What can US and French elections tell us about East Devon?

The voters of the US and France have each sent out strong signals that people are not just tired of party politics but that they will seek actively to stop them by favouring candidates who promise that they will make independent decisions rather than follow party dogma.

Trump is decried by his own party – the Republicans – for not toeing their party line. The Democrats really wanted Bernie Sanders to stand – a man whose policies were a far cry from those of Clinton – but party grandees went for what they saw as the “safe” party choice. The choice that lost them the election.

The old “left” and “right” no longer speak to an electorate that sees that, in fact, they are the same side of the coin, both standing for the status quo.

The constituency electorate wants people who can think for themselves and do what they need locally, even more than nationally and internationally. They want people who will fight THEIR corner and only their corner. That means sometimes choosing “right wing” decisions and sometimes “left wing” because that is how they themselves see the world.

They see that parties are too hidebound and stuck in their ways, too rigid to think on their feet and support the correct course rather than the party course.

This will spread to the UK – maybe not in time for this election – but certainly for the next one.

In the Netherlands many parties have to work together in coalition. This means that each of them gets something but no party gets everything – horse trading goes on to ensure that each group in the coalition is prepared to work with others. They still choose a Prime Minister, Foreign Minister, etc but based on a wide variety of choices available, not just a party leader. Just one way that a wider political spectrum works.

Interesting times.

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