(1) Independent Non-adversarial Politics While mindful of their ongoing duty and commitment to promoting the values and principles enshrined in their country’s Constitution, the first loyalty of Constitutionalist and other Independent parliamentary candidates would be to their constituencies whose interests they defend. Their function is essentially a representative one: they are mandated by their constituencies, to whom they remain accountable and by whom they can be recalled. This in essence is what Constitutionalists mean by participative representative democracy (ideas that are born of citizen participation and carried forward by representation to regional and national assemblies). It is the anchor of the independent non-party politics that IC-UK is attempting to promote.
The advent of independent candidates in significant numbers, Constitutionalists are aware, would constitute a major departure from what exists. It would be a new way of doing politics that replaces party politics with what might be termed issue-based politics moved by real-world ideas and issues rather than by ideology. Independent representatives come to the parliamentary table (necessarily hemispherical in shape) with agendas and concerns as defined by their constituency committees and the like. Essentially thereafter, parliamentary business becomes, first the discovery or identification of common ground and shared purpose, and second the negotiation of consensus and compromise (a process that would include voting as a last resort) regarding what exactly is to be done and how. Groups and alliances of representatives with their spokespersons (necessary for practical purposes) would inevitably emerge from this process, but, in stark contrast to political parties thus far, such groups and alliances would be functional, flexible and time-limited.
What must unite Independent Candidates of whatever origin is a commitment to genuine democratic practice. Martin Bell’s 10 Principles, IC-UK’s Guidelines for Collaboration and Flatpack Democracy’s Ways of Working all provide suggestions as to how this genuine practice can be achieved. All these methods basically involve reaching inclusive and consensual decisions by encouraging members of a group to keep objecting to a proposal until, between them, they produce an answer all of them can live with. Locally it’s not hard to see it producing better decisions than the average local authority meeting. Scaling it up to regional and national assembly levels presents a formidable challenge, but one that Constitutionalists believe is well worth taking up.