Local Democracy Notepad

Democratic perfectionism as a political method

Do we need political parties? (A prelude).

with 3 comments

bernard-crick-in-defence-of-politicsI’ve got a half-written post in the drafts folder on this subject – it’s not ready to see the light of day yet.

But looking at a post on the blog of Tom Harris MP about the need for political parties, I can’t resist recalling the late great Bernard Crick’s favourite Goebbells quote:

“Political parties exist to perpetuate problems. We exist to solve them.”

It was perhaps the choice that Crick is remembered for most – his decision to defend politics, instead of democracy (“two cheers for democracy”) – and in a sensible world, it would be almost illegal to comment on political and constitutional issues without having read ‘In Defence of Politics‘ first.

Written by Paul Evans

February 10th, 2009 at 9:45 pm

Posted in Political parties

3 Responses to 'Do we need political parties? (A prelude).'

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  1. I’ve got a similar one knocking around somewhere. Started it years ago – at one stage it was pushing 5,000 words before an old version of WordPress ate it.

    Short version: I continue to hate party politics with a passion. Even ignoring the distortions that have come about thanks to whipping and politicians’ reliance on party funds, Labour and Conservatives alike (and arguably the Lib Dems too) really aren’t parties in the old sense any more anyway. There’s no real unifying ideology, just vast coalitions with hugely disparate, often contradictory beliefs, brought together merely by the pursuit of power. What we need is not party politics, but a return to factionalism – lots more smaller, focussed groupings based on clearly-stated beliefs, aims and policy positions. That would give voters a broader, clearer choice, and give a far better indication of just what it is the public is voting for at elections.

    But, of course, with first past the post such a system will never come about. It needs a decent system of proportional representation – something hard enough to sell at the best of times, let alone the day after an Israeli general election…

    Nosemonkey

    11 Feb 09 at 10:24 am

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