David's Musings


All things to all men

Mark Wallace has an interesting article appearing on Conservative Home, one that raises a most interesting, although unstated, question.  His article is entitled: Does the ‘Right’ of the Conservative Party really exist, purely on the basis that the media appear to enjoy anti-Cameron rebellion stories, in so doing citing the ‘Right’ as the culprit. It is worth repeating one section of his article:

……there are at least five different schools of thought that could be thought of as some kind of right within the Conservative Party – and they are variously overlapping or contradictory:

  • The eurosceptics – particularly the Better Off Out group of MPs, including Philip Davies, Philip Hollobone and Peter Bone.
  • The Whigs – the philosophical radicals, such as Douglas Carswell and Daniel Hannan, who want fundamental reform in the structure and function of the state to increase freedom and reduce taxes
  • The campaigners – people such as Rob Halfon, Jesse Norman and John Baron, who have turned their backbench fastness into a raiding base, using the press and social media to devastating effect in order to, respectively, cut fuel duty, save billions on PFI and cause endless worries about defence cuts
  • The paternalists – MPs like Claire Perry and Sarah Wollaston are often assumed to be on the left of the party, but on social issues such as online pornography, smoking or unhealthy food they are top-down paternalists in a distinctly crusty tradition
  • The rest – from those whose religion led them to oppose same sex marriage to those who, like Steve Baker, champion radical economics, there are a myriad of other facets which could be validly referred to as part of “the Right”

It will be apparent that as the Conservative Party supposedly has a ‘Right’ wing, so it can be said that the Labour Party supposedly has a ‘Left’ Wing; and the Liberal Democrats, being Liberal Democrats, supposedly has both a ‘Right’ wing and a ‘Left’ wing. If a political party is unable to corral all its MPs to support every single subject which may arise, what chance is there of any political party corralling a country of 60+ million people who, too, will have differing views on every single subject.

Yet is that not which every political party attempts, when it presents it’s manifesto come every general election? Leaving to one side the tribal voter who will continue to put his cross on a ballot paper for a particular party whatever policies it may propose, we are then left with what political parties like to call the ‘centre ground’ – or, as some would prefer, the ‘swing voter’.

When faced with the manifestos of political parties, invariably it stands to reason that the electorate is faced with a choice of selecting whichever manifesto he/she finds the most distasteful – in other words the electorate is forced to dine table d’hôte when he/she would, no doubt, prefer to to dine a la carte. There is of course the other point, namely that manifestos may well contain policies which are not implemented or, when finally enacted, are nothing like that which had originally been proposed – and that is leaving to one side policies which are enacted and which never appeared in any manifesto.

As political parties coerce their MPs to accept policies with which they may disagree; but support for various motives including furtherance of their political career, so the electorate is forced to accept policies with which it too disagrees – the only difference being that the electorate do not have the carrot of ‘side benefits’.

Is this the way in which a country’s future is to be decided? Is this democracy in action? If we are to be governed, should we not have a choice as to the manner in which we wish to be governed? Is it not time that a serious debate was held in this country in relation to our system of democracy?

On the day when observance of Christ’s resurrection is observed, one can but hope we will, one day, observe the day on which the minds of the people were resurrected from their current dead condition.


Mistaken Identity

John Redwood asks us: Who am I? – to which the obvious response must be: well, if you don’t know John, how can we?

However, seeing as the question has been asked – and as one does not wish to be discourteous and ignore a question – perhaps the suggestion that he is an enigma might be helpful to the debate. When endowing someone with the description of being an enigma we are inferring that that person is someone who is mysterious, puzzling, or ambiguous.

Puzzling? Most definitely. Ambiguous? Again, most definitely.

We have here a man who maintains he is a eurosceptic, yet shelters under the umbrella of a political party that most definitely is not eurosceptic. We have here a man who complains about dictatorial rule from Brussels yet wishes to impose the continuance of a similar form of dictatorial governance on his own people. We have here a man who castigates the loss of democracy involved in our membership of the European Union yet who then wishes to continue said loss among his fellow people.

The Boiling Frog posts about Boris Johnson – and his father, Stanley – both of whom could also be classified as enigmas in that their views appear to be ambiguous.

Personally, I feel that the use of the word enigma is a tad misleading where Redwood, coupled with both Boris and Stanley Johnson, is concerned – how about the word hypocrite?

Just asking…………………..



Brandon Lewis is reported in the Telegraph maintaining councils that raise revenue through parking fines are engaging in a form of taxation without consent that runs contrary to Magna Carta. This immediately begs the question when has any government had the explicit consent of the electorate for any form of taxation? If we are to be afforded the right to consent to taxation. as Brandon Lewis maintains we should be, then we also should have the right to decide on what the taxation to which we have agreed is spent.

This of course is an illustration of the concept of ‘Referism’, a central plank of Demand #5 of the 6 Demands, namely: no taxes or spending without consent: no tax, charge or levy shall be imposed, nor any public spending authorised, nor any sum borrowed by any national or local government except with the express permission of the majority of the people, renewed annually on presentation of a properly authenticated budget.

There is an argument being made that a general election is the means by which the people give their consent to taxation, an argument that an be countered by asking since when did any sane person agree to pay a sum of money for services where neither the sum of money nor the services have been specified. It would, of course, be expecting too much of a journalist to raise this in an article about taxation; and in the case of the journalist who authored this particular article, there most obviously is a hole in the house of logic and reason.

Norman Tebbit, in his latest article on Telegraph Blogs, bemoans the state of his party, deciding it is time for it to break out of the trenches, while also having a swipe at the leaders of the four main political parties. He maintains that possession of the ‘middle ground’ is a waste of effort and time; that we, the British people, should decide who has the right to come to live here; that our Supreme Court, not a foreign one, should have the last say on the law; and that many would like to see better discipline in schools and to have a bigger say in what sort of school would be best for their children.

Needless to say it does not take much thought to realise that while the acceptance of representative democracy is continued the people will always be subject to the will of their elected representatives, the majority of  whom do anything but remain deaf to the wishes of their constituents. We are informed that the British people, when questioned, place the matter of EU membership way down their list of concerns, yet the subject which it would appear they are most concerned with (immigration) cannot be solved while we retain said membership of the EU – neither can the matter of whether our Supreme Court is in fact supreme.

That the people are so ignorant about just how pervasive is the EU in their lives is purely due to the members of our political class and their wish to ‘hide’ how impotent they actually are. Not only are our elected representatives impotent but they are also guilty of being disingenuous in their message. Both Lewis and Tebbit intimate that people should be given choices over their lives, yet fail to acknowledge that that choice will never be given because to so do would mean the introduction of a form of direct democracy of which the 6 Demands is a template. They both hold out the carrot of choice yet do not explain that to do what they intimate would mean mixing two forms of democracy that are akin to chalk and cheese – they can never mix and survive each in their own right.

A charlatan is defined as someone who practices quackery or some similar confidence trick in order to obtain money, fame or other advantages via some form of pretense or deception; and is that not what our political class have become? Witness Brandon Lewis invoking part of our constitutional law to make a political point, while condoning a practice of breaking that law where taxation generally is concerned.

It is all very well for Charles Moore, in his Saturday Telegraph op-ed, to complain about the state of schools in Birmingham and the state of our society in general; but, unfortunately, Moore is no different to any other member of the electorate, he recognises a problem and expects ‘government’ to fix it. Yet does not history show us that most of the problems our country has had are the result of decisions by ‘governments’ who then incur more expense, through taxation, in attempting to rectify their own errors. It is also worth noting that most of those errors have been caused by decisions over which said electorate had no direct voice.

The point has to be made that if those of our political class – and those who profess to be journalists – had principles they would not practice, or in the case of journalists condone the continuance of, quackery or some similar confidence trick in order to obtain money, fame or other advantages via some form of pretense or deception. Again unfortunately, it would appear that where our political class and journalists are concerned, principles seem to be in short supply.

I am reminded of a short poem about knowledge, authorship unknown.

He who knows not, but knows that he knows not, is a fool – shun him

He who knows not, but knows that he knows not, is simple – teach him

He who knows not, but knows not that he knows, is asleep – wake him

He who knows, and knows that he knows, is a wise man – follow him

Each of those lines can be directed not only at our politicians, journalists, but above all at ourselves. If we are to remember the words of Ronald Reagan who asked if we are not considered able to govern ourselves, then who among us can believe they have the ability to govern us, it then follows that the people need to be woken up from their stupor. It  also means that if we are to govern ourselves, while we do need wise men we do not need to follow them, but for them to guide us.

There are those who believe that in order to rectify the deficits that exist in our current form of democracy, a revolution is necessary and that that can only be accomplished by means of a civil war. Perhaps, just perhaps, if those of us who recognise that change is sorely needed and put into practice those four lines above, it is just possible that the blight which hangs over our country could be banished – but then to accomplish that we would need to get off our butts.



European Election Schedule

I thought it may be of interest for readers to be aware of events taking place around the actual electoral process, the latter occurring in this country on 22nd May.

An important event will be, on 15 May, a full presidential debate with the five leading candidates for the presidency of the European Commission due to be held in Parliament’s Brussels Chamber, organized by the European Broadcasting Union (Eurovision). The debate, scheduled to last from 9 pm to 10.30 pm, will feature Jean-Claude Juncker for the European People’s Party, Martin Schulz for the Party of European Socialists, Guy Verhofstadt for the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, Ska Keller for the Green Party and Alexis Tsipras for the Party of the European Left.

It is from this one event that we will begin to get some idea of the future direction in which the EU may travel. For what it is worth methinks the contest for President of the Commission is a three-horse race twixt Juncker, Schulz and Verhofstadt, with Juncker presently being the favourite. Those of us who want cessation of our country’s membership of the European Union must hope that Verhofstadt (who must be the ‘dark horse in the race) ‘comes through on the rails’ because federalism (ever closer union) will then be ‘let loose’.

That Verhofstadt scenario will also promote a most interesting situation wherein much Cameron ‘wriggling’ will no doubt be observed – not forgetting of course the ‘wriggling’ that will be seen within Open Europe. What will be obsrved from Ukip and Farage – bearing in mind that due do the ‘Times’ in which we live, the latter has not been forced out of the picture – is but another intriguing factor.

The debate is to be covered on line by Eurovision, for those sufficiently interested and who would like to watch it.

The next event of note occurs on27 May,when the Conference of Presidents – the EP president and leaders of the political groups – will convene at 11.30am in order to give a first assessment of the election results. EP President Martin Schulz will then inform European Council President Herman Van Rompuy of the Conference of Presidents’ findings; with the European Council – heads of state or government – meeting later that day.

On 25 May, Parliament will hold its election night during which projections and results at European level will be presented to the media. 

The last event in the schedule is for the newly elected MEPs to meet over the month of June to form their political groups. All notifications of groups constituted must be handed in to the President of the European Parliament by 24 June.

The ‘month of Theresa’ will, therefore, be one to watch!





Witney: Another example of ‘dictatorial democracy’?

This story was the lead page of Wednesday’s edition of the Witney Gazette, one that filled the front page – and raises a number of what may be considered worrying questions.

We find Duncan Enright stating that as councillors they are elected to represent and that the proposed draft policy is outrageous.

We find the Witney Gazette stating in their Editorial that the proposed draft policy is an affront to democracy.

We find David Cameron being quoted as stating: Witney Town Council, as is the case with all public bodies, needs to ensure that its business is conducted in an open and transparent way as possible.

 What is outrageous is:

1. Duncan Enright, along with every other councillor quoted, makes not one mention of those he and they are elected to represent – and therefore not raising the point about ascertaining what they may think or want.

2. The Witney Gazette pontificating about democracy when it so obviously has not one iota of understanding about the total lack of that about which it writes. There is also the point that had they bothered to read the press statement issued by Witney Town Council they should have immediately, themselves, queried Sharon Goth’s statement attributed to her and not just relied on one from NALC’s spokesperson Kate Groves.

3. The head of the largest public body in the land calling for business to be conducted in an open and transparent way as possible when he does anything but – exemplified by his (a): avoiding the real reason for HS2 and (b): obfuscation over this country’s membership of the European Union.

To each of the above the accusation of Pot/Kettle can be levied.

One group to whom the aforementioned accusation cannot be levied is the Witney public, who like the British public, have allowed themselves to become conditioned to accepting a form of democracy that equals democratised dictatorship – resulting in their serfdom.








Fog (or Mist) of Deception

Bruno Waterfield (Daily Telegraph) reports on the remarks of Chris Grayling, ones to the effect that he will go to court to halt the spread of a EU charter that would override British laws. These remarks can be viewed either as (a) they are not a fog, but a mist in that they can easily be seen through or, (b) they are indeed a fog (and those of us old enough to remember the fogs of the late ’50s and early ’60s will understand the words that follow) as he obviously cannot see that which is just beyond the end of his nose.

Grayling misses no opportunity to punt the official ‘Cameron meme’, stating: All this is why we need a major re-think of our future relationship with the EU, and to renegotiate our membership and let the British people decide in a referendum - which immediately begs the question just where the hell has this man been for the last 52 years? More importantly, where has he been for the last few months?

Did not Viviane Reading, in her speech to Cambridge University, make the point that there will be no repatriation of powers; that the four freedoms are not negotiable? Did she not make plain that there would be no ‘cherry-picking’? For those interested the speech by Reding on Fundamental Rights can be read here; and a video of her press conference on the same subject viewed here. There is only one way by which means Cameron can renegotiate the terms of the UK’s membership of the European Union and that is by invoking Article 50 of the TEU.

There is of course another point – one made on this blog on more than one occasion – and repeated by Reding; namely that where primacy of law is concerned, the EU is in ‘the box seat’. Did not the European Commission, in a letter dated 10th November 2010 to Stefano Manservisi, Director General, DG Home, write: ……it must be recalled that Union Law prevails over national law, including national constitutional law. So much for the mantra of ‘repeal ECA1972 and we are free’!

It naturally follows that if we are to discuss a fog (or mist) of deception, then it is impossible to overlook the results of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) recent competition about Brexit. As Richard North has written, one can understand one coincidence – but six?! It is not my intention to comment on all six finalists, suffice it to say the standard(?) of these can best be illustrated by a statement in that of Rory Broomfield and Iain Murray’s submission (page 8) about the UK having a seat at the top table. Just how many times must it be said that the top table is not at the EU; that the EU table is but a coffee table set far from the real top table at which global standards are formulated?

Not one of the six finalists of the IEA Brexit competition suggest membership of the European Economic Area (EEA) all calling for a Free Trade Ageement (FTA) and all believing this can be achieved in two years. The six finalists need to remember just how long it takes the European Union to negotiate FTAs – some have been in discussion for more than a decade and still they remain incomplete. Just how long has it taken Switerland to get those FTAs it has? Not only do the six finalists seem to be in a world of their own – so did the Judging Panel if this was their final selection from which to select a winner. Where the Brexit competition is concerned, is it any wonder that those judging the competition and obviously understanding not the subject matter in question, selected six pieces of which the content of each can only be described as utter crap?

When the content of political verbosity and that of the IEA and other supposed eurosceptic think tanks is concerned, the British public is being presented with an impenetrable fog of deceit and deception. Just how many Judas Goats do sheep need – and bear in mind we do elect some of those Judas Goats – but I digress.


Members of Parliament – and their ‘status’ in our society

Jane Merrick, writing in The Independent, makes mention of the number of Members of Parliament who took part in the London Marathon. She writes that, quoting Sadiq Khan,  the cross-party support and hard work for charity shows that Westminster’s politicians are not all “greedy money-grabbers”.  Really? There is no scrabble to get on the ladder of promotion and the subsequent ministerial salary?

Why should Members of Parliament be singled out for working hard for charity? How are they any different to a member of the public who puts in as much time – if not more – working for charity? Why should those members of the public not receive exactly the same amount of media coverage – regardless of how much money has been raised? Such is the nadir to which politicians and politics has sunk that the cynic in me just thinks charity work among the political classes is done to (a) raise their public profile and (b) to increase their re-electability potential among their unthinking constituents.

Merrick is quite correct to highlight that the House of Commons is stuffed to the gunwales when the subject of their pay arises, yet the Green Benches are almost totally vacant when the subject under discussion is the bedroom tax – or matters EU, come to that. To paraphrase NASA: Democracy, we have a problem.

We have a problem in that there is little  vestige of democracy within our political system; we cannot elect those we consider suitable to stand as candidates; we have no control over what they do – and do not do – once they are elected as an Member of Parliament; we cannot recall them to answer for their behaviour. More importantly, just how can one describe a system of politics as democracy in action when said system holds the people in what is no more than a form of serfdom?

One day, maybe not in my lifetime, this country will experience Civil War II – and it won’t be pretty. 



The subjugation of the United Kingdom

Leaving to one side, for the moment, the aspects of this country’s membership of the European Union it is time to look at other forms of subjugation that are currently being practiced on the United Kingdom.

John Redwood bewails the lack of devolution where England is concerned, comparing England’s plight with that of Scotland and Wales where devolution of power is progressing quite rapidly, one could say. There are two points that arise from Redwood’s article, not that he touches on either.

First, where devolution is concerned, once the Pandora’s Box of devolution had been opened – a cynical policy by New Labour to secure power at the 1997 General Election, it is said – it was obvious that such a policy would be the beginning of the break-up of the United Kingdom. That it was begun – and has continued – within the confines of ‘rule from Westminster’ has only exacerbated the problems that have arisen and hastened the calls from both Scotland and Wales for independence. As I have written previously, give an ‘enslaved’ people one hint of their ability to exercise a choice on any matter and they will never be satisfied until they can exercise a choice on every matter. What Redwood is obviously angling for is control of England by his party, on the basis that England elects more Conservative Members of Parliament than any other party. What Redwood is suggesting is not ‘devolution for England’ but the continuance of ‘rule by the political class’ in which the people of England will remain just as enslaved as they are presently.

Second, Redwood continues to ignore the next  logical step necessary in the devolution process, one that basically has two parts – (a) the devolution of all, what may be termed, ‘internal powers’ and (b) while he castigates the European Union for wishing to impose regional government, in effect he is no different – he just wishes to impose national government on England. That for which Redwood wishes is no different to any Scottish or Welsh Member of Parliament, namely the dictatorial rule by them of their people. To repeat, just how can the people of the United Kingdom question or halt any policy that is imposed on them with which they disagree? How can people complain about any policy implemented that was not part of a manifesto – conversely how can they insist that a policy which was in a manifesto – and which has been quietly ‘dropped’ – be implemented?

Tim Stanley (Telegraph Blogs) questions the seeming political ‘dynastisation’ of our political class, citing Stephen Kinnock who has secured a seat, Will Straw who looks as though he will too –  and David Prescott who is in the process of trying to secure a seat. That is not to mention, as does Stanley, the fact we had a contest for the leadership of the Labour Party featuring two brothers and that we have a shadow chancellor married to a shadow home secretary, a deputy leader married to a shadow minister for communities and local government and a shadow secretary of state for the environment, food and rural affairs who is the twin sister of the shadow leader of the House of Commons. This is not to say the problem is only one that affects the Labour Party – the Conservative Party are also quietly following this ‘dynastic take over’ – witness Ben Gummer and Laura Sandys to mention but two, although the latter appears to have had enough after just one term.

Interesting, this devolution thingy in that the people of Scotland and Wales appear to be clamouring for exactly what they have at the moment, namely ‘rule’ by a political class – albeit ones closer to home. It appears not to have crossed their minds that they will still be unable to question or halt policies with which they are against, neither will they be able to insist that manifesto commitments are implemented; that the independence they believe they will achieve is not their independence nor that of their country – just the independence of their political class to do as they wish, regardless of what the people wish.

It is obvious that the people of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland can have their independence over national matters, while agreeing for international matters to be dealt with on their behalf and – more importantly – with their agreement. There is no need for the United Kingdom to break up – this is but a ploy used by nationalists of all four constituent countries that comprise the United Kingdom, in order to further their own individual political careers and one with which the people willingly go along with purely because they know no different.

There are those who comment in the blogosphere and participate in Twitter who pooh-pooh the idea of Direct Democracy and The 6 Demands – to which one can only point out that if people are easily converted to faux independence, just watch what will happen when they suddenly realise that real personal independence is possible.



Back in business!

Having returned from my sojourn to Durham – well, actually Seaham – I can but apologise for the lack of posting. Suffice it to say the distractions of Seaham – were readers to meet her – would be well understood! The word ‘Bingo’ springs to mind – but I digress……….

While Richard North is obviously in the process of dissecting the 6 entries on the IEA/Brexit shortlist – and I have set myself the task of reading them this evening, so that I can throw in my twopennyworth – it cannot be overlooked that the media have, with their usual lack of knowledge and shortsightedness been weighing in.

Witness the input from the Express’ Political Editor, Macer Hall – a classic example of a ‘talking-head’ who knows squat-diddly about that which he should know. That he should claim the winning IEA/Brexit entry is required reading for all eurosceptics illustrates his own personal ignorance of a subject on which he should be able to write with authority – coupled with the fact that it is but another example of a monkey dancing to the organ grinders tune. Of course he could have had a word with his colleague Patrick O’Flynn who doubles as Communications Director of Ukip – but that would have been akin to asking a brick wall on the basis brick walls possess no knowledge.

If the one newspaper backing the only political party that wishes to cease the UK’s membership of the European Union cannot assemble the facts – oh hang on, I’ve just remembered that the political party they are supporting is unable to assemble the facts.

Obviously his parents did not make a wise choice when christening him - witness: he has no practical or analytical approach; he most obviously does not believe that anything worth doing is worth doing well; he has no methodical way of thinking and needs more time to learn about that which he writes; neither is he systematic in his work, nor does he seem to have any concerns about about his responsibilities, especially when confronted with change and uncertainty.

Readers, I give you Macer Hall  a prime example of the nadir to which journalism has sunk!



After the Lord Mayors Show

After the debacle of the IEA Brexit competition, one which The Boiling Frog informs us Lord Pearson was responsible for having raised the funding, it would seem we are about to be treated to what might be termed another Whitehall Farce (low comedy tradition of British farce).

From Open Europe’s press summary we read that: In or Out? How an EU referendum could affect your business: On 29 May in London, leading experts, politicians and business people will debate what ‘in’ or ‘out’ of the EU could actually look like? Should the UK stay or go? What should the Government renegotiate ahead of the proposed referendum, and in the event of an exit, what structures should the Government put into place to manage the transition? This event is held in partnership with Open Europe and speakers include Mats Persson, Open Europe Director, John Mills, Chairman and Founder of JML, Simon Walker, Director General of the Institute of Directors, Helena Morrissey, CEO of Newton Investment Management, Lord Simon of Highbury, Deputy Chairman of Unilever, and Sir Stephen Wall, the Foreign Policy Adviser to Prime Minister John Major.

It is with some justification that the term Whitehall Farce is used to describe another offering staged by Open Europe, especially when considering who the speakers are and that at the forefront is Mats Persson who has been shown not to have a clue about that which he is supposed to be knowledgeable.

It would appear that there is a concerted effort afoot by supposed eurosceptics, but who are in fact closet europhiles, to skew the debate on any referendum so that the result would be that which our political class want – and to hell with facts and what the people may want.


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