2013-06-11        Political Parties?

The annual remembrance of June 4 has again focused attention on the need for democracy in the Mainland and in Hong Kong. Many people would like to see political parties flourish in the Mainland and in Hong Kong as a way of implementing democracy.

But the experience of other countries should make us think twice about political parties.
In the US, the UK, Australia and so many other countries, political parties have degenerated into groups which spend most of their time fighting each other to get or keep power, instead of fighting issues like poverty, unemployment, climate change etc.  Not to mention the huge amounts of money that are used in their campaigns, especially in the US.

It used to be the case that the party or parties in opposition had the job of keeping the party in government "on its toes".
Or as one Australian politician famously said of his small party: "Our job is to keep the bastards honest". But these days the job of keeping all politicians and public figures honest is being done more and more by the media and social networks. As long as there is a free media and free internet, public figures cannot get away with "dishonesty".

An alternative to political parties might be to have independent politicians who are responsible to their electorate and who follow their consciences when making decisions, rather than just following a party policy that they may not agree with.
A president or prime minister or chief executive could be chosen by the people in a separate election from the one for electorate representatives.