In an afterword to my last post here I mentioned that my then MP, Stephen Phillips, had resigned (because, as he put it, he could no longer live with the label of ‘Conservative’). I did briefly contemplate standing in the subsequent by-election but (alongside the fact that I’d be totally unsuited to the role, and both I and my wife would hate me doing it) I felt that it would be pointless standing without a clear manifesto and a core of support which an unexpected by-election left no time to develop.
As a result, though, I decided to try and start a new party focused on constitutional reform and spent several months pulling my ideas together into a draft manifesto. So far, however, I haven’t found much interest in this route and I’ve decided not to pursue it for now, though I do still have difficulty seeing how meaningful reform might come about without something like it.
The draft manifesto focuses on the reforms I believe are necessary but, for the most part, assumes that anyone reading it already accepts that our current system is deeply flawed and needs to be radically transformed. However, although many people are deeply dissatisfied with how politics currently operates, most seem to believe that relatively minor reforms (like Proportional Representation) will be enough to put it right. I therefore started writing a series of pieces laying out some of the arguments why a number of proposed reforms that are currently popular wouldn’t be sufficient. At present, I’m not planning to finish the series but I thought I’d put online the three parts that I have written:
- Untangling Electoral Reform argues that reform of the voting process needs to be clearly distinguished from reform of the system of representation.
- The Protest Voter suggests a simple reform that might give a voice to people who reject all the candidates on a ballot.
- The Roots of Polarisation looks at why swings between left and right happen and proposes a reform that would give each constituency two representatives with different (but partly overlapping) spheres of responsibility.