Sunday Thoughts

With my belief in Direct Democracy and the basic idea that power should always be devolved down to the most practical level, several stories appeared which promptly made me question the input and presence of our political class in each matter.

A great furore has built up over Sunday Trading laws and the fact that the extension to those laws, brought in by the Coalition for the duration of the Olympics, should be extended or not. Let us leave to one side the question of whether or not the Coalition stated, at the introduction of the extension, that it would only be temporary; let us leave to one side the religious argument based on observance of the Sabbath. Just what business is it of the political class when shops, whatever their size and floor area, are open for business? Under ‘Harrogate’ such matters would be decided by local administrative units (counties, cities, towns) following a decision reached by the people of each ‘unit’. (Eat your heart out, Peter Hitchens).

The question of ‘the right to die’ has also been in the news, promoted by the distressing case of Tony Nicklinson who suffers from ‘locked in syndrome’. Needless to say, this is an extremely difficult subject however if, as I believe, power must be devolved down to the most practical level then one has to ask of our political elite, whose life is it – that of the individual or that of the political class? Lord Falconer, writing in today’s Mail, believes that ultimately it is a step too far for the law to allow one person to kill another because the person wants to die. As Chair of the Commission on Assisted Dying, he and his colleagues are of the opinion that only someone who has 12 months or less to live should have the right to be assisted to die and that it would also have to involve the person killing themselves and not being killed by someone else. When someone, as have I, makes a stipulation that should they suffer a life-threatening situation, following for example an operation, that they do not wish to be resuscitated, one has to ask whether the medical staff attending to that person have not assisted them to die?

Michael Gove, a cabinet member of the Coalition, has approved the selling of school playing fields and his decision is taken after consideration by the School Playing Fields Advisory Panel, an ‘independent’ group of experts (Emphasis on ‘independent’ mine, being a cynic. Of the SPFAP, there appears no trace on Google, nor on the DofE website – at least that I can see). One wonders about what input and weight the views of parents carry in any decision to sell off playing fields – and if none, why? Once again, under ‘Harrogate’, matters of education would be devolved down to the lowest unit – in this case parents.

Melissa Kite, Mail on Sunday, raises the thorny question about building on the Green Belt, bearing in mind that draft proposals were subsequently strengthened and that development of brownfield sites is actively encouraged. Yet again we return to the question of ownership; who owns public land, politicians or the people?

Apparently David Cameron has ordered ministers to consider backing a £30bn project to harness the tidal power of the Severn estuary. No public money would be involved (where have we heard that before?) but the catch is that the project would rely on green energy subsidies paid to wind and solar plants, which add to customers’ bills. Once again the public’s money is involved, so as it is our money should we not have a say whether (a) we agree to spend that; and (b) do we want an energy supply part-owned by a foreign country? (Ok, I know some of our energy sources already are).

I suspect most readers of this blog would agree with the statement that politicians intrude and interfere far too much in our lives and that that process has to be halted – nay reversed. It is ironic that politicians are unable to see that their never-ending usurpation of power is what has led them to be reviled. My own view of politicians can be summed up by a quotation of Jarod Kintz:

“I once saw a politician walking a dog, and I thought, “How absurd—an animal walking an animal.” Then I thought, “If given the choice, I’d rather vote for the dog.”


7 Responses

  1. Peter C says:

    SPFAP is another of the quangos set up by Labour to service the DfE. Worse it is one of those quangos made up of representatives from, you guessed it, other quangos, vested interests and government fake charities. In this case:

    National Playing Fields Association
    Central Council of Physical Recreation
    Learning through Landscapes
    National Association of Head Teachers
    Local Government Association.

    I am starting to think that at least half the working population must be employed by these busy-body organisations set up to regiment and police every aspect of life today they have become so ubiquitous.

    • david says:

      Guessed as much – knew the LGA were on board and one or two others. Was interested to see the full membership list, which is what I could not find!

      Twould seem you are spot-on with your last sentence!

  2. Ian Hills says:

    Interestingly the EDF nuclear reactors – assuming we get them – will be subsidised too, uranium being renewable. Ish.

  3. DP111 says:

    ‘Locked in syndrome’

    This is a malady that can occur in individuals as well as collectives, such as a nation.

    “Experts” tell us that it is well nigh impossible with current technology, to know if a ‘locked in syndrome’ nation wishes to live or die, leave alone what it wants to do with its life. Social, political and Medical experts believe, that it is better for such a nation to euthanised, and start again with a new national group.

  4. Andy Baxter says:

    Hard to disagree with you David except the issue of ‘right to die’ with assistance which is a thorny vexed minefield of moral and lawful corridors full of potential laws of unintended consequences.

    Re: Common people and common issues and slightly aside but picking up on your question “Yet again we return to the question of ownership; who owns public land, politicians or the people?

    Prior to The Enclosure Acts which took place between 1750-1860 where politicians and the establishment basically ‘stole’ our common land which is estimated at some 14,000,000 million acres people were free to graze livestock, grow food and use such land for common use and the common good, the land was not owned by a public authority or an individual but was owned by the common people of the area in which they lived.

    The Enclosure Acts were to me the largest piece of theft by the establishment of our common heritage, far greater than all the expenses milked from the public purse by MP’s of late.

    I live near an area that was not ‘enclosed’ and to this day the land is still used by the people of the village for grazing, livestock, chickes and growing in allotments as well as horse riding and other leisure pursuits, It is well managed and no one abuses the ‘common rights’ such land provides. I often take my dog walking over the acres of grassland and the river that runs through it and for me it is a real pleasure knowing that it is land for everyones use.

    • david says:

      Must agree with your first paragraph and content, however it is not an insurmountable problem, is it? Can not the decision about the right to die not be made in some form of living will? Can that not be lodged with a solicitor and that solicitor (or a fellow solicitor,should your’s have retired) not attend at the time you exercise that prior wish?

      As to the rest of your comment, again can but agree re theft.

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