A new political party

Another in a series of letters to the IT, in part this was a contributory reason for starting the polly blog in the first place.

Madam, – This recent talk of a new political party is all very interesting until you listen to what different people say they want from one, and it turns out they all want entirely different things. More liberal, more traditional, less taxes, more spending, both more right wing and more left wing.

The dull grown-up reality is that political parties are implicit coalitions of many different interests that work to find common cause with one another. In Irish politics, our so-called Independents are really people who can’t bring themselves to find sufficient common cause with anyone else for long enough to agree a party name and a date for their next meeting. So how could they bring the electorate together in a common cause? They can’t and never will.

What is needed is not new parties, but a renewed focus on the part of the electorate on what it is they really want from politics. Do they want to ensure there is a bed just for them in the hospital or sufficient beds for all who need them? Do they want lower taxes just for themselves or a fair tax system for everyone? Do they want public spending restraint in all areas except the ones that directly affect them, or do they want real reform of public services so that the service exists to do what it is tasked with but with no hiding places for waste and personal empire building?

Only when the people genuinely change what they want will it change what they get from politics. That’s only the first – but necessary – step. – Yours, etc,

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