A fossilised electoral system and failure to build a fully developed social market paved the way for Mrs Thatcher’s neo-conservative revolution of 1979, which has shaped the policies of every government since. Rejected by the electorate in three general elections, the Labour Party as “New Labour” adopted core elements of the Thatcher agenda, leaving the country without a credible alternative.
The Conservative Party is firmly controlled by its right-wing. Labour is split three ways between a hard-left leadership, unapologetic supporters New Labour’s neo-conservatism, and social democrats, the former supporters Gordon Brown and the Lib Dems are deeply discredited by their support for Tory austerity between 2010 to 2015. But Opinion polls show that large majority of the electorate want a close relationship with Europe and seek greater equality and better public provision in health, education and welfare.
With the main UK political parties incapable of meeting these demands, the agendas of the 1980s, left and right have nothing to offer. To break out of the downward spiral that our country is trapped in we urgently need a pragmatic and realistic strategy based on radical constitutional reform and a clear, evidence-based vision of a modern social market economy, based on the Objectives set out in this programme:
Objective 1. Every vote counts electoral reform leading to multiparty democracy; proper governance rules in Parliament; a representative second chamber to replace the House of Lords; a media that is plural in ownership and opinions.
Objective 2. electoral reform for local authorities; the establishment of a regional tier of government;
Role of the Radical Party
The Radical Party believes that by drawing on our own experience and from the experience of successful social market such a vision is within our grasp. To achieve its goals, the Party must remain an independent voice. At the same time, we will seek to work closely with other progressive parties and groupings on issues where we share a strong common purpose, such as electoral reform, Europe and climate change.
The dominance of Parliament by two parties, neither of which are trusted by more than a minority of the electorate is the almost inevitable concomitant of first-past-the-post voting, which has polarised Westminster politics, with disastrous consequences. The sooner the country moves to a situation where coalitions are the norm, as in most advanced democracies, the better.
Two things are needed if Britain is to become a multi-party democracy with a government that reflects the interests of a broad range of electors. First, the electorate must believe that far-reaching political reform; and, second, progressive political parties and individuals must work together through electoral pacts, to bring about this over-riding objective.
We aim to express clear views on sensitive and controversial issues, such as lax governance in public life, taxation, party funding, control of the media, immigration, privacy, and prison reform, which the Westminster parties often prefer not to talk about. Promoting debate on issues of human and constitutional importance where vested interests and electoral opportunism are stifling proper discussion is one of our central purposes.
We will engage fully in the democratic process, contesting local and Parliamentary elections as and when opportunities arise. And we will work to enrich democratic debate through meetings, canvassing and the media to challenge folly and injustice and bring about the society of democracy, social justice and prosperity.