A defence of political parties: Part 1

I’d like to write a series of posts here in defence of the political Party system. I’m conscious that this is not an elegant or fashionable position to take, and it’s certainly not one of those lines that you can defend in the 140 character Twitter template.

I’d go further: It takes a series of blog-posts – a set of milestones. It’s like fighting the great Earnie Shavers – there are about a dozen knockout punches that can be aimed at you early on – but if you can take the fight the distance, you often have a good chance of winning it.

Before I really get into the meat of it though, could I ask you to indulge me in something?

Just go here – I’ve pointed to this site before (it’s a few years old, but it still illustrates something very valuable – it was created by the late Chris Lightfoot) – fill it out willya?


If you want to, and you’re not too worried about showing your political colours, you can grab the URL of the results page and save it – or paste it into the comments box here?

I’ll explain why later.


Cognitive polyphasia and devolved politics

BBC Radio 4’s Analysis programme – and the podcast – are essential listening for anyone with even the slightest wonkish tendencies.

Just after posting on ‘cognitive polyphasia‘ a few days ago, I listened to this programme from their archive about the problems that devolution is creating for parties that were established as ‘national’ parties. One of the talking heads on the programme – Linda Colley –  suggested that few people in Westminster really thought through the consequences of creating a Scottish Parliament.

Well, it’s there now. And it’s forcing politicians to modify their reliance upon monolithic one-size-fits-all policies.

Perhaps more powers should be devolved in different ways without much thought?

Distributed moral wisdom – mayors and political parties.

I find it almost impossible to take a blog seriously when its central claim is that any British government in the recent past of forseeable future is really lurching towards totalitarianism. It is with this proviso that I offer a semi-approving link to this post.

The elected police chief – like the elected Mayor – cannot seriously be seen as a democratic step forward, can it? If one were to apply the logic that places ‘distributed moral wisdom‘ at the heart of a functioning democracy, then it is very hard to make the case for elections that foreground single individuals.

Surely, it is very hard to make the case that one vote every four years can endorse one individual’s approach to almost everything in a particular sphere? Surely this is little better than holding a plebiscite on a policy issue that most people don’t understand? Continue reading