A politician jumping on another bandwagon?

Today being the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, EU Commissioner for Transpor Violeta Bulc has pledged to make road safety a priority in EU transport policy. Not too sure how she is going to do this as, for example, speed limits currently are a competence of Member States – but hey, who knows what is in the minds of a politician; bearing in mind of course that any aspect of transport is an EU competence?

True to form we have Shadow Roads Minister, Richard Burden, posting this article on road safety and how any Labour government would re-impose ‘controls’ on the basis, he maintains, that what gets measured gets done. Really? Were not ‘controls’ in place at Stafford Hospital or in Rotherham; and in the latter example children did ‘get done’ – but I digress.

Just under a year ago Mary Creagh, then with Burden’s brief, had ideas of her own – ideas which only told half the story. Since then wp.29, working under the auspices of UNECE, have introduced measures of their own to increase HGV safety – yet Creagh, who should have been aware of those developments, makes no mention of them, thus leading us to believe that some of them would have been an initiative of her party.

The EU has already legislated about various aspects of road safety. as can be seen here; and as stated above it would seem that they may well intend adding to their powers.

 

 

 

 


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2014
11/17

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David's Musings

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More ‘head in the sand’ from our political class

A few days ago the Independent gave us the news of a report issued by the Political & Constitution Reform Select Committee (P&CRSC), the actual report being accessible here. Readers will find mention made in the Select Committee report of a ‘new’ Magna Carta, something about which I wrote on the 5th of this month.

In their attempts to solve the problem of low public participation in politics and thus in voting, the Select Committee have committed what may be called a cardinal error: they have failed to realise that when a problem exists, in order to solve it, first it is necessary to discern what the root cause of the problem actually is; coupled with their failure to define the subject matter of their deliberations.

There is much wordage about the usual reasons that are put forward for the problem of low electorate participation in politics, together with the usual solutions; compulsory voting; extending the franchise to 16 & 17 year-olds, increasing the participation by the BME and other sections of society. Above all there is much mention of the word ‘democracy; – and it is here that they fail dismally as they make no attempt to define the word.

The Select Committee even had a clue to the problem when they acknowledged that the electorate feel disconnected from Westminster and felt their vote made no difference – and still they were unable to recognise said clue. The report even contains a statement by the Minister to the Constitution stating: There is no one quick fix. If there was we would have implemented it already. (page 80)

The political class are wedded to the idea of representative democracy and fail to acknowledge the defects that it contains. Not only that, but they have obviously shut their minds to the  logical fact that when a system is obviously not working it is normal practice to see if an alternative exists which would solve the problem(s) currently being experienced.

This is illustrated by John Major who reportedly said, talking about Ukip, on the Marr Show:

They are anti-everything. They are anti-politics; they are anti-foreigner; they are anti-immigrant; they are anti-aid. I don’t know what they’re for. We know what they are against, and that’s the negativity of the four-ale bar. That’s not the way to get into Parliament and not the way to run a country. So they may be elected because people are frustrated.

If we accept that which Major says then this begs the question of just why are those who vote Ukip anti politics; why are they ‘anti-foreigner’; why are they anti-aid – and more to the point, why does he think the problem exists and what is his solution. It is very easy to criticise, to complain but there is no point in doing either unless an alternative can be offered.

But Ukip are not alone, if we are to believe reports in our media – a growing number of the electorate are reported to feel just the same. The problem with Ukip is that they are led by those who also wish to perpetuate representative democracy purely because they too wish to achieve ‘power’. That is undoubtedly the reason that those who support Ukip feel as they do – they have been led by those who do not understand even the basics that cause the problems they espouse – and the same can be said of every other political party in existence.

When our politicians are confronted with irrefutable fact they totally ignore it and continue with their memes – witness my recent confrontation with David Cameron. It has to be said that neither is that the way to get elected to Parliament; nor once elected, how to behave.

Richard North writes about Philip Hammond indulging in ‘fantasy politics’ – but then this is nothing new as we have been engaged in ‘fantasy politics’ for decades now, both where the EU is concerned and, most definitely, at ‘home’. Regular readers will know only too well what I am ‘banging-on’ about – and new readers only need to go here and read the ‘explanatory articles’ in the left-hand side bar.

When articles such as this can appear without any rebuttal from our political class; when an MP and MEP can co-author papers on ‘direct democracy’ which still allow Parliament to remain sovereign; and when constituents can raise perfectly logical questions of their MP and be ignored – then we the people will remain in the same condition as a turkey at Christmas.

 


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2014
11/13

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An age-old question

I was struck by two items on an article that appeared on swissinfo about the ageing population, from which:

It’s not just in case of sickness that Chinese children have a duty to care for their parents. In July 2013, the Chinese government instituted a law requiring adult children to maintain regular contact with their parents through visits and phone calls. Parents can even sue children who don’t take care of them; and:

The Federal Statistics Office estimates that by 2060, 28% of the Swiss population will be 65 or older; up from 17% in 2010. And in a country with one of the highest life expectancies in the world, increasing numbers of retirees will be overseeing the care of parents who are in their 90s.

For some time now politicians have been talking about the ageing population and the increased costs this problem will impose on public services – without seeming to have the slightest idea how to solve it. Yet the question must be asked about who has caused this social problem and associated costs to the public purse. Has not ‘government’, in its headlong rush to be the ‘provider of all’ not precipitated the problem by suggesting to children that they have no duty of care towards their parents? In their desperation to provide an answer to the ever increasing cost to the public purse, how much longer will it be before our politicians follow the example of the Chinese government – and regulate yet another aspect of our lives? Our political class continually talk about ‘values’ and ‘family’ – so just when will they put the two together?

Back in the 50s I well recall my maternal grandmother waking up one morning having been ‘struck blind’ overnight, the cause of which – had it been able to have been diagnosed in those days – I know not. Immediately a ‘family conference’ took place, at which it was decided that my mother’s elder sister and her husband sold their existing property – as did my grandparents – and a larger property was purchased, one which in today’s parlance might be termed as providing a ‘granny-annex, into which my grandparents moved along with their eldest child and her husband – and both sisters, along with their husbands, contributed to the cost of care. There my grandmother remained until the day she died, as did my grandfather afterwards until his demise.

The mark of a great nation is, I suggest, the ability of its families to come together in time of crisis; to care for their own, which brings into the debate our hell-bent wish to look after others first – but I digress. It seems to me that our aging problem is the direct result of the unintended consequences caused by unthinking policies put into operation by a political class who have lost sight of basic family values – aided and abetted no doubt by ‘pressure groups’, who have made a healthy living as a result of their efforts.

Just a thought………………………

 

 

 

 

 


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2014
11/13

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Re-launching a failing idea

Today we were treated to what was heralded as a relaunch of Ed Miliband’s career with a speech he gave at the University of London;s Senate House.

Apparently this is the same venue that he chose to relaunch his career last January and the same venue that Iain Duncan Smith chose to relaunch his career in 2003. To cap it all it also appears he chose to make his entrance through this door:

B2U0newIgAAFYpW

 

 

From a public relations point of view one can only describe this as a disaster. Conversely, no doubt his party faithful will be ecstatic with the content of his speech, Having said that; refusing a head-to-head debate then saying you intend to take Ukip apart, sounds pretty much like another public relations disaster. Before Ukip chortle at this we should remember that only yesterday Farage was willing to prop-up Labour, yet today he wants a showdown – funny world politics, isn’t it?

The content of this speech is one that could have been given by any of our political leaders who endlessly cajole us to believe that only they can make us happy – yet they fail to recognise that what would make us happy would be if they just butted out of our lives a tad.

Miliband complains about the inequality that he says he sees around him and that as a result the country is suffering. He needs to remember that some born into this world achieve greatness (or notoriety) and thus earn their place in our history books. For the remainder, the majority, they live their lives in anonymity – and actually are probably quite content with their lot. They may well do overtime or take on an additional job in order to have a new car, a plasma tv, or their annual holiday (or two) abroad; but that is their choice.

Miliband believes that the inequality about which he speaks is due to mistaken beliefs about how a country should be run, beliefs that he feels have ‘had their time’. He castigates the idea that the success of the country depends on ‘a few at the top’ – er, is that not why he – and other politicians – ask us to elect them? All this from the man who has saddled this country with an energy policy based on fantasy; and who has caused extremes of social unrest by being part of a government that threw open the doors of this country for electoral gain.

Miliband – and the other political leaders – has the gall to inform us how our country should be run? Just whose country is it – ours or theirs? You will note not one of them asks us how it should be run – they instruct us how they will run it and then ask us to choose. That is democracy in action?

Just how much longer must we endure the tail of the dog dictating how the body behaves? Or, to put it a tad more crudely: just to whom do the proverbial ‘bollocks’ belong?

 


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Meeting my Member of Parliament (2)

Readers will recall that on 15th August last I met with my Member of Parliament (and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom) and presented him with a ‘dossier‘ containing some specific questions and allegations. Just after noon today I received the following reply:

Cameron Letter Nov14 (1)

(click to enlarge)

Cameron Letter Nov14 (2)

(click to enlarge)

The following response has been sent:

Dear Mr. Cameron,

I am in receipt of your letter dated 6th inst., in response to our meeting on 15th August last at which time I handed you a dossier containing many questions and certain allegations.

It is with regret that I find you have ignored each and every one of the questions I raised and the allegations I levied against you; instead providing seven paragraphs repeating how you have a plan to renegotiate that which is not negotiable, coupled with your plea that I should vote for your party at the 2015 General Election.

It is necessary to immediately take issue with that which you have written:

  • You write that you cannot agree with a number of the points I raised; which immediately begs the question of which do you agree and of which do you dispute;
  • You write that I am one of those who argue for a referendum now; which begs the question when have I so done;
  • You write that such a referendum would be a ‘false choice’ between the status quo that is still changing – and leaving; and that we must wait until you are able to present a ‘new settlement’ thus enabling the people to make a decision. Come, come, Mr. Cameron; there is no ‘status quo’ as the European Union is constantly ‘changing’ and will so continue until it has achieved its aim of ‘ever closer union and thus created a United States of Europe.
  • You state that among the areas in which you wish to reclaim power is that of justice and home affairs; which immediately begs the question of just what is the point of ceding control – which you seem hell-bent on doing – of that which you now state you wish to reclaim.  I of course refer to the EAW opt-ins that last night you felt it necessary to interrupt a banquet to achieve.

On the steps of Downing Street in May 2010 you famously said that you would never forget that you, as a politician, are a servant of the people, who you also acknowledged were the masters. I would be grateful if you could explain what is the point of any constituent questioning his servant when said servant refuses to answer – or evades – a question, or questions, from his master.

Needless to say, your letter and my response has been published on my blog for my readers to see – and for those that read it to also blog and use twitter to further spread your response.

For the avoidance of doubt, what in effect my dossier intimated was that you had lied to the British electorate; something which, in your response to my dossier, you have failed dismally to repudiate.

In conclusion, as there can be no greater civil crime than for a member of the public to call anyone – let alone a politician and a Member of Parliament – a liar, perhaps you would wish to instigate court action in order to retain your honour as a Member of Parliament and Prime Minister- and status as an Englishman; both of whom are supposedly renowned for their word and for speaking the truth?

With kindest of regards,

David Phipps

Now let us see what that produces!

(I, for one, am fed up with pussy-footing around, according respect and courtesy to those who don’t deserve it. Let us see how much my Member of Parliament – and Prime Minister of what was once a great nation – feels he deserves my respect).

 

 

 

 


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EAW/Parliamentary Democracy (2)

Following my brief comment late last night on the shambles that occurred in the House of Commons during a debate on the European Arrest Warrant – which turned out not to be a debate on the European Arrest Warrant – I find myself still, to a certain extent, at a loss for the words to express my disgust at the events which happened.

What we witnessed (Hansard: Col 1199) was opinions offered by some who appeared not to know the slightest thing about that which they said (no change there then) together with many attempts at political point-scoring and chicanery. When it is realised that with the Opposition having already stated that they would be supporting the Government in passing the opt-in for the 35 measures in question, one can be forgiven for asking just what the hell was it all about.

Leaving to one side the small matter about the incompetence of the Government and the opportunistic behaviour of the Opposition, a far more fundamental point remains.

On the assumption that it is necessary for the United Kingdom to have some form of extradition agreement with Member States (and that we are to a certain extent thus ‘stuck’ with the European Arrest Warrant until such time as FlexCit can be achieved), politicians have known for some time that this decision of opt-in or opt-out was due.

For politicians to continue to prattle on about sovereignty (and sovereignty, it must be remembered, is the ability to legislate on all matters within a nation’s territory); and bearing in mind that all parties are agreed that there should be no further transfer of power to the European Union; one has to once again query why no effort appears to have been made to put in place of the EAW some other arrangements. Which ever way one considers this subject, ceding aspects of our justice system is a transfer of power.

Two further points: First, Parliament passes detailed laws which control our actions, yet seems incapable of controlling itself. Second, for backbench MPs to complain so vociferously that they have been sidelined is a tad rich when by their acceptance of the whipping system and party machines they have failed totally to control government – but then they too wish to be part of government and thus do not wish to ‘rock the boat’.

I can but repeat the point made last night: the one loser of this is the people of this nation – MPs have lost nothing, not even their self-esteem; and it is debatable whether that existed in the first place.

 

 

 

 


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2014
11/10

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EAW/Parliamentary Democracy

More on this tomorrow, but the only word that can be used to describe the entire sequence of events that happened this evening in the House of Commons is: ‘shambles’.

Democracy per se was not served and more to the point was denigrated; not that we have it in the first place – but I digress.

What we witnessed this evening was nothing but political parties intent only on ‘point-scoring’ resulting in the one loser being the people of this nation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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2014
11/10

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Three minds conjoined

David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg have all been wooing the CBI with speeches today – and all are basically in denial of one fact.

All would have us believe that membership of the European Union is essential in order to trade with that supranational body when in fact all that is required is just membership of the European Economic Area.

Added to which all would have us believe that, among other things, cessation of our membership would result in economic armageddon, that thousands if not millions of jobs depend on our membership; and do all that without offering us one shred of evidence.

One, Cameron, would have us believe that it is possible to renegotiate that which is not renegotiable, while the other two would have us believe that change can be achieved among another 27 who are, in the main, of a federalist and/or socialist mindset. The mind boggles.

One of the other two, Miliband, assures us that no further powers under his government would be passed to the EU, yet is prepared to ensure that just that happens where Justice is concerned. So much for another political promise!

As an aside I was tempted to head this article ‘Four minds conjoined’, unfortunately for the electorate, Ukip seem to have misplaced theirs.

Added to which, where the first three named are concerned, we are led to believe that there are some within their respective ranks who would be only too pleased to be shot of each of them.

Is this really how any sane nation wishes itself to be governed – assuming of course it possessed the ability to even think about it?

Just asking………………..

 


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2014
11/10

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Another closed mind

Sam Smallridge, who has just finished a Masters in Politics at Lancaster University and is hoping to study for a PhD exploring candidate selection next year has an article on Conservative Home in which he suggests four ways in which Open Primaries can be improved.

Far be it for me to denigrate the achievement of a Masters or the wish and ability to study for a PhD, but he appears to have overlooked a few important points in his suggestion to improve Open Primaries.

It matters not who a potential candidate is because while becoming a Member of Parliament is viewed as a career, while a Member of Parliament is subjected to the pressure of a ‘whipping system’, while a Member of Parliament can vote on any issue in accordance with his conscience to the contrary of his constituents views, Open Primaries as they stand, even with the suggestions of Sam Smallbridge, are but yet another attempt to tinker with representative democracy with a view to making it more ‘acceptable’.

With his Masters and the wish to achieve a PhD, Sam Smallbridge can, probably, look forward to a lucrative career as a Member of Parliament. a career in a think tank, or even as a pundit.

Just saying………………………..

 

 


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Remembrance Sunday

remembrance-albums-remembrance-day-picture83-remembrance-honour-our-brave-soldiers

It is with varying degrees of sadness that once again the time has come for the ceremony at the Cenotaph. I make no apologies for repeating words I wrote two years ago:

It should be the case that every politician, when they bow their heads, should do so not in homage, but in shame. Shame that they have deliberately cheapened all those lives that have been wasted fighting for freedom and independence – a freedom and independence that they, the politicians, have since steadily eroded and ceded.

While some may say we, the people, should bear a certain amount of shame in that we have allowed our politicians to trash our country; that is undoubtedly true. However the greater blame must go to those who prostrate themselves before us on a regular basis, asking that we choose from among them those we wish to safeguard our country, to keep it strong and prosperous. Yet when we look around today, we see our country has no safeguard, it is far from strong nor is it prosperous.

I repeat those words because nothing has changed – nothing! Still our politicians continue to erode our freedoms and still they continue to cede our independence – and all in the name of democracy. 

Four years ago I quoted the words of Winston Churchill (1933):

The worst difficulties from which we suffer do not come from without, they come from within. They come from a peculiar type in our country who if they add something to its culture, take much from its strength. Our difficulties come from the mood of unwarrantable self-abasement into which we have been cast by a powerful section of our own intellectuals. They come from the acceptance of defeatist doctrines by a large proportion of our politicians. But what have they to offer but a vague internationalism, a squalid materialism and the promise of impossible Utopias.

Over eighty years later, still we have not learnt that lesson. Still we continue to allow professional politicians, whose one aim is the accumulation of power, to dismember our nation from within – and still we continue to elect them.

There are those who may feel that by bringing the subject of politics into a day of remembrance is in bad taste – unfortunately this one day of remembrance has been politicised by those who use this day to posture and preen before us with a faux show of humility, but which for them is but another photo opportunity.

It is a great pity – and ironic – that those who ask us to respect do not, themselves, deserve our respect.

What our Sovereign must be thinking when She surveys this annual event, one can but wonder.

 


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