When I was looking at my candidates for parliament a while ago I mentioned Denny de la Haye, who was running on a platform of direct democracy, and where people who live here decided what he did. I liked the concept enough to vote for him, as did almost a hundred other people. Sadly, a hundred people does not a revolution make, and labour – after an epic amount of time counting the votes, Sunderland South Hackney is not – and whilst it’s nice to see my vote as a noticeable part of a number in such contexts, it’s not really that helpful.
One of the problems with being an independent is that you have to shout a lot louder than the other parties, and you have to do it with fewer resources. You lose the advantage of people who will “always” vote with ‘their’ party – right or wrong – and instead you get your name on a ballot without a pithy reminder of who you are, putting deed poll changes aside for the time being.
At the time of the post, I compared Denny’s platform to the Sweden DemoEx movement, and it would appear that I’m not the only person to see the resemblance, as Denny has got permission from them to form a UK branch of the party. With four prospective MPs so far, and discussion on proportional representation going higher (though not far enough), it’s still an interesting idea.
Hm, you seem to be making the assumption that the *main* reason few people voted for him is party loyalty, rather than (eg) his ideas are batshit crazy.
Well, obviously. I mean, if I support him then he is, by definition, objectively right about all things, yes? I’ve seen this “government” thing before…
And I really think that the reason that he didn’t win – or at least retain his deposit – was as much visibility as disagreements. Even if many people don’t agree with what he’s saying – because they’re stupidheads or whatever – I still think that factoring apart from voter apathy, voter inertia is the next thing to fight, widening the pool of people who will not only *cast* their vote, but think about it first.
The number of local policies between the major parties in my area was tiny (They all went “Hackney needs less crime. Hackney needs more education. Look! A hospital” and headed straight for national level policies), and the candidate who eventually won didn’t campaign in my area at all, nor leaflet, nor anything. People voted for parties, not people.
Second point, One of the things de la Haye thinks muddied the waters was that there was a candidate for a party called “Direct Democracy” which was one of the communist party candidates, as opposed to his (Denny’s) campaign, which was on a platform of Direct Democracy, but had no party “hint” beside it.
Plus, with the proportional rep. systems I’ve seen seriously discussed as possibilities for this parliment, an independent without a party backing has to campaign over five times the area and get five times the votes just to retain the deposit. A party can at least spread the pain of that a bit.