Can ‘No’ be positive?

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I’ve just been looking at the website of the No Party.  Essentially they support independent candidates just like I do…..  And it is a protest movement against Party politics – something I have ranted against too.  But then our paths start to diverge.  I feel unnerved by that word ‘Party’ which led me to read their website more carefully.   And as reading goes on I realise I am unnerved too by connections to my early upbringing in Ulster and memories of Ian Paisley who found an extraordinary number of ways to say “NO”.

The No Party’s Ideas and Pledges page is a magnificent list of 23 NOs (with more being added).  These include ‘NO – to Europe’ and ‘NO – High taxes on fuel’.  This becomes a NONefesto created by someone somewhere and which, presumably, candidates sign up to, which I suggest removes their independence?

This is an important issue for groups of independents : How to be a group but not a Party.  But yet it seems to be essential to work together to have any chance of challenging the well funded political Party machines.  Our answer in Frome has been to develop Ways of Working which describe how we will operate and how we will behave once elected, rather than attempt the impossible task of achieving agreement on what we’ll do in a given situation.  This seems a much more honest approach to me, as well as being based on the principle of ongoing participatory democracy, rather than seeking a mandate every 4 or 5 years then doing what you like.

I shall continue to watch the No Party because they are one of a fascinating bunch of initiatives fed up with the status quo.  I don’t know yet if they are closer to the Alternative Party in Denmark – which strikes me as an exciting initiative…… or Donald Trump, who strikes me as exactly what to expect when a  dysfunctional system  goes into meltdown.

About the author

Peter Macfadyen

Social activist, ex Mayor and Leader of Frome Town Council, author, public speaker, undertaker, grandfather.

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