Tag Archive: Democracy

A storm in a tea cup?

It has come to light that Oxfam has been rapped over the knuckles by the Charity Commission for failing to maintain political neutrality – which is hardy surprising when so many ‘charities’ have chosen to voluntarily politicise themselves and thus become lobbying agents for government in the field of policy. This is not the first time that a complaint has been made against Ofam, as mentioned by Your Freedom and Ours.

Oxfam’s annual accounts for 2013/2014 state (page 8) that their income is derived from a variety of sources: voluntary donations, trading income, investment income, governments, institutional donors and other public authorities. The pie-chart on page 9 reveals that only £5.8million, out of a total income of £389.1million, came from appeals while £172.4million came from government and other public authorities. They are not above taking money from the EU either as this speech by Siim Kallas, at that time  Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for Administrative Affairs, Audit and Anti-Fraud, in 2007 shows.

Where fake charities are concerned Oxfam is by no means the only one that now spends an inordinate amount of time and money lobbying government for policy implementation. In this regard this link contains some excellent papers by Chris Snowdon, such as Where does the state end and civil society begin; How the government uses charities to lobby itself; and What can be done abut state funded activism.

There is of course two further points that can be made and that is first, why did it take a complaint to make the Charity Commission act and if they were doing the job they were supposed to do should they not have acted of their own accord; and second, why have other charities not had their knuckles rapped?

One has to question the statement on page 2 about the aim  of the Charity Commmission to be an efficient, objective and proportionate authority that seeks to deliver just and reasonable outcomes. 

 

 


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That pesky £1.7bn EU Bill

It would appear that the question of whether the £1.7bn EU bill was halved or not just will not lie down and die.

On Wednesday last George Osborne was in front of the Treasury Select Committee, initially about the 2014 Autumn Statement, which was then followed by questioning on this supposed  halving  thingy (starts 16:48:17).

What followed was a classic example of a politician wriggling on a hook and utilising reams of waffle without exactly saying anything. Also appearing with Osborne was Mark Bowman, Director General, International and EU, HM Treasury; and he too was ‘well on the waffle’.

Not that the Treasury Select Committee is the only parliamentary committee on the case as the House of Lords EU Committee on Financial and Economic Affairs have asked the Government to justify claims that it “halved the bill”; and they have written, at the beginning of this month, to David Gauke M, Financial Secretary at HM Treasury.

Adding fuel to the increasing flames, we find today that Andrew Grice, writing in the Independent, reports that David Cameron, ‘in Council’, suggested to the other members that there was no need to create a big division and that communications needed careful handling – which would suggest that the bill was not the surprise it was made out to be – prior to then going out and creating such a division.

It seems that the old saying, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive , has not lost its relevance.

 

 


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Evil EVEL?

Today in the House of Commons William Hague presented a Command Paper setting out three options by which English Votes for English Laws (EVEL) could be introduced and the Hansard report (uncorrected at the time of writing) of those proceedings can be read here.

Hague’s statement was riddled with inconsistencies – but then what else can we expect from the current political class? Witness:

  • Hague stated that there was a fundamental issue of fairness – if this is so, just what the hell was Blair doing in 1997 but ‘gerrymandering’ the electoral process if not for political gain? If Blair’s actions were not for political gain, then why was devolution not ‘equal’ among the constituent nations of the United Kingdom where devolved powers were concerned?
  • Hague maintained that England, like Scotland, must have more power over their affairs -yet the people of the constituent parts of the United Kingdom will not have that power as it is only the politicians to whom the power is being granted.
  • Hague spoke about the introduction of direct democracy, by which means people will have local referendums on local issues. If people are to have local referendums on local issues, why can’t they have national referendums on national issues? Where is the difference, if we are to have devolution of power?
  • Hague also maintained that law making decisions must remain with Parliament – so if we are to have devolution per se, why should local people not decide their own domestic laws?
  • In his statement Hague summarised the three options that were proposed, which begs the question: if the principle is for only English (and Welsh) MPs to vote on the measures affecting their respective country, then what is the reason for the other two options?
  • In a short interview clip on LBC, Hague was heard to state that: ‘This is not about handing England the same powers as Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland‘ – in which case what the hell is it about, if not the diminuisation of England?

The Command Paper itself raises so many questions in regard to how EVEL could be implemented and it obviously has not been thought through, as is evident from the Command Paper – if anyone reads it, that is.

When will our political class realise that true democracy cannot be delivered under representative democracy? It is beyond argument that the form of democracy that the political class wish to introduce can only be done by the introduction of The Harrogate Agenda.

The underlying message of what we heard today can be summarised in two words: ‘Stitch Up’ – and it did not help allay that feeling when one heard the questions/comments posed/made by backbench MPs. Puerile would be an understatement!

Democracy in action? Pah!

 


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Oh ‘Great’………………

I see that the next wanna-be tenant of No 10 Downing Street has been visiting Great Yarmouth today. Have readers noticed how when visiting anywhere he always feels it is great to be there? (pass the sick bucket someone).

Someone also needs to inform Ed Miliband that – thanks to a load of free publicity earlier this year – the entire country is now aware of the fact he is the son of immigrants fleeing the Nazis; and that it is now becoming a tad tiresome as a topic in his speeches, such as this one today.

Yet another statement that is also becoming tiresome is the repetition of the  mantra that to leave the EU would be a disaster for jobs, business and families here. Those like Miliband who continually spout this ‘religion’ need to justify and explain why it would be a disaster for jobs, business and families and how it would be a disaster for jobs, business and families.

Of all his mannerisms, the most appalling and annoying is that of waving his forefinger when attempting to emphasise a point he is making, as here;

milliband-yarmouth-015-jbye.jpg

(photo source)

Leaving  to one side his facial expression, waving your finger at someone is the height of discourtesy. It is the type of gesture employed by a parent admonishing their miscreant child – and Miliband needs to be informed we are not children.

Unfortunately, every time Ed Miliband appears  (and the sentiment applies to the majority of his political class) I cannot but help recall a quote by Bob Edwards:

Now I know what a statesman is; he’s a dead politician. We need more statesman.


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2014
12/15

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David's Musings

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Democracy?

Two articles with an unstated, but common, theme appear in yesterday’s media output; one by Iain Martin in the Telegraph and the other by Andrew Rawnsley in the Guardian; and it will be no surprise to readers when I state that the unstated, but common, theme is that of our democracy.

Iain Martin is of the opinion that unless Jim Murphy can restore Labour’s fortunes with the Scottish electorate then the Union is doomed, while Andrew Rawnsley feels that the first-past-the-post electoral system can only lead to less stable government as Parliament will be hung, drawn and quartered.

While we all know that Martin is an inhabitant of the Westminster Bubble and thus knows no life outside it, according to Wikipedia he is a Scottish journalist and author who has held senior positions, including editor, with newspapers in Scotland and England. As such it continually amazes me that he appears unable to think outside the box.

Andrew Rawnsley is also a political journalist and broadcaster, currently being the Chief Political Commentator and Associate Editor of The Observer, a position he has held since 1993. He too is an inhabitant of the Westminster Bubble and thus seems to know of no life outside it – and he also appears unable to think outside the box.

Martin’s assertion that should Labour lose its support in Scotland it will mean the end of the Union is absurd in that he obviously has not thought though said assertion. Likewise, Rawnsley’s assertion that the current system of voting can only lead to less stable government is also absurd and for the same reason. It is quite possible for the Union to remain intact and for Parliament to provide stable government even while no party has an absolute majority. All that is required to solve both ‘problems’ is for the adoption of The Harrogate Agenda.

Very few political journalists firstly will acknowledge that Blair’s initial act of devolution was flawed from the onset; and on the extremely rare occasions they do tackle the subject of devolution, their analysis is totally illogical. Very few journalists are not only content, it seems, to turn a deaf ear to a flawed system of devolution, but also to appear to turn a deaf ear to the deficits of our democratic system.

What this means is that both the political class and the media (again I exempt Christopher Booker) are failing in the duty of care they owe to those to whom they ‘preach’ and thus through the incompetence, deliberate or otherwise, of two major sources of information (and education), the public are being led up the proverbial garden path.

This is democracy?

 


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2014
12/11

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David's Musings

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Thursday 11th December

The fact that I am leaving at what might best be described as an unearthly hour tomorrow morning for Co. Durham (with a view to hopefully avoiding traffic on the M1, Jct 27-31) can but explain the lack of posting today and this evening.

Posting will resume tomorrow (late afternoon or early evening) and the first article will deal with two of our ‘labouring’ politicians and what can be classified as their apparent disregard for the electorate – and encapsulating, in particular, that which they would wish us to believe they hold dear; namely democracy.

 


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Economical with the actualité (3)

We all know that politicians will seize any opportunity to make a political point and/or political capital, regardless of whether or not the point they make is factually correct or not.

It would appear that Andy Burnham did just that, resulting in a rather ‘sharp’ response by Jeremy Hunt.

Apropos my preceding post, another example of lax, or sensationalist, journalism for ‘dubious’ reasons?

So, here we have an example of media and political scaremongering designed to mislead the public.

Having said all that, it is a tad ironic of Jeremy Hunt to write:

This is yet another distasteful attempt to scare people by distorting facts and distorting figures you know to be dodgy.

when the Prime Minister of the government of which Hunt is an important member has used the same tactics and in so doing turned it into an art form.

 

(With ack to Full Fact for the story)

 

 


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Economic Integration

At their recent meeting in Brussels, EU competitiveness ministers* agreed on what needs to be done to develop the single market and step up Europe’s economic integration. To those who question the last few words of the preceding sentence, then read the Press Release to which I link:

Among the priority actions to be taken in order to further develop the single market and increase Europe‘s economic integration………..

Also within the last few days, Lord Vader Mandelson is of the opinion that joining the Euro could be on the “British agenda” in years to come. When one considers the EU’s insidious incursion into our education system, he is probably correct.

 

* Yes, we do have one such: Ms. Neville-Rolfe, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and Minister for Intellectual Property – whether or not she is a ‘house-trained puss’ or a ‘cable car’ needless to say matters not.


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2014
12/08

Category:
David's Musings

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Complaining to those who no longer matter

Melissa Kite has an article in the Speccie magazine retailing what might be considered a heart-rending story about her parent’s plight caused by the decision to build HS2 and the resultant attempt to ‘lobby’ our politicians. While one can sympathise with the plight of Kite’s parents, they are but two people among hundreds of other households suffering similar hardship where HS2 is concerned.

Fraser Nelson has taken George Osborne to task for telling porkies over cutting the deficit, yet appears to turn a blind eye to other porkies politicians have told. As with Nelson, so with Kite – both convey the message that our political class ‘govern’ us, when the reality is the complete opposite.

As a journalist Melissa Kite has access to reams of information – and a little ‘digging ‘on her part would have enabled her to realise that she was wasting her time. Yes, she may well get compensation for her parents but contrary to the views of some politicians to whom she spoke, HS2 will be built – it has been so ‘mandated’ by Brussels.

Those of us who have ‘fought the state’ in one form or another can testify how difficult and time-consuming it is. Where HS2 is concerned one can be forgiven for thinking that the appeal process has deliberately been made as difficult as it appears because the political class cannot revoke the decision. As with so many aspects that affect our lives, appeal processes are but a means of throwing a veil of democracy over a decision taken by others and in which we as individuals had no part.

If Melissa Kite had any true journalistic instinct she could, by means of ‘digging’, have shown that this country is but a ‘rotten borough‘ within the European Union. As it is, she attempts to fly a kite – and unsuccessfully at that.

 

 


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Lies, Damned Lies – and Statistics

Much is made, by Europhiles, of the fact that there are as many ‘Brits’ living in the EU as there are EU citizens living in the UK – of which this graphic is one used to illustrate that fact:

B3mlh-XIIAItnyw

The total land area of the EU is 1,707,642 square miles, which means that, if we accept the figures of the graphic above,there are 2.2million Brits living in a land area of 1,614,004 square miles - and 2.2million EU citizens living in  a land area of 93,638 square miles. (source)

Handy, statistics, aren’t they? But then statistics have never told the full story, have they?


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