There Is an Alternative to the
Corrupt Cartel Party System!
Break with the Old, Usher In the New!
In the May General Election, the voters have a choice: they can elect a candidate who does not belong to one of the Westminster Cartel Parties, Conservative, Lib/Dem, Labour, so as to make a statement that they oppose the cartel party system which monopolises political power and keeps the people out of decision-making.
Ian Stephens, former leader of the Isle of Wight Council, is the Independent Candidate. He has stood down as leader in order to stand in the General Election. He established himself at the head of the Isle of Wight Council and has been quietly working on the issues affecting the people on the island. The Independents came to power in a “Velvet Revolution” and replaced the corrupt and arbitrary Conservatives over 18 months ago with openness and transparency utilising a “Framework for Change” and adopting “Bell Principles” in order to move towards greater democracy and consultation with the people. It has moved things in the right direction regarding empowering people and decision-making even if there is a way to go. This maybe more like Participatory rather than Direct Democracy but some progress has been made in democracy as well as achievements.
There may have been some desertion, for example the pro-Conservative wolf in Sheep’s clothing and attempted coup organiser, but overall the Independents have kept their course and solved economic problems in the difficult circumstances of Austerity. The Independents have yet to issue their policies and campaign programme.
At the same time we have seen the rise of the Green Party and others who do not believe in the Cartel parties that congregate around Westminster and these new candidates wish to break the hold of the present big parties. The Green Party has come up with policies for the island regarding ferries, the NHS and privatisation, Austerity, Academies and others.
The wheeling and dealing and self-serving definitions have revealed the dirty, self-serving mess elections have become. They are not designed to gauge the popular will – what the people want to see their MP do, but merely aim to manipulate the vote in a manner that the candidate with the most powerful private backing can win.
The situation poses the serious question of the need to make changes to the political process so that people can exercise control over the selection and election of candidates which must be seen to represent them, not self-serving party interests.
The Bell principles are based upon personal honesty, integrity and fidelity to the interests of constituents. This is nothing new and most candidates would claim nothing less. The point, however, is that in this election, by electing an Alternative Candidate, the people of the Isle of Wight can make a difference. Andrew Turner, himself, is seen as a self-serving corrupt Tory. One who has been charged in the expenses scandal, one who manoeuvres around issues like a snake, one who does not represent the issues affecting the Isle of Wight. The Alternative candidates can make a strong statement that they reject these corrupt cartel party politics and want to see integrity restored to the electoral process.
Key Problem of Lack of Representation
To make popular election promises is hardly an excuse for lack of vision on any substantive matters which concern the people, such as the need to have an electoral system which permits the people to select the people who will represent them and hold them to account.
A substantive issue that is emerging in the General Election is the necessity for democratic renewal. With exceptions, candidates agree on the local issues because they express the concerns of the people of the Isle of Wight. They take partisan shots at each other as to who is most able to deliver and who was first on board but they do not disagree on these types of things. What they do not address is representation in Parliament and the MP who is beholden to the agenda of the cartel parties in power.
The important and significant issue of “One island, two MP’s” has been dropped even though its is a constitutional matter of representation by number of constituents and takes into consideration the island as an entity in itself, distinct from Hampshire, having its own boundaries, significant culture and history as well as dynamics.
In order to guarantee that their democratic will can be exercised, Isle of Wight voters need to be able to exercise choice when it comes to the selection of candidates. The selection of candidates by the cartel parties leaves the people with no choice but to side with one faction over another. Fundamental issues of integrity and empowerment cannot be dismissed. This includes addressing why someone would change political stripes in mid-stream or why parties are so desperate that they have to wheel and deal to impose a candidate rather than letting a local process decide who the partisans of that party want to represent them in an election.
A first step toward recognising the need for political renewal is to vote for independent Ian Stephens or Vix Lowthian in the election. They have indicated they cannot be bought and have stood their ground against the wheeling and dealing of the cartel parties. That is a start. A vote for the Alternative candidates is a vote to reject the cartel party system. Isle of Wighters can make a difference. They can take a stand against the persistent wheeling and dealing throughout this by-election, the purpose of which is to make sure Turner is marginalised and does not win.
Get Out the Vote! Make a Difference in This By-Election!
Why the Promotion of Non-Voting as an Option?
Some are promoting non-voting as the way to express disgust with the corrupt cartel parties and their shenanigans. They clearly do not think any of the candidates is worthy of support and that the entire political system is corrupt and beneath contempt.
The problem with this position is that in the first-past-the-post electoral system, only the votes which are cast are counted and the candidate who wins a majority wins. No matter how few people vote, somebody wins and the votes that are not cast cannot be counted. We are deprived of the possibility of waging a “don’t vote” campaign as a way to protest something they despise. Some elections have low voter turnout. The low voter turnout does reveal how unrepresentative the system is and it does reveal that a majority of the people are disempowered, but it also means that the majority who do not vote like it or not leave a free rein for the corrupt people who claim they have a mandate. Not voting also makes it harder for independents and small parties which are not corrupt to make any headway.
An alternative is to make a demonstrative affirmative statement which rejects the cartel party system. This can be done by voting for Ian Stephens or Vix Lowthian of the Green Party in the election. While it is true that Ian stephens left the Liberal Democrats to become independent, he no longer follows their lead. He refused to be part of a corrupt scheme pushed by them.
All those who see the importance of making a statement which shows rejection of the corrupt political system can do so in this election by casting a vote for independent candidate, Ian Stephens. He defends the view that an MP should represent the interests of their constituents and not a cartel party. This is a start. How he can achieve that should be up to the electorate who will have to see that whatever he says on their behalf is backed up by the people’s power not the power of money and connections. It is really about the people solving that problem, not about this or that individual who on their own will be treated badly by the brutal party machines and cartel party system.
The problem of how the electorate can hold their MP to account is a problem which belongs to everyone. One thing is definitely true – the election of a cartel party candidate will result in an MP who must do whatever he is told to do by the party to which he belongs. Otherwise he will be dumped. If Ian Stephens is elected this will not be a problem! That much we know for sure!
Let’s Get Out the Vote!
If every one of us gets the vote of three or more people out there, we can in fact mobilise the non-vote in a manner, which makes a statement against the rotten party system which keeps us without representation.
The people of the Isle of Wight want nothing more than to have an MP who will defend their interests in Parliament. Isn’t that what the election is about? We can do this by electing an Alternative Candidate since we already know that the other candidates respond to their party, not to their constituents.
A small turnout favours Turner in particular but the other cartel parties also because it keeps the decision-making in their own hands. The greater the turnout, the greater are the chances that the result of the election will represent the will of the people.
In May, let’s go all out to get out the vote. Find three friends or co-workers and go out to vote with them, especially if they are three people who don’t normally vote!