In 2008 my book on non-aligned politicians was published by Imprint Academic. This was based on original research charting the success of independent politicians and local political parties. I examined a number of case studies including Stoke-on-Trent, Kidderminster, Wigan, Middlesbrough and Blaenau Gwent, using interviews, data analysis and surveys to explore what lay behind this trend.
Martin Bell, Dai Davies (the independent MP for Blaenau Gwent) and Richard Taylor (the doctor who became an MP to save his local hospital) are the best known of a growing band of British politicians making their mark outside the traditional party system.
Some (like Davies) have emerged from within the old political system that let them down, others (Bell, Taylor) have come into politics from outside in response to a crisis of some kind, often in defence of a perceived threat to their local town or district.
Richard Berry traces this development by case studies and interviews to test the theory that these are not isolated cases, but part of a permanent trend in British politics, a shift away from the party system in favour of independent non-aligned representatives of the people.
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Image: Imprint Academic