If normal people can work together to make collective decisions, so could a set of unaffiliated MPs who care about public service
by Terry Jones
Of course it has been terrifically exciting in politics since the election, and I don't want to be a spoilsport, but hasn't it also been a teeny-weeny bit embarrassing? The sight of our two major parties scurrying around Nick Clegg sent shudders of revulsion up my spine.
It didn't matter how much they'd ridiculed his policies before and during the election: once he held the key to power, they were cajoling and coaxing him and saying what a thoroughly nice chap he was. You suddenly glimpsed what, I assume all politicians know: that there is no shame in politics.
And so we ended up with a hung parliament. But there would be one simple way of avoiding hung parliaments in future, and that would be to abolish political parties. Simply make it illegal for any MP to collude with another MP.
At one stroke you would make all MPs more responsible to the people who elected them their constituents. They would be forced to listen to what their constituents actually want, rather than brow-beating them into going along with the party line.
Heavens above! They might even be forced to concentrate more on local issues, and actually represent the constituency which they nowadays merely claim to represent.
You would end up with a parliament of individuals, all with individual voices. Wouldn't that be nice? I know, I know. You say, well, how on earth would these independent MPs ever get to form a government? How would 650 independent members ever manage to agree on a coherent set of policies or on anything?
Well, I would borrow a little device from our legal system. It's called a "jury". At the start of each parliamentary year, the 650 independent MPs would cast lots for who would be the government for that year. Say you limited the government to around 25 people: these 25 would then have to vote which of them was going to be prime minister, home secretary, foreign secretary, etc.
Everyone I've ever talked to who has served on a jury tells me that it is inspiring to see how ordinary people pull together and apply themselves to make sense of the legal arguments. So why should it be any different with politicians? Especially since these are not just ordinary members of the public, but people who have enough interest in politics to actually stand for election in the first place. They would be pre-screened, as it were.