2014
07/29

Category:
David's Musings

TAG:

COMMENTS:
2 Comments »

There’s none so blind as those that cannot see

Round like a circle in a spiral, like a wheel within a wheel
Never ending or beginning on an ever spinning reel

Windmills of your mind

Andy Silvester writes on Coffee House about David Ruffley and his ‘troubles’; also citing Mercer, Hancock and Miller, using these examples for a ‘proper’ re-call bill for errant Members of Parliament. Highlighting the fact that in all the approbation that Ruffley’s decision to stand down at the next general election has incurred, the one section whose voice has not been heard is that of his constituents.

Silvester writes about a stable democracy – yet the only thing stable about our present system of democracy is that the horse (democracy) has long since bolted; even if it was ever there in the first place. It never ceases to amaze me that we get article after article calling for devolution of power to the people – we even have politicians jumping on this bandwagon – when devolving power to the people is the complete antithesis of representative democracy – the two are but ‘chalk and cheese’.

This post reminds me of this article in the Guardian – just how can democracy exist; and here we need to remember the derivation of the word ‘democracy’; if that present system under which we are governed allows an ex-MP to stand again when they have been found guilty of malfeasance and presumably lost their seat as a result.

Was that the reason Joan Ryan lost her seat to Nick de Bois at the 2010 General Election? Or was it purely because the electorate in Enfield North had turned against the Labour Party? Is the electorate so fickle that they because they now feel ‘shafted’ by the Coalition – and the main element of that coalition, the Conservative Party – they will re-elect Joan Ryan?

If it is accepted that representative democracy is the only form of democracy, where is there one element of democracy per se when those selected to represent a constituency are not chosen by said constituents, but by a ‘party machine’?

We are continually informed that there is a great divide twixt politicians and those that they are supposed to represent, so when will the people realise that there is another way whereby they can control those they elect and fund?

When will the penny drop?


Share
facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailfacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
Follow
twitterrsstwitterrss

2014
07/28

Category:
David's Musings

TAG:

COMMENTS:
3 Comments »

An observation (or two)

We are informed by The Times that millions are shut out of doctor’s surgeries – to which one can only ask: really? Where my local GP practice is concerned those whose appointment is not urgent have said so at the time of booking their appointment and are seen within a week – those who have felt unwell have been offered an appointment within an hour.

If there is a problem in this regard perhaps unfettered immigration might be a cause – on the other hand. it could be that those complaining are those too lazy to get off their arse not only to look for work but also believe it is the responsibility of their GP to visit them at home?

Yvette Cooper, Shadow Home Secretary, is calling for domestic violence to be made a specific offence as against what she perceives as a ‘slap on the wrist’ offence it currently is under the present government. As someone working in this field remarked to me on hearing this: so a victim is going to promptly put the source of their income behind bars? No one will deny that violence perpetrated against women is distasteful, but then what woman with children would make her children suffer financially through no fault of their own?

This move by Yvette Cooper is but blatant electioneering because if she is so concerned about the subject, why is she not similarly concerned about violence by women against men? Another Pandora’s Box – aka a can of worms – opened by our unthinking political class due to the fact they have not thought things through, but gone instead for the sound-bite policy?

More importantly, just what the hell business is either of these two matters that of central government? Pass the problem to us, chaps (or chapesses) – we’ll soon sort it out at minuscule cost.

 


Share
facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailfacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
Follow
twitterrsstwitterrss

2014
07/27

Category:
David's Musings

TAG:

COMMENTS:
No Comments »

More tinkering with democracy

Ed Miliband has announced that he wishes to introduce a Public Prime Minister Questions (PPMQs) with a view to letting the public in to our politics.

When politicians complain about the gulf twixt the political class and the public, the phrase Ed Miliband chose to use says it all; namely that in which our political class indulge has nothing to do with the electorate and by inference the electorate is considered a necessary evil that politicians would banish if only they could.

Who would gain entrance and how? Who would ensure that the audience was indeed ‘balanced’? Who would decide what questions would be asked? Who would decide what type of questions would be permitted?

This is but another attempt to mend that which cannot be mended – representative democracy which is long past its sell-by-date. Any question on the topics of Democracy, European Union, Foreign Aid etc would be about as welcome as one asking a politician to admit he/she was a prat. Were such a question posed, all that would result in any response would just be platitudinous in content – nothing would change.

I am only too aware that when I meet David Cameron on 15th August I know damn well that although my questions are pertinent, no response, acknowledgement or tacit admission that I am right will be forthcoming. 

A few days ago there was the suggestion by James Forsyth, on Coffee House Blogs, that a separation of powers twixt Executive and Legislature would reinvigorate Parliament. Even if, by some miracle, that was introduced, just what difference would it make while Parliament is no longer sovereign and thus no longer the ‘master’ of the UK?

Both Miliband’s idea and that of James Forsyth are meaningless while we the people remain under the thumb of our political class; in other words, while the political class remain the masters and the people their servants. Until politicians of all hues actually do that which Cameron promised his government would , on assuming office (but has not), then the status quo remains.

That speech by Cameron is no different to the suggestion of Ed Miliband – they talk the talk but never do they walk the walk. We the people who vote for them and provide them with their careers, need to reclaim that which is ours – our country – and if this takes ‘feet on streets’, then so be it.

 


Share
facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailfacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
Follow
twitterrsstwitterrss

Confusion

On Wednesday I caught sight of a tweet asking for signatures to this petition, with the plea it should be signed: to withdraw from the EU using article 50 before QMV takes effect on 1st Nov 2014.

What I cannot understand is the conflation of QMV with Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty on European Union (TEU). For the avoidance of doubt, once Article 50 has been invoked there is no vote on whether a member state can or cannot cease its membership of the European Union. It is a given that after two years, whether the European Union likes it or not and whether a new trading agreement has been agreed or not, that member state is then no longer part of the European Union – end of story!

That the date of 1st November has suddenly become important is also a matter of confusion where this blog is concerned. Where the matters affected by QMV – and mentioned in the linked petition – are concerned; they have been available for all to see since the signing of the Lisbon Treaty on 1st December 2009. What has changed is that it is now necessary for a ‘double majority’ to be achieved under Article 16 of the consolidated treaty,

It should also be noted that the 40+ items listed in the linked petition in no way affect Cameron’s ability to renegotiate the UK’s membership of the European Union – as there is no ability to renegotiate anything without invoking Article 50. The word ‘renegotiation’ does not appear anywhere in the Lisbon Treaty – and in any case, the European Commission has made it plain, on more than one occasion, that the ‘four freedoms’ are not up for renegotiation or ‘cherry picking’.

Neither is QMV involved in any new treaty as agreement to such is subject to unanimity among the other 27 member states – in other words they all have to agree to any new treaty and should one member state wish to veto it, they can.

All the foregoing has been spelled out clearly and in plain English here, here and here - just what is it about the English language that those who profess to read and understand it cannot comprehend?

It is impossible not to praise the enthusiasm of those who wish to ‘do their bit’ in promoting efforts to hasten the UK’s exit from the European Union – but one has to question what appears to be a rather infantile method of going about it. It does no good to the withdrawal cause, nor whatever party they support, nor themselves, to propose what can only be termed ‘rubbish causes’. At the end of the day such ‘rubbish’ only serves to ridicule the ‘exit cause’ and themselves.

Also one can but suggest to those of whom I complain that (a) they practise due diligence prior to issuing statements and; (b) that if they are unsure of their facts they approach those of us who may be able to help and thus avoid them making fools of themselves.

It is not my intention in writing that which I have to be discourteous to others, however hopefully they will appreciate that at times my frustration at that which I read causes a certain amount of impatience on my part.

 

 

 

 


Share
facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailfacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
Follow
twitterrsstwitterrss

2014
07/25

Category:
David's Musings

COMMENTS:
No Comments »

Friday 25th July 2014

I am heading off now for the Land of the Prince Bishops – posting will recommence this evening with an article which will hopefully lay to rest this mistaken view that November 1st is important.


Share
facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailfacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
Follow
twitterrsstwitterrss

2014
07/23

Category:
David's Musings

TAG:

COMMENTS:
No Comments »

Wednesday 23rd July 2014

I am in London today for a meeting, so any posts will not appear until mid-evening and may even be held over until tomorrow.


Share
facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailfacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
Follow
twitterrsstwitterrss

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose (7)

Big fleas have little fleas,
Upon their backs to bite ‘em,
And little fleas have lesser fleas,
and so, ad infinitum.

And the great fleas, themselves, in turn
Have greater fleas to go on;
While these again have greater still,
And greater still, and so on.

A childhood rhyme which perfectly illustrates the complexity involved when attempting to discover the origins of law, viz-a-viz local government, national government, the EU and the various United Nations bodies; not forgetting the role played by NGOs, pressure groups, etc.

Readers may recall that on the 1st of this month I wrote about Ed Miliband’s plan to devolve power by means of Combined Authorities and linked it to Hazel Blears’ attempt to create Multi-Area Agreements (MAAs). Of course prior to that we had John Prescott’s failed attempt to create regional government in the North East; and subsequently, with the faux election of the present Coalition government in 2010, the replacement of Regional Assemblies with Local Area Partnerships (same animal, different name).

It will also be recalled by readers that the EU never gives up in its aim of creating a ‘European state’, leaving no stone unturned in the hope of achieving something it has so far failed to do – the creation of a European demos.

It will therefore come as no surprise to see that the idea of regionalisation has reappeared under the guise of creating an Urban Agenda; an idea in which the Committee of the Regions (CoR) and the European Economic Social Committee (EESC) will also have a ‘finger in the pie’.

Today Johannes Hahn, EU Regional Policy Commissioner is asking EU citizens to share their views on an EU Urban Agenda – what form it should take and how it should be put into action. The Commissioner is calling for a wide engagement by stakeholders and city dwellers in a public consultation alongside a formal Communication just published by the European Commission – a document entitled: The Urban Dimension of EU Policies – Key Features of an EU Urban Agenda (Well worth reading – it is only 12 pages).The weight of any views from an individual will no doubt be zilch when those of the stakeholders are also included.

Returning to the subject of fleas – and their order of importance – where the setting of global standards is concerned, with food standards Codex is the top table – and there are many others, all under the aegis of the United Nations. There is also, for example: the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) based in Rome; the United Nations Economic Council (UNECE) based in Geneva; the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) based in Paris; the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) based in Montreal; the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) based in Basel; and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) based in Bonn.

If readers have referred to the formal Communication they will see referenced (among others too numerous to mention at this juncture) the OECD and the UNFCCC. The OECD for example is responsible for The definition of a Functional Urban Area (FUA); and from page 2 we read that the OECD in collaboration with the EU (Eurostat and EC-DG Regio) has developed a harmonised definition of urban areas as “functional economic units”.

Like the Phoenix, a mythical bird that arises from its own ashes, so has the regionalisation meme been reborn, albeit under another name and policy. At this point it becomes necessary to question the origin of Labour’s policy for Combined Authoritities; and in this instance, just for once, I do not digress – you work it out, its not difficult.

It will also be noted that Miliband, like Cameron, is indeed a small flea.

 


Share
facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailfacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
Follow
twitterrsstwitterrss

More vacuous journalism

Writing in the Independent, Yasmin Alibhai Brown conveniently supplies yet more ammunition to uphold some of the points made in my previous post yesterday about the deficits in our system of democracy.

She writes about how she feels sorry for politicians who get grief from their colleagues, whips and leaders, pitiless media folk (including me) and perpetually discontented citizens, many of whom can’t be bothered to shuffle off the sofa and cast a vote once every five years.

The fact that politicians get the grief they do is purely down to the political system presently allowed to exist – intensified of course by the lack of separation twixt Executive and Legislature. She writes about pitiless media folk – I would have thought ‘pitiful’ would be a far better term to use; but once again I may be guilty of digression.

One has to ask whether it is any wonder that people can’t be bothered to stir from their sofas to exercise their franchise when only a fool is unable to see the obvious reason why. It matters not who they vote for, they remain hectored, cajoled and ordered where leading their lives is concerned; they have no means whereby they can confront their politicians on a daily basis and demand – or if necessary enforce – change to policies implemented with which the majority disagree.

In this article we get trotted out the old canard that not all Members of Parliament were involved in the expenses scandal, with the intimation that this has been the sole cause of our ‘dysfunctional democracy’. Wikipedia provide a useful reminder of the background to the expenses scandal and its revelations; and while some Members of Parliament and Peers were ‘made examples of’, it is obvious that abuses were widespread with the majority of politicians somehow excused of their actions.

Also in this article we are treated to a plea for sympathy from Ken Clarke, who ends by asking whether that which he appears to have suffered is worth all the pain and humiliation. Contrasting with Clarke’s admission that he was unable to succeed in the appointments he has been given, we can but compare the record of Owen Paterson who it is reported took his brief at Defra by the scruff of the neck, to the point where he effected change for the better – and all within two years.

Where Clarke is concerned one can then ask (a), why was he appointed to the numerous positions he has occupied bearing in mind that he was, by his own admission, ineffectual; and (b), presumably because of the power he was able to wield, coupled with the additional salary, it would seem that it most definitely was worth all the pain and humiliation.

That Brown’s article would appear to be no more than an apology for her previous article, to which she links, is obvious to the extent that it is intended as a means to mend fences that she herself knocked down. I have oft made the assertion that it is difficult to discern in whose pocket is who where the relationship twixt politicians and the media is concerned – this article is but an illustration of that assertion.

 


Share
facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailfacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
Follow
twitterrsstwitterrss

There in lies the problem

James Forsyth, writing on the Speccie Coffee House blog, has an article in which he writes about the ‘after-shocks’ now becoming apparent post the recent reshuffle. Unfortunately (but then why would he change the habit of a lifetime) Forsyth only scratches at the surface.

The ‘rumours’ about the ‘promises’ extracted by Philip Hammond may or may not be true; Esther McVey may well have done more than flutter her eyelashes at Cameron; and Paterson and Fox may well be planning to ‘rough-up’ Cameron over Europe.

If I were Hammond I would not trust any assurance or promise given me by someone who has a history of reneging on such; also it is often said that any woman who trusts the word of a man is a fool; and it will be interesting, if true, to see just how far Paterson and Fox will go in their attempts to discomfort Cameron.

If friendship does exist among political colleagues then it is a dangerous development because true friendship can cloud decisions that one must take – be that in business, politics or ones private relationships. Should decisions that need to be made, especially in the world of business and politics not be made due to ones friendship for another then it means that the right person for a post will not be appointed in case it upsets a friend.

Forsyth writes that Cameron has severed the emotional bonds between himself and the modernisers who propelled him to power. The question has to be asked, however, is why did those modernisers ‘propel Cameron to power’ if not in the hope that when the time came he would reward them with a push up their career ladder. One is reminded of the old saying: you pays your money and you take your choice. Knowing that were the positions reversed, it is reasonable to assume Gove – seeking to ensure his own political career and hold on ultimate power – would probably have taken the same decision as did Cameron. Much has been made of the fact that Sarah Vine supposedly baby-sat for Samantha Cameron, but then did she so do in order to keep her husband ‘in favour’? Cynical? Moi?

Such is the murky world of politics that we know not about such ‘rumours’; and probably never will. But if such are true, is democracy per se best served by what may only be termed: shananigans? If friendship does exist, to the point where it interferes with the best governance of this country, is democracy per se best served by such? If a group of people can ‘engineer’ one man to be leader of their political party for future personal gain, is democracy per se best served by such?

In an article which appeared in today’s Sunday Telegraph, Owen Paterson writes:

By this I mean the mutually supportive network of environmental pressure groups, renewable energy companies and some public officials who keep each other well supplied with lavish funds, scare stories and green tape. This tangled triangle of unelected busybodies claims to have the interests of the planet and the countryside at heart, but it is increasingly clear that it is focusing on the wrong issues and doing real harm while profiting handsomely.

Perhaps readers have an opinion on whether those whom Paterson castigates are any different to those who ‘engineer’ for their own political ends, while also assuring us that they have our best interests at heart? Can it not be said that they too are focusing on the wrong issues and doing real harm to our country while profiting handsomely?

It is logical to assume that we, the people, will never be totally au fait with the ‘intricacies’ of the political world, be that national or local; and least of all the ‘murkier’ side. Yes, we need ‘governance, but only governance in the sense of managing the affairs of our country in the way in which we want them managed.

There are too many facets encapsulated within said process regarding the management of our country about which we not only know nothing and , as a result, over which we have no control. Bearing in mind that it is the people who  ‘own’ this country (not, in percentage terms, a relatively small clique) and it is our money that keeps them in a lifestyle to which they have become accustomed; has the time not come whereby we need to show just who is the boss?

Oh, forgive me, I totally forgot: we live under representative democracy whereby those we elect to manage our country are supposed to reflect the views of those who elect them. Silly me.

 


Share
facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailfacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
Follow
twitterrsstwitterrss

The Presentation Game

Charles Moore, in his op-ed Telegraph piece yesterday writes that David Cameron reshuffled the Conservative Party out of its best claim to re-election in 2015, for the sake of dubious PR gloss; making the same point as I did earlier. Where the demise of Owen Paterson as Defra Secretary of State is concerned it could be suggested that Cameron, recalling this article, suddenly realized that he had a rebel in his tent; thus the decision to ‘de-camp’ him.

However, David Cameron is not alone in playing the presentation game, one only has to cast ones eyes towards Ed Miliband and the speech he gave today in Milton Keynes. Yet again it is a speech comprising of nothing but ‘sound bites’ – and poorly connected ones too. Miliband says: So many people tell me that they are working 50, 60 hours a week unable to see their kids. We will make life that little bit easier for Mums and Dads across Britain. It is why I am proud to say the next Labour government will legislate for 25 hours free childcare, paid for by a higher levy on the banks. Just how does providing 25 hours free childcare provide more time for parents with their children? This is on a par with the story I covered about his plans to to create a new rail authority to keep down ticket prices and cut taxpayer costs. A great sound bite: keep down ticket prices and cut taxpayer costs; but that does not explain how he can keep fares down and reduce subsidies at the same time.

Presentation has many facets within the world of politics; whether it is giving us more ‘totty in short skirts’ in a Cabinet; presenting eye-catching policies that cannot be delivered; or publicly claiming to find the European Union and membership of it abhorrent while, at the same time, taking taxpayers money to further its aims.

Unfortunately, as the 2015 general election gets nearer, the Presentation Game conveyor belt will contain more and more ‘goodies’ on it – shrouded so we cannot see too much detail – culminating in the ‘star prize’ which will consist of a manifesto through which a horse and cart could be driven.

All we lack is Bruce Forsyth to oversee this entirely superficial programme.

 

 

 


Share
facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailfacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
Follow
twitterrsstwitterrss

Hosted By PDPS Internet Hosting

© Witterings from Witney 2012