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.