It seems clear that the Liberal Democratic Party is going to win the Upper House election, and that if things continue as they are they will just keep winning in the future. So what has gone wrong — because things have gone wrong if the LDP can win any elections — and what should be done?

First, the opposition tie-up sort of seems like a good idea, until one takes a closer look and realizes that it is in fact a terribly stupid one. It has sent out the message that the Democratic Party, the Communist Party, Seikatsu no To (People’s Life Party) and the Social Democratic Party have no confidence in their ability to win against the LDP based on the quality of their own candidates and the strength of their own policies. It also sends out the message that while the main purpose of this tie-up is to block the LDP’s agenda, these parties have no policies that they are so committed to that they will not compromise them for political advantage.

So what can be done? There needs to be a serious realization that doing things the same way they have always been done guarantees defeat. What, for instance, is the point in electing the same leaders and fielding the same candidates who have lost previous elections? They are just going to lose again. New candidates are needed, not the same old losers.

As for policies and the political realignments they keep talking about, it’s quite simple. Former Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda had one good idea, and that was making his party members in the Diet either sign up for his agenda or leave. The Democratic Party is a hopeless mishmash of radicals, progressives, liberals and conservatives, and many of the latter started out in the LDP.

They need to get themselves sorted out fast, and I do not think it would be a bad thing at all if the conservatives like Seiji Maehara, Akihisa Nagashima and Goshi Hosono just left to join the LDP. Losing 20 or 30 Diet members sounds pretty bad, of course. All the fudging, compromising and appeasing needed to keep them in the party is worse.

Some of the things the opposition parties need to do may sound painful. However, the alternative is letting the LDP stay in power and that will ultimately be a lot more painful for everyone else.

Simon Foston

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

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