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. 

 


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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.

 


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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!

 


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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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Brexit – an initial reaction

Richard North has begun a critique of the winning entry to the Brexit IEA competition with a series of posts beginning here and here. Leaving aside any comparison with that of Richard North’s submssion, the general content of the winning entry is dire to say the least and has more holes in the argument it makes than has a colander.

It is unfortunate for me that the announcement of the IEA Brexit event coincides with a trip I am making to Durham and with other things I need to do before leaving means that posting today will be light, to say the least. I will however attempt one post this evening, hopefully commenting on that which Richard North may produce in the meantime, along with other contributions from Autonomous Mind and The Boiling Frog.

Prior to any comments, such as those that have been made on Twitter, let me make plain that I am not a sycophant of Richard North, in fact we have a serious disagreement over the implementation of The Harrogate Agenda – but that is another, separate matter. What is important is that this winning entry is completely unworkable and can only be be termed a ‘pie-in-the-sky’ wish-list – and requires being exposed as such.

For what it is worth – and for those who like conspiracy theories – a view expressed to me privately believes that this decision about who has won the IEA Brexit price is political.  This whole thing has been organised by the Tory old guard, looking for a damn good policy document to present to the electorate after getting rid of Cameron. The men in grey suits could not be seen to involve those in central government in this, so they chose someone who has an impecable background, will give instant credibility to the new policy when the time is right, a man who is in the right position, who can be recalled and promoted, even into government to oversea the policy that he wrote. That’s why Richard North didn’t fit the bill, not because of the content of his submission, but because he could never be used. This opinion continues with the question of who will be the next Tory Leader and whether there is a secret deal going on behind the scenes with Farage, as his behaviour and missed opportunitities of late begs the supposition that he doesn’t want a romping victory, but a partnership with the new Tory leadership.

Food for thought?

 

 


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Democracy? Pah!

Yesterday the House of Commons debated the UK’s block opt-out of pre-Lisbon criminal law and policing measures – Hansard report here. Having watched the debate, that such attracted the attendance of fewer than 50 Members of Parliament can only be seen as a reflection on the interest Members of Parliament have in the future of those they are supposed to represent.

As ever there was much mention of the word ‘democracy’ by Members of Parliament and when such luminaries as William Cash and John Redwood significantly fail to understand that democracy per se does not exist, what can one do but ask what hope is there for democracy.

Witness Cash earlier stating (Col: 42): Given the importance of those issues to UK citizens, those who represent their individual constituencies in this House should now have the opportunity to vote on them. That is a matter of principle and it is also a matter of democracy; and Redwood (Col: 40): Will my hon. Friend confirm that this is a desperately serious matter because if we opt in to any of these things, those subjects are no longer under the control of the House and the British people?

Where is there any element of democracy if any vote at the end of a debate is decided by parties whipping their Members of Parliament in order to comply with that party’s ideology du jour? Where is there any democracy when policy is not under the control of the House of Commons – or the British people, come to that – but under the control of an unrestrained Executive?

Of course hoping that any of the media would pick up on these two points is wishful thinking.


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2014
04/07

Category:
David's Musings

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Ask and ye shall receive (not) (5)

Continuing this series of posts which attempts to find out from the Council of the European Union whether or not the President of that body does or does not swear an oath of office, a response has been received to the email contained in No: 4 of this series:

We acknowledge receipt of your new message of 01/04/2014 to the General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union.

The General Secretariat refers to its previous reply and reiterates that the Treaties do not require the President of the European Council to swear an oath. The General Secretariat has no information as to why this is not the case.

If you require any further information, you are welcome to contact us.

Readers will immediately notice that the questions raised in my last email remain unanswered – they have no idea why the Lisbon Treaties (TEU & TFEU) are worded as they are; they are unable to explain why two men who have the same level of responsibility and  obligations are appointed to positions of which only one requires an oath of allegiance; they are unable to explain to whom or what the President of the European Council owes an allegiance; they most definitely do not wish to disclose any aspect of his contract of employment and will not even go so far as to confirm or deny that one exists.

Information for the public would appear to be yet another area in which the European Union fails dismally.

 


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EU Justice – In or Out?

It was announced in early December last year that the United Kingdom would not be opting into the European Public Prosecutors Office. In order to confirm my understanding of what this would mean for the United Kingdom the following email was sent to Jeff Lamb of the London Office of the European Commission:

It is the stated intention of the UK Government to opt out of the EPPO.
 
As part of the EPPO ‘set-up’ it is incumbent on Member States opting in to provide a designated European Prosecutor who would carry out fraud investigations and prosecutions in each Member States aided by a team a team of national staff, with each Member State presumably being liable to fund those personnel, their offices and their activities. It is also noted that national law will apply where punishment is concerned.
 
Bearing in mind any UK firm using EU money (for example an engineering company which secures a contract on an EU-funded infrastructure project, an agricultural  business in receipt of EU subsidy, or any consultancy or university engaged in research projects) is liable to undergo such an investigation.
 
When the UK has opted out, what legal basis and/or obligation is there for the UK to accept a fraud investigation carried out by a body of which it is not a member, conducting a process to which, by nature of its opt out,it is not a signatory?
When the UK has opted out, who provides and funds a designated European Prosecutor, their offices,his/her staff and their activities for the UK?

To which the following response was received:

I put your questions to the colleagues who are familiar with the Commission’s proposal  on the EPPO, and they provided the following responses:

Answer to Q1:  A firm located in UK and misusing EU-funds would not be subject to an EPPO-investigation, as the UK will not participate in the EPPO. For the UK, with the establishment of the EPPO, the current arrangements would continue to apply – i.e. the firm located in the UK would be subject to investigations by the UK national authorities and – as the case may be – OLAF. A domestic UK criminal investigation may arise as result of OLAF’s recommendations or the EPPO’s request for cooperation.

 Answer to Q2:  As the UK has opted out there would be no EPPO structures in UK and no UK-related activities of the EPPO which would need to be funded.

I leave readers to make what they will of that answer, especially as the result of any EPPO request for co-operation would most definitely result in the activities of the EPPO being funded by the United Kingdom.

With the stated wish of the United Kingdom Coalition Government to opt back in to 35 measures covered by Protocol 36 of the Lisbon Treaty – plus the European Investigation Order (EIO), some questions arise. Nick Clegg stated in his recent debate with Nigel Farage that there will be no more big transfers of power worthy of a referendum any time soon.

For any government to claim independence and sovereignty over its territory it must retain the power to decide any matter which affects that independence and sovereignty – and once it cedes one iota of either it can no longer claim independence nor sovereignty over its territory.

Does not therefore the decision to opt-back-in to these 35 measures concede a transfer of power over aspects of our justice system? Bearing in mind that ceding power over sections of our justice system control of which is essential if the UK is to retain its independence and sovereignty, it should automatically qualify for the calling of a referendum?

When a situation exists whereby absolute power is possessed by one person, or a small group of people, without effective limitations and who are thus able to interpret the laws they enact to suit their own ends – I believe it is justifiable in calling such a dictatorship.

Yet the United Kingdom is still referrred to as being subject to Parliamentary Democracy – just who is kidding who?

 


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Political punditry and ‘heads in sand’

There are a number of articles in today’s papers on the subject of Farage vs Clegg and ‘Europe’. We have Janet Daley in the Sunday Telegraph; Andrew Rawnsley in the Observer; David Davis in the Sunday Mail; Matthew d’Ancona in the Telegraph – and from yesterday Mark Littlewood in the Daily Mail, coupled with an article by David Green in the Telegraph.

Daley writes about the fact that she sees the political class mired in delusion and suffering from self-deception while also maintaining that the Farage/Clegg debate raised the question of who actually speaks for the people of Britain. She also believes the political class exist in an incestuous, self-referring universe of Westminster professionals. There are some who consider Farage to be apart from the politcal class; a man of the people, one of us and therefore a good chap – however as Rawnsley points out in his article Farage is also a professional politician.

Davis writes about the need to withdraw from the European Union, but has no exit strategy; d’Ancona produces his usual weekend drivel, so the least said about him the better. Littlewood writes about the personal standing of Clegg within the Liberal Democrat Party following his perceived drubbing by Farage, in the process mentioning the Brexit competition that the Institute of Economic Affairs – of which Littlewood is Director General – are holding; the result of which will see the winner of that competition being announced on Tuesday this week. Littlewood maintains that the question isn’t whether we should trade with Europe or not, it’s whether the deal we want with Europe is as part of a free-trade area or the much more intense relationship of a single market – and digressing slightly, this confirms the suspicion that the winning entry of the IEA Brexit competition will be one based solely on economic arguments.

David Green, on the other hand, has what may be considered a thoughtful article in that he mentions the one word that is missing from all the other articles to which I link – namely ‘democracy’. Unfortunately Green misses the point where he writes that the EU is bad for democracy because it is a power grab that seeks to take control away from nations and that account­ability under a liberal constitution has successfully contained the abuse of power in Britain. While Green is undoubtedly correct in his first assertion, he most definitely is not with his second, especially when we have witnessed instances of personal venality by politicians coupled with the passing of restrictive laws on which the electorate have had no voice. Writing that the liberal constitution (as he sees it) has been unashamedly individualistic, that the freedom sought by indiv­id­uals was not merely to be released from con­straints but the ability to take responsibility for our own lives, he appears to fail to notice that it is not just the EU that has made a power grab – so have our politicians by their refusal to let us lead our own lives.

Whether this country remains a member of the EU or leaves to become what is laughingly termed a self-governing country, one practicing representative democracy, it will never provide the people with day-to-day control of their political class. For people to reclaim the ability to take control of their own lives then a complete revolution is required with the system of democracy under which we live.

While it would be illogical to expect any political party (and that includes Ukip) to question our current system of democracy; one under which they, the political class, have and dispense the power – and which places them above us; is it asking too much of those that practice the art of political punditry to recognise and confront a subject that is right under their nose?

As one gets older, progress in matters of science, electronics, technology and the like becomes baffling and one fondly thinks back to the days when life was ‘simpler’ and thus uncomplicated. Yes, there is a price to be paid for progress and progress does affect how our lives are lived, but should progress affect and/or alter a country’s society, traditions and nationalism? 

When, both economically and socially, considering the ‘progress’ inflicted upon us by the political class, who actually voted for any of it? No matter where one looks, be it immigration, energy provision, waste disposal methods, war and the subsequent loss of lives in the armed forces, utility provision or levels of taxation; who actually voted for the measures that have been taken?

It must be obvious that we are on the wrong road to make any progress in righting the wrongs that have been imposed on us and on our country. We all want progress but progress means getting to the point where we want to be – and where we are at the moment most definitely is not where we want to be. Terrible things have been done to our country by decisions that have been made by our political class on the basis that progress demanded them. Progress did not demand them, the political class demanded them based on certain ideologies that held sway at that particular time.

There can never be true democracy when people’s lives are directed by a chosen few over whom the people have no day-to-day control. There can never be true democracy when people and their country are directed down a road along which they do not wish to proceed – but are forced so to do.


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2014
04/04

Category:
David's Musings

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Schaffhausen: Right or Wrong?

Jutting out into Germany, Schaffhausen is Switzerland’s most northerly canton. It also has another claim to fame: it’s the only canton in Switzerland – and one of a small number of places in the world – where you will be fined for not voting.

Source

It will be noticed from that article that the proponents of compulsory voting maintain that this requirement instills in each member of the electorate a sense of having a civic duty. It will also be noted that the turnout in the canton of Schaffhausen is 15%/20% higher than elsewhere in Switzerland where the average is almost 60%.

What is not stated is the fact that, because it is so readily understood by the Swiss electorate unlike this country where we are unable to counter the decisions made by our ‘elected representatives’, the Swiss electorate have the ability to, in effect, ‘ bring to a grinding halt’ any decision made by their political class with which they disagree.

That ability, in itself, promotes a civic duty to exercise their right and ability to hold their politicians to account, to take an interest not only in their own locale, but in their country. It will not have escaped the attention of readers that the Swiss electorate have the right to decide how much of their taxes should be spent on the purchase of new aircraft for the defence of their country – would that we had the right to question whether the amount spent on foreign aid, at the behest of our political class, should not be spent on the defence of our nation.

The electorate in the United Kingdom seem to spend an inordinate amount of time complaining about that which our political class do and enact – when will they recognise that a cure to their complaint(s) lies in their own hands?

Just asking…………………………………

 


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