The news that Tory Party donor Sir Paul Judge is part funding a new political movement is as bizarre as it is unlikely. The Jury Team is going to be a party which will welcome candidates of all political views and none, and seems to be an attempt to capitalise on the growing frustration with regular party politics. It will be interesting to see how it develops. There is clearly an appetite for more independently minded candidates but those that win tend to do so in particular circumstances (Martin Bell and Richard Taylor spring to mind).
Those of us who believe in the parties which we support will need to come out and defend the party system more coherently that we have done in the past, and explain why parties can in fact be a positive thing, and why without them government in the modern media age would be virtually impossible.
That said, I do think all parties need to 'let go' a little bit and encourage more independent thought. Too often people with minds of their own are sidelined or don't get the preferment which is doled out to the robots and those who obey the whips' every demand.
I don't expect Paul Judge's initiative to make much headway, but it may shake the parties out of their complacency.
Paul Judge tells us that the Jury Team will only accept donations under £50,000 and that he is financing the party along with three others. Do we take it then that they have £200,000 to start the party with, and that none of the four have donated more than £50k. And would it be too much to ask to know who the other three are? All in the spirit of openness, you understand.
More on this on PoliticalBetting, where, it transpires, one of the hosts, Morus, is one of the leading lights behind the Jury Team.
And as if one new party wasn't enough, there is news today that Libertas is launching in the UK on Tuesday. Declan Ganley will announce that it will be standing candidates in the European elections in Britain and he will also declare who is to lead Libertas UK. I'm sure we all can't wait. Libertas has a little problem though. UKIP saw this coming a mile off and registered the name Libertas with the Electoral Commission some time ago and someone stood, using the name, in a council by election.