In 2005 I voted for change when I voted for David Cameron. I voted for him to change the Conservative party, and to go on to change the way political parties are run and organised, as a platform for going on to change our country for the better.
I wanted him to move away from the big money highly spun model of politics that defined the Blair era. I was delighted when he came out for a ?50,000 cap on individual donations to parties, championed more local, family and individual decision making, and stood against more centralisation of decisions in the EU, Whitehall and quangoland.
In Iowa the victories of Barack Obama and Mike Huckabee were also victories for change. They were a small voice grabbing the medias attention for a few days, saying that many US people too are fed up with big money centrally driven politics. At least in the snows of Iowa the big money battalions of Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney were brushed aside.
It may be that on either or both the Democrat and republican sides big money machine politics makes a comeback in subsequent contests. It could be that Barack Obama continues to do well, but finds the pressures of machine politics start to overtake him. In the meantime even those of us who disagree with some of his policy proposals should study his inspiring words about the how to undertake politics, how to change politics for the better, how to engage people again in democracy by overcoming their cynicism about the process.
In his victory address Mr Obama said:
??You said the time had come to tell the lobbyists who think their money and their influence speak louder than our voice that they dont own the government, we do; and we are here to take it back??
??The time has come for a President who will be honest about the choices and challenges we face; who will listen to you and learn from you even when we disagree; who wont just tell you what you want to hear, but what you need to know????
These paragraphs are a fine text. People are sick of tired of parties that raise large sums of money, spend it on researching what the average view is, and then on saying that is the view of the party. Labour has tried this for more than fifteen years, and proved conclusively that it does not produce good or competent government.
People are fed up with being lied to. In the UK we have a cheaper version of the US big money politics, but we have a worse version of the dislocation between central government and people, because we have two central governments, one UK based and one European. All too often this dual monarchy spawns too much regulation, too much intrusion and too much cost. All too often the UK government pretends to want something which it has to do under EU law and is then forced to display inflexibility and deafness in the face of public disagreement.
All sensible politicians in Britain will study Mr Obamas success in Iowa, and take to heart his fine words about the need for political parties and leaders to listen and reconnect with voters, free from the costly intermediation of big money lobbying.
PS: I see some are out to misrepresent this statement- I am not a Democrat party supporter, I do not support all Obama’s policies and I am not proposing that people should vote Obama. That is a matter for Americans, not for me. Any sensible Republican or Conservative needs to understand the reasons for Obama’s popualrity, and will discover that one of his main messages about how we need to change the way the big parties undertake their politics is relevant to us.