Martin Bright

Reselect Democracy

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Hats of to Paul Evans of the Local Democracy blog who has come up with a brilliant idea for renewing our political culture: Reselect Democracy. I am happy to endorse it along with Liberal Conspiracy.

Here's the Reselect Democracy pitch to the major political parties:

Following recent revelations about the abuse of expenses by a minority of MPs, the public appear to have lost some of their confidence in parliamentary politics. It is easy to conclude that a professional political class - many of whom have no real experience outside of the political bubble - has emerged. One that lives on a different planet to the rest of us.

The time has come for Parliament to reconnect with the public. It is time for a fully open selection - as a one-off measure - wherever there is a reasonable demand for it.It’s also time for more of us to take responsibility and to participate in the selection of our candidates. For this reason, Reselect Democracy has been launched to offer every local constituency party that plans to field a candidate the following deal:

We will help to build your membership if you are prepared to prove that the candidate that will fight the next election can command our respect and support.

The idea is that individuals will agree to join political parties but only in return for a pledge that local reselection contests will be open affairs free from interference from central party machines. With enough support his would kill the apparatchik culture that has dominated British politics for at least a decade and ensure local people got the candidates they wanted.

There is a serious risk that people are being turned off conventional politics altogether. The answer is not celebrity independent candidates but a revival of representative democracy.