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Context : OnDemocracy

Quora Answer : UK 2019 general election. Do you find it vexing that politicians are deciding amongst themselves where to stand and not stand, denying the public true democracy?

Nov 14, 2019

That's what it means to have a "party" system.

Politicians work within, and to an extent, for, their parties. The parties put up the money for them stand, do publicity, provide the campaigners to knock on doors etc.

And basically you want to be a politician, you join a party and do it through them.

Much as if you want to play football, you have to play for a team.

You could argue that "wouldn't it be great if I could just have one guy, completely free to say and do what wants, and I can vote and support him, without any other politicians telling him what to do".

And that's what you get with people like Trump, and to an extent, Nigel Farage. The "populist demagogues" who speak directly for themselves and to the people.

The problem there is that without a party, the only people who can afford to stand in that role are already independently wealthy (and powerful). Trump was famously rich. Farage was a pretty wealthy banker, backed by a couple of other pretty wealthy people.

Without parties you are only going to get oligarchs as politicians. Not genuinely representative members of the community.

Such people are often more liable to corruption. A party, to an extent, keeps control of its politicians, tells them what to do, withdraws the whip and sacks them if they go rogue. Independent politicians with a popular following have no such constraints, and can do more or less anything they can fool the public into ignoring.

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