How to get Elected was created with people in mind who want to run as Independent or what we should perhaps start calling ‘Open’ Candidates.
Some people will make a very clear argument of the benefits of joining a political party before becoming a candidate. Being ‘independent’ and appearing to be alone can immediately sound like a very lonely place. When you look at how democratic decisions are made by a majority of votes, seeming to be a councilor on your own can also look like it will be a very isolated place where you have the power to influence very little – especially when a large political group may appear to be in control.
I say ‘appear to be in control’, because looks are often very deceiving indeed, and it has regrettably become the case that in most of our Councils and even in our Parliament too, the power sits with the people or person at the top of a hierarchy, and junior councilors belonging to a political party have perhaps even less influence than an Independent, and as such is very much restricted in what they can really do.
The unspoken truth is that whilst political parties were at some point created in order to ‘get things done’, they have long since passed their point of being able to achieve real good, and they are in fact some of the least democratic organisations that now exist.
It’s all good if the people or persons at the top know what they are doing. But the parties themselves now exist to secure their own futures and that means they don’t have room for anyone becoming a politician representing them who has a genuine, public centered desire and motivation to get things done. Those that do get through candidate selection and get elected, will soon have a very difficult time if they do not ‘toe the line’.
This isn’t to say that Councils and publicly elected bodies don’t do anything. It’s just what they do and what they appear to achieve will rarely be all that it seems.
As an Independent Councillor, you can represent the best interests of the people who elected you without any requirement to defer to some bigger plan or idea that may not actually be in the best interests of the people you represent at all.
In fact, such requirements may not even be in the best interests of all the people living in the area which is under the Council’s control when it is controlled by a political group – no matter how many wards or divisions that there might be.
Being Independent gives you the opportunity to work with others to achieve results which will be beneficial for all, whilst allowing you to stay true to your responsibilities to the people who elected you. And on a rare occasion when an issue is very specific to the area that you represent, and you have nothing stopping you from going the right way for your residents – even if every other councillor votes another way.
Being a member of a political party will mean you cannot do this at the times when it will really count.
In principle, the idea of political parties has its benefit in bringing like-minded politicians together, in order to get things done.
But this process is not restricted to political parties alone. Ultimately, if you have your priorities right and are ready to remain true to what you are aiming to do, you can group up or vote with anyone, at the times when they are looking at solutions to problems and developing policy in the same way that you do too.
With us all now being in times of great uncertainty, Independently minded politicians who are not tied to the ideologies and political philosophies of the Political Parties that exist today, may well be the solution to all the problems that we have.
However, for Independents to achieve the results that we already need and for them to deliver the change that will almost certainly be required to come, Independents will need to be open to working proactively and grouped alongside others in order to succeed. Open to the differences in experiences and therefore the ideas that we all have. Open to putting whats right for others before what is right just for them. Open to a new way of working together with others which delivers on aspirations and facilitates the development of a new way of government working which is open, transparent and delivers the kind of life experience for all that we all would want to see.
We have to start somewhere, and being elected to all our Councils as Independents will soon encourage and help many others to consider their options and to then decide to join with others, work with others and create a new beginning in UK Politics too.