When I was a much younger man, I sometimes went to the kind of party where lots of young adults arrived bringing various kinds of alcohol, which went on the table for each to help themselves to whatever selection they fancied, from whatever had been brought.
The other day, suffering a less physical kind of hangover from too much time in a very different sort of party, I was musing on the contrast between the two meanings of the word. It suddenly occurred to me that the model of the Bring-A-Bottle drinks party could actually be viably applied to creating some kind of political coalition of independents in a culture of no conventional parties.
My idea was that politicians and potential candidates of broadly similar views pool their manifesto ideas. But, instead of a conventional party process of whittling down the differences to come up with a single party line for all to follow, each area of policy would have a series of numbered alternative manifesto proposals or positions, being all the items any of the participants submitted on that topic. Then, when all items were submitted and collated, each participant would select their own favourite item numbers, be they their own work or another's. The scheme collator could then paste the chosen items into a standard format with the candidate's personal details and colours.
The result would be a display of obvious unity and mutual assistance, and yet, importantly, nobody would be having to compromise any principles, nor sacrifice any independence, to toe a party line.
The next step will be to sound out possible invitees: Too few takers would mean too little substance to be worth the bother. But, what do our readers think? Would you be happier voting for somebody who has collaborated with others in developing their strongest possible manifesto, or somebody who has done all their own work, for better or worse? Comments, please.
"How War Really Works"
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