Polling shows that party politics is no longer fit for purpose

Monday, 17 June 2013

New polling research shows the public are hugely sceptical about the main political parties ability to fundamentally change their lives. The polling also shows that the public overwhelmingly want the main political parties to be less tribal and less closed in the way they interact with outsiders.

The slow and painful ebbing away of trust and belief in formal party politics is now an avalanche. A specially commissioned poll by YouGov[i] for the re-launch of the Compass pressure group[ii] shows that:

  • 73% of the public believes that our political system is too feeble to make big changes to British society.
  • 70% of the public believes that the sharp decline in the membership of all the main parties means that they are less representative of ordinary people than they used to be.
  • 73% of the public believes that if the main political parties are to tackle Britain’s big problems, they need to be far less tribal in the way they behave and involve people outside their ranks far more in their policy-making and policy delivery.

Neal Lawson, Compass Chair said “The challenge for Labour is not just what change to make but how to make it. Neither responsible capitalism nor ‘One Nation’ are going to be built with the support of just 35% of the voters and ‘1 in 5’ of the wider public. Labour is going to have to face the fact that it can’t change the country without the help of other parties and forces.”

Jon Cruddas MP, Head of Labour’s Policy Review saidCompass is more important than ever to the Labour Party, it acts a bridge to other progressive parties, new thinking and dynamic sources of campaigning influence”.

Compass commissioned the YouGov poll to coincide with the re-launch of the organisation. In response to the ongoing crisis of party politics Compass are calling for an ‘open tribalism’. This way of operating would ensure that both the bottom up openness of political movements and the joined up thinking of political parties were fused to create a way of operating fit for the 21st century.[iii]

Compass believe that no single issue or political party can build a ‘good society’ as the world is too complex to change with one solution or one organisation. The organisation is a place where people come together to create the visions, alliances and actions that will build a Good Society. This is evidenced by what others say about the organisation:

Green MP Caroline Lucas said “Compass plays a unique role in creating a political space for people of all progressive traditions to come together to imagine what a good society would look like, and to share the ideas and strategies to get there. Visionary, yet practical and refreshingly non-tribal, Compass focuses not only on what needs to happen, but also, crucially, on how we’re going to achieve it.”

Deborah Doane, World Development Movement said “ Having never joined a political party because they seemed to prioritise tribalism over values, I finally felt at home in Compass. It has been a place to explore ideas and to work with others who I consider to be kindred spirits – people who believe in progressive social democracy, the environment and equality.  They demand only that you come with an open mind, and an open heart.  After that, there is space to get involved and stuck in on so many levels – with a view to changing both how we work in politics and the outcomes. It’s been a great organisation to collaborate with.”

Frances Northrop of Transition Towns said “In this perfect storm we have created through the old order – gross inequality, planetary destruction and resource depletion – Compass is like a lifeboat for all those working to build a good society, whatever their colours”


Notes for editors:

[i] The survey was taken from a sample of 1861 GB Adults between 12th – 13th June 2013.

A full set of results are available to view at http://cdn.yougov.com/cumulus_uploads/document/2f2eps83g6/YG-Archive-Compass-results-130613-Britain%27s-political-system.pdf

[ii] Compass, with a membership of 5000 and supporter base of 60,000 is the home for people who know that no single issue or party can deliver a good society alone, one that is much more equal, sustainable and democratic. See www.compassonline.org.uk/about for more information.

[iii] A set of interviews exploring the theme of the ‘open tribe’ is available to view on the Compass website at http://www.compassonline.org.uk/an-open-tribe-interview-series/

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