Can democratic parties be successful major parties in modern politics? The media’s drooling obsession with the “man ban” really makes me wonder.
Labour is a democratic party. It develops its policy in the open, via a remit system and conference. It recently became a lot more democratic, within internal review and constitutional changes to give the membership more control over the leadership and policy. Sounds good right? Compare and contrast with the National Party. They dream up their policy in smoke-filled rooms, have it dictated to them by big money, or Key makes it up over dinner.
In an idealised view of politics the open and democratic approach should be much preferred – people power, rather than a clique. But in the real world it has risks. Controversial policy can be put forward, and it is there for all to see. In the current ongoing example, the Nats sat on the gender balance proposals until they needed a distraction from Key’s GCSB attack on privacy, then they fed their blogs the “man ban” line, knowing that the media would fall on it like excited children. Cynical but effective.
If we had a more competent media it wouldn’t be a problem. Instead we have the likes of Patrick Gower, who doesn’t seem to understand how political parties work at all if this tweet is anything to go by:
And why did David Shearer let the man-ban proposal get though Labour national council – does he have any control
Does Gower have any understanding of the remit process? Does he really want the Labour leader to be able to veto what does and doesn’t get discussed at conference? Does he have any control over what he writes – or is this just another case of his obsession with Shearer taking over his keyboard?
Whatever, we have the media that we have. So democratic policy development is always going to be risky. Which gets me back to my original question. Can democratic parties be successful major parties in modern politics? What kind of a political system do we want?