Parties encourage their members to abandon principle in favor of faction. For example, in America the Republican Party is supposed to be the party of low taxes, respect for property and fiscal restraint, yet during the period 2003–2005, when they controlled both the presidency and Congress, rank-and-file Republican congressmen followed their party leaders in adopting policies of unrestrained profligacy.

The party apparatus is supposed to enable men of similar principles and agendas to band together to forward a program based on those common principles. In this it has failed and instead it has created an illusion whereby the voter seems to be in control, but in fact special interests pull the strings.

Therefore, in preference to party politics, every reputable legislator should publish his own manifesto based on the principles he espouses in order to obtain his electorate’s trust. He should ignore party whips and cross the floor every time his party votes against his electoral manifesto.

This article is an extract from the book ‘Principles of Good Government’ by Matthew Bransgrove