The loss of a second MP to UKIP is bound to be upsetting for the Conservative Party, perhaps made worse coming on the eve of the Conservative Party conference. However Douglas Carswell and Mark Reckless have changed parties in the context of a By-Election, giving local voters the chance to decide who and which party represents them. In effect they have given local voters the right to recall over such a key decision as which party whip they are prepared to follow. Similar to the right to recall that I and many others have been argueing for, for some time.
Whilst my own Politics is someway to the Left of both men, I hope that their decisions are the start of a trend away from clearly defined party boundaries that remove from the men and women who join, the potential to truly reflect local people, and moving towards a much more fluid form of Politics. The sort of Politics that I imagine will be a great deal more messy, demanding that prospective MPs are much clearer at the outset what their personal position will be on a whole series of issues. There may also be less pressure on the parties to put up candidates where tradition tells them they cannot hope to win. Instead, we the voting public may have to decide which key issues we are committed to and which we deride and then select a candidate accordingly. The parties too will have to be much clearer about their own policies in areas which are contentious. Personal integrity will be a great deal more important that is the case at present. The parties will not be able to shield MPs from awkard personal decisions, because the MP and the Party will be in a much looser relationship than at present. The candidates for Party seats will need to be much clearer about their own views, because these are what electors will be selecting against as opposed to a colour coded system as at present. Ultimately there will be a lot more Independent MPs than is the case at the moment, leading to greater diversity of views and life experience in Parliament itself. Of course this will make life a great deal more challenging for journalists and commentators. The dynamics within Parliament itself will be a great deal more complex, but the outcomes should be a lot closer to what ordinary people in society want, and less like the world view of dominant Political Parties.