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19. The Conscience Party

The party for when you don't want a party

Having seen that parties are basically working against the aims of democracy, how do we get to change democracy when it is governed by parties that don't want to give up their power?

Well, there can be only one answer: create a party that is willing to give up its power.

Of course, ideals can be corrupted, which is pretty well what happened to most parties during the course of their history. That means that the constitution of any party trying to fundamentally change a political system with a lot of entrenched interest will need to be very robust and difficult to change. Membership will require a willingness to work for the benefit of voters, the country and the earth, and not for non-voting pressure groups or individuals trying to get their own agenda fulfilled. They will need to be open about who is trying to influence them.

A critical requirement is that ideologies are not adopted, as they tend to restrict where society at large may want to go, and marginalise large segments of the population. Of course, some segments may not like the choices of candidates on individual issues, but that is different from having fixed ideas about agendas and who benefits that prevent proper examination of the alternatives for an issue.

Elected members must be free to decide upon each issue according to their conscience. Those voting for them must be able to see their past legislative voting history so that they can make a reasoned choice among candidates. One issue is that for people to have the widest choice of candidates, all voters must be able to make the choice, and not just those from a restricted area for a limited number traditionally chosen by party hierarchies with possible input from their members, as is normal for lower houses.

Unfortunately, the current situation needs to be accommodated, but with the clear idea that the eventual goal is to cut out such manipulative selection processes. Initially, such a party may not have any parliamentary members, but needs at least some nominal members to satisfy current party formation legalities.

This presents a conundrum, which may be solved by having two levels of membership as:

  1. 1.Elected parliamentarians, who vote upon legislation.
  2. 2.Administrative members, who maintain the minimum bureaucracy needed to support those elected.

The real paradox is that to get to a place of minimal ideological influence, a distinct ideology, in the form of a set of principles, has to be followed. All rather inside-out really!

There is more to do in that a workable constitution and membership criteria need to be specified, but at least some of the issues have been identified here. More to come.

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