Are Political Parties Right for the Future?

As a strategic thinker, futurist leader and non-political figure, I have a neutral view and interest in modelling for governance and the success of humanity. I am therefore writing from an impartial perspective and point of balance. Politics is about gaining, maximising and maintaining authority, influence and power. Governance is about serving humanity – effective decision-making, leading a nation and it’s relationship with the rest of the world. Unfortunately, evidence has demonstrated that deception and ‘dirty tricks’ are often at the heart of politics, with a portion of unscrupulous types, motivated by self-interest.

I pose a philosophical question – To end corruption and unethical strategy games, is an end to political parties the answer? Should ministers be more like a diverse board of directors with different view points as well as skills – a mix of more left or liberal leaning and more right and conservative leading? With changing parties, the ping-pong between two opposites ‘left’ to ‘right’ has both an unsettling impact and financial cost due to the reversal of previous government’s policies. At a minimum this ‘ping-pong leadership’ as I call it, creates division, as well as limited choice. Has this division been orchestrated for financial gain? Where there is conflict, there’s both conversation and distraction – the ideal climate for increasing media activity or hiding activities.

One of the greatest failings in politics is inequitable funding of party electoral campaigning. Where parties are funded by leaders of brands, oligarchs and other influential figures, this creates a stronger hold and influence over a political party and it’s individual members. The outcome of course is financial gain and other influence for the funders, as well as potential financial gain, power and influence for the politician post public service. One of the greatest concerns is financiers from a nation that pose a security risk to the country of the funded political party. This leverage aids the threat, putting weak leaders in place, in readiness to strike, or leaders that will side with them in a crisis. It is no revelation, that while there are honourably motivated individuals in politics, narcissism is prevalent – those motivated by self-interest – money, power, prestige, status, and authority.

It is rather a bleak view or is it just a reality check? So what about inspiring hope, change and providing solutions? The great American architect Buckminster Fuller said “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model, that makes the existing model obsolete”. We can apply that thinking to models in business, politics and governance. Have the governance structures of nations changed that much, despite the accelerating change in culture and human evolution? Are we more aware than ever, of the exploitation and dangers to humanity taking place by unethical leaders, or those that are unduly influenced and controlled (puppets)? So what’s the solution? Solutions start with an idea, and mine could be one that others have considered, but perhaps it’s time for review. Firstly, to avoid unfair advantage, all electoral funding should come from public funding and distributed in equal measure, to carefully vetted and qualifying individuals or parties. Politicians and parties should not be in receipt of any funding externally. There should be a review on whether and how political advertising on social networks and media should be enabled (to avoid unfair or unscrupulous competition). Secondly, the concept of the ‘political party’ should be reviewed, to avoid division, ping-pong leadership and the lack of choice. Potentially, if political parties became an obsolete concept, overall leadership of a country, would be more like a board, but rather than the board voting on the members, the general public elects the members, from a diverse pool of talented, vetted and ethical candidates. A psychological evaluation of an individual’s fitness to govern, with focus on measurement of ability, honesty, integrity, narcissistic and sociopathic tendencies, should be a key vetting element. Ultimately, societies have the choice to continue with the current flow of accepting a force which is too great to change, or to rebuild national governance that is fair and ethical for the future.

About the Author

Deborah Collier is a strategic and futurist leader, working across boards, business and governance in the UK and USA. A global keynote speaker and author, she is a Thinkers360 Global Top 10 Thought-Leader, who is passionate about inspiring a harmonious, ethical and impacting future for all.