Thursday, 17 September 2009

Freedom to listen

One thing that sets independent candidates apart from other politicians is their ability to listen. Independents are free to take their own lead and listen objectively to debate without the pressure of party whips. But not all groups without a whip system can be said to be independent. Groups of politicians campaigning on a unified issue could be influenced by the ideology of the group, raising concerns over the individual candidate’s ability to represent the views and concerns of their constituents. Members could easily succumb to pressure from their peers within the group- even without a whip system in place there could be an implied whip, making the group’s ideology a priority.

That does not mean groups of independents are unable to come together and agree on issues. Equally independents should be free to have their own opinions and ideas while finding a common ground with others. But they should be careful not to blindly follow the ideas of any group without considering their conscience and the relevance to the people they represent.

The Independent Network is a loose association which is not only against the whip system but sees flaws in the whole party political system and its abuse as a route to power. It wants Parliament to return to a place of constructive debate, rather than continuing as a stage for politicians to act out a party political drama.

Statistics show the public is hungry for an alternative to the three established parties, but creating more organisations whose members must also conform to a fixed policy is not the answer. The Independent Network aims to promote independent candidates as a credible alternative to voters, free from the ideals of a group and unique in their ability to listen to the needs of their constituents. This will in turn allow the public to vote for individuals and the policies they individually believe in, rather than what a leader or faction imposes.

The Independent Network is holding a meeting on September 25th to discuss how to support candidates in the upcoming general election. To find out more click here.

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