Democracy isn’t a game of Follow My Leader

The Labour View SUS-170126-103738001
The Labour View SUS-170126-103738001

The United Kingdom is a Parliamentary Democracy. Our Parliament has been called the Mother of Parliaments because our model of democracy has been exported the world over, arguably it’s our most significant export.

Amongst the most important differences of our system’s greatest rival, the Presidential Model, is that we don’t vote for Prime Ministers, they are simply ‘primus inter pares’: the first amongst equals. At the core of the British model of democracy is that we vote for individual Members of Parliament to represent our local interests on the national level.

As Theresa May attempts to turn this election into a personality contest, describing herself in terms better suited to the condition of a bridge, she is essentially asking the country to write her a blank cheque on the basis of an empty manifesto and backed up with an army of drone MPs. We’re all in the dark as to what she would do given such uncontrolled dominance over UK Government.

Whatever else can be said about the Parliamentary Labour Party over recent years, they can’t be accused of being puppets of their leadership. They have stood up for what they consider to be right, for what they believe is in the best interests of their constituencies, irrespective of the party line or the wishes of their leader. MPs sticking up for their communities isn’t chaos, it’s the heart of representative democracy.

We face real challenges ahead, as a town and a country. We need representatives who will fight for solutions to the problems which face us, not a one-party state. While Crawley Borough Council is building affordable housing for the town, without a voice for Crawley in Parliament there’s only so far we can go. Crawley’s underfunded schools are similarly left without a champion.

Our current representative has been part of the relevant teams at both the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Department for Education, yet it has done the town no good. If anything, we’ve learnt over recent years that Crawley only suffers when MPs are simply elected to toe the line of their leader.