xoves, 11 de decembro de 2014

Not a Party by Christopher Carnie #Scotland #Catalonia

Scotland and Catalonia are struggling with the same issue.

In Scotland, according to the Herald, the SNP is moving away from suggestions of a Yes Alliance of the pro-independence parties. The two smaller parties - Scottish Socialist Party and the Greens - are reported as saying that "the SNP have decided they are not open to that kind of arrangement."

In Catalonia Artur Mas the President of the Generalitat, and of Convergència Democràtica de Catalunya announced his "route plan to independence" with the idea of presenting a joint list at decisive In-Out elections. He proposed that the party list (here, we vote for a list of candidates from a specific party, with proportions of that list actually getting seats depending on the votes cast) should be made up not of politicians but of noteworthy people. 

Sr. Mas' idea has been rejected by the second largest party here, ERC, led by Oriol Junqueras. The two are talking, but there is little chance that ERC will agree to Mas' proposal.

What's going on? Why can't these politicians agree on this one apparently straightforward topic; independence, or not?

In a healthy democracy (yes, I know that democracy is just the least worst system for running a country) political parties are about power and vision. The collective of members and supporters has a vision. In order to get the power to make that vision they form a party, and get themselves elected. We've had that here with the creation of Podem, a fast-growing new party that grew from the civil protest movement here.

At the centre of the vision it's all very clear. SNP, Greens, SSP, Convergència and ERC all want independence for their two countries. 

But it's tunnel vision: at the edges it's all blurry. 

Do you want independence with a side order of dismantling capitalism? Then vote for the SSP. Do you want independence in a moderate, mildly conservative state? Then vote for Convergència.

If the vision meets at the edges then parties merge. This has happened when Tory defectors have a vision shared with UKIP. In their case a vision through the bottom of an empty beer glass.

Why can't the nationalist parties agree? Because their vision does not meet at the edges. And, yes, because of personal agendas, personal egos and lust for power, all aspects of the soft underbelly of democracy and all necessary aspects of why it's an imperfect system.

And for us, the voters? We need to see the vision of our politicians - the stuff in the centre of the tunnel and all the blurry edges. This was why Scotland's white paper on independence was so important. It was the whole vision of a political group - including the detail at the edges. Now there are differences. The SNP, Greens and SSP share the same central vision - independence - but have different edges. 

I want to vote for an entire vision - edges and all - and that means a party. Repeat after me: "democracy is the least worst system of government..."

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