brexit ‘stalemate’ running up to the Summer of 2019. A Parliamentary blockage engineered by a majority of our so-called public representatives who refused to represent the will of the people. All because they concluded that they knew better than the same people who had voted to put them in their roles.
The list goes on. And as the rather strange creatures of habit that we humans really are, we are continuously overlooking, making allowances for and wilfully supporting the otherwise questionable actions and decisions of politicians from the political parties – or rather the tribes that we support, simply because we have a massive blind spot that lets us think our own team is always the one to vote for, and can basically do no wrong.
Brexit and now Covid have changed the dynamics of what had previously been a near 100-year status quo in British Politics. Power had switched back and forth between the Conservatives and Labour, whilst we seem to have just accepted it to be ‘normal’ that these were the only two choices available – with a side order of Lib Dems and their various other incarnations thrown in for good measure too.
In what has become a three-way Parliamentary Political Party monopoly, entrenched tribalism on the part of voters and the freedom it has given to the three Political Parties has left us with a situation where access to the ‘job’ or ‘career’ of being an MP rests solely at the whim of those who select their Parliamentary Candidates. Yet for anyone else, bar some extreme exceptions – getting elected to represent others at Westminster is like knocking at an imposing and tightly locked door.
If those selectors and the party machinery behind them were elevating people to candidate lists and local ballot papers who were good public representatives, rather than being names and faces that looked like they would be good for their party, the existence of only three ‘mainstream’ parties might not be be limiting the prospect of good government to the point where we don’t actually have it as a choice.
As it is, the party machines select and promote people who are unfit to lead, govern, legislate and represent us, simply because those making these highly consequential selections look at themselves in a mirror and tell themselves, ‘These guys are going to fit right in’.
There may have been a point where the processes and influences that have led to this could have been reprogrammed to take the whole parliamentary candidate selection process a very different, more meaningful and more appropriate way.
But the self-serving and ambitious philosophy that is now ingrained and focuses solely on obtaining and maintain power at all costs within these Political Parties mean that MPs have become little more than hollow bodies expected to do no more than turn up and vote. Meanwhile, absolutely nobody outside the Party System and the chumocracy that surrounds it will ever experience anything meaningful being done to help them or make life better for the communities around them – as they rightly should.
I have to break the bad news to you on this: If you believe you have benefitted from a Policy from the Party you vote for in some way, that’s just been very good luck for you. For the MPs concerned, it was always the votes that could be won that underpinned their choice.
Public representation is not a job. It is not a career. If anything, it is a calling or even a vocation.
The role of Member of Parliament should never have become encouraged as an aspirational choice for young people of school or university age. People who have not and see no reason to try and experience life beyond the shielded bubbles they grow up in where limited knowledge and understanding of the wider world could never equip them with a truly representative voice.
With cracks now appearing in the Johnson administration, a Tory regicide and another leadership election is unlikely to give the majority of us a meaningful choice of who becomes our next PM.
But neither will a General Election. That is, if the next one is called before there is a credible alternative to all of the above on each and every ballot paper. A genuine political choice that has connected and engaged people of all political tribes and affiliations and inspired them to back a very different kind of winning horse.
The biggest problem that a new movement or political alternative to all of the above faces, is that there is little time and no party machine to screen those who you can be sure will step forward, thinking that politics looks easy and that if they were in that job, everyone else would hear the message they have in a very different way.
That doesn’t mean that it cannot be done. But for every group that exists and is thinking it is going to step up and takeover – just because they are convinced that everyone will soon wake up and see all of this chaos in exactly the same way, I’m afraid that using what you see as the guidebook for political behaviour and campaigning will only ever be a backward choice.
There is a very different, positive and proactive way that we can do politics in this Country. One that turns this broken political system on its head and works tirelessly from the grassroots up. One that engages everyone because it thinks about life for everyone, is inclusive of everyone without any kind of prejudice, but above all creates policy and makes decisions based not what is best for the representatives, but what is best and will make life better for all those that they represent.
The concern for us all should be that whilst everyone set against the Government are falling over themselves to be heard and to be acknowledged as being ‘right’, nobody is doing the work necessary to start A New Party For All and put together the strategy, THE PEOPLE and the focus on engagement with a very large community that means at the next election, there will be a proper alternative to this ridiculous closed system and that tightly bolted door.