Tag Archive: Democratised Dictatorship

What is our Parliament for (2)

We see from the Guardian an article by their Political Editor, Toby Helm in which he states that with Tory women MPs quitting Westminster over its old-fashioned ways, Lib Dem reforms failing and the young being urged not to vote, parliament could be called unfit for purpose. The article rehashes old ground, such as anti-social hours and the lack of gender inequality,  but also hints at a subject that is rarely mentioned which is the lack of say an MP has where policy is concerned.

The article concludes with suggestions from a selection of vested interests, including Katie Ghose, Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society. For this person to suggest that politics needs to be opened up to a wider talent pool and that the voting age be lowered to 16 or 17 calls into question the talent pool from which she herself was chosen.

Just what does a 16 or 17-year-old know or understand about ‘the way of the world’? Why stop at 16, why not lower it to 14-year-olds? Looking around at the intellectual understanding of ‘matters world’ and ‘matters home’ I would not lower the voting age – I would justifiably raise it. With regard to Ghose’s wish to widen the talent pool, it could be said that with the rise of Ukip that is being done – however when one looks at Ukip – and a recent statement by Janice Atkinson, one of their prospective MEPs (brought to our attention by Autonomous Mind) – one can but shake ones head at what a widening of the talent pool is producing.

The other suggestions are, it is presumed, given with a ‘tongue in cheek’ approach, especially where that of Philip Blond is concerned. Claire Annesley, in arguing for the need of quotas, undermines her own case because that could only lead to the installation of unqualified and ill-suited people purely on the basis of equality. Nan Sloane and Kayte Lawton obviously have their ‘vested interests’ to promote and as such calls into question their right to proffer any substantive view whatsoever.

What none of the above ‘stakeholders’ thought to mention is the lack of separation of power twixt the Executive and the Legislature, which is one of the reasons for our living in what I term a democratised dictatorship. There are of course, others; such as the selection process of potential MPs, the inability of the electorate to question, halt, or amend any political decision made by those in Parliament; and the inability of the electorate to have any voice in how their money – extracted from them by means of taxation over which, again, they have no voice – is spent and on what it is spent. 

Being the Guardian, what we are treated to is yet more socialist thinking and that they are unable to see the wood for the trees is illustrated, one might say delightfully, by an article appearing in Politics Home by Natasha Engel: Labour, North East Derbyshire. Writing about the influence and power Quangos have, she writes: While the transfer of power to these agencies may have been motivated by a genuine commitment to improve public services, the result has been the creation of a bureaucracy which lies beyond the reach of people or Parliament. Where the creation of a bureaucracy which lies beyond the reach of people or Parliament is concerned, I can only reply to Ms. Engel: the EU? No doubt the irony of that which she complains lies easily within her party’s wish – and that of our political elite – to remain a member of that monstrous construct.

Let us by all means widen the talent pool – but not within the constrictions imposed by those who are  only interested in the preservation of a means for self-improvement to the detriment of the majority. If politics needs a revolution to change it, then by all means let us have one – and the sooner the better.

 

 


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They just do not understand

Two articles in the Observer today are worth time reading and dissecting for the ‘head in the sand’ premise on which they are both written. The articles are authored by Chuka Umunna and Andrew Rawnsley; the former writing about the disengagement of people from politics, while the latter concentrates on the latest opinion poll produced by Lord Ashcroft.

Umunna deplores the present state of tribal politics and the adversarial style currently employed and suggests politics must be ‘opened up’ to the people. Illustrating that and how his party are doing just that he praises Ed Miliband’s decision to hold a primary to choose the Labour candidate for the next London Mayoral elections. This primary would be open to all Londoners but with the proviso that they have registered as Labour supporters – which presumably is code for being a Labour Party member. Is that is not an example of the continuation of that which Umunna complains – namely tribalism?

He writes that to contest ideas on what is best for our country is essential in a healthy democracy - which is very true, if only we had democracy in this country, which we do not; and if the debate involved the people, which it does not. Umunna fails to recognise that, while people are fed-up with the ya-boo of political debate, they are also disenchanted with politicians promising things and not delivering. A prime example is devolution of power, a subject which when looking around only the blind would accept that what has happened is not a charade.

Umunna also complains about ‘short-termism’ where business is affected by changes of government and informs us that Ed Balls would set up an ‘independent infrastructure commission‘ (so more public money to fund yet another quango). Needless to say the moment a politician calls for an independent body to be created, we all know that it will be anything but ‘independent’ – but again I digress. What is interesting to note is that he informs us that regional development agencies, disbanded by the Coalition, is ‘unfinished business’ – so presumably Labour are intent on reinstating yet another level of government at which the European Union will be able to intercede and undermine the status of Parliament. He also writes that rebuilding party membership is vital and for that reason Ed Miliband is determined his party once again become a mass movement. Is that not another example of continuing tribalism?

There is one further point to make about Umunna’s article, however that is common with the article by Rawnsley. Commenting on Ashcroft’s poll, Rawnsley also fails to mention that that which Ashcroft is suggesting the Conservative Party should do is to build up their own tribal following; while also failing to mention what is a blight on the current system of democracy per se, namely that representative democracy results in the people having to make a decision based on which party is offering them a menu and asking them to select that which is the most palatable.

Umunna wants reform of the political system however, unfortunately, in common with all politicians today he refuses to address the fact that representative democracy is not true democracy, that it results in what I have long termed democratised dictatorship. Both pieces are what I term ‘propaganda pieces’, ones desperately attempting to maintain the status quo where our system of governance is concerned – and also both, subliminally, attempting to cement our membership of the European Union, which while professing it practices democracy does no such thing.

We bloggers, who believe that we have in this country a fundamental problem with the current political system and democracy per se,  can write about that problem until the proverbial cow comes home but we have a major obstacle in that our readership is minimal, we can never achieve the coverage that does our media. As a result it is necessary that the debate be taken to the people – and that must, in my humble opinion, begin now and at the local level.

Update: It has just come to my attention that a variation of the tribalism meme has appeared in the Mail on Sunday, authored by Toby Young. A nice idea but it immediately begs the question that if the current system of democracy needs ‘tweaking’, then why do we not do the job properly and change completely a system that does not deliver that which people ideally want.

 

 


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Time someone laid down the law?

Yet again Christopher Booker finds cause to highlight the ‘goings-on’ in our Family Courts where children are concerned.

Immediately this begs the question, where it is illegal under current law for anyone to be sent to prison except in open court so that their name can be known and, likewise the reason – just why have they been jailed? Yet still this practice continues, writes Christopher Booker. So, one can but ponder, why no immediate appeal by Defense Counsel on behalf of their client at what is totally illegal?

I have posted previously on the subject of Family Courts here (which kindly got me a mention in Booker’s column) and here. My efforts resulted in my Member of Parliament replying thus.

If the head of the Family Division of the High Court, Sir James Munby, seems unable to ‘lay down the law’; if Members of Parliament seem unable/unwilling/frit to ‘lay down the law’; and one’s own Member of Parliament appears likewise (doing, seemingly in the process, a ‘Pontius Pilate’) then just what hope is there for ‘rule of law’?

In view of which is it not time that we, the people, ‘laid down the law’? Not just in the matter of Family Courts, but generally? Do we not have the right to decide the type of society in which we wish to live?

Where democracy is concerned, if those we elect are able to disregard the wishes and complaints of those they are supposedly elected to represent, just why are those elected, elected? This begs the further question of just why do those of us, who are taxpayers, continue to agree to fund them?

Democracy: where is it and why do we not have it? In answer to that question, it is not the political class who should hang their heads in shame – it is we the people who have allowed said political class to bastardise democracy per se, willingly it could be said, through our disinterest in ‘matters political’.

Do we not deserve the state of democratised dictatorship under which we all live? Just how much longer must time pass before we finally raise our voices to demand the equality that our political class so crave?

One again, just asking………..

 


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This is representative democracy in action?

A screenshot of the House of Commons during the debate today on the subject of immigration:

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This is all that were available, among our Legislature, to hold the Government to account over what is an important Bill?

An unfair comment, it could be assumed, bearing in mind that MPs have ‘other duties’. So let us consider those ‘other duties’ – and who, actually, comprises the Legislature.

Under representative democracy a government is formed by the party obtaining a majority of MPs following a general election – or, in the case of a ‘hung parliament’ such as occurred in 2010 – two parties agreeing to forego their principles and ideology in order to seize power.

Just how can a Legislature exist, from among 650, when the Executive comprises circa 150 ministers, whips and ‘other office holders’. Add to that the Parliamentary Private Secretaries (PPS) and those who will always vote for the government in the hope of personal advancement – and we reach circa 200/250 MPs who will not – or cannot – due to their ‘alliegence’ to the government, for whatever reason, hold the Executive to account during the passage of a Bill through Parliament. Combine those figures with the ‘convention’ that the Leader of the Opposition cannot appear if the Prime Minister of the day is not present – likewise ‘Shadow’ Spokespersons if their government counterpart is also not present; just how can a ‘government of the day’ be held to account by a Legislature that is so obviously compromised in the duty that it has? And let us not forget the Speaker and Deputy Speakers – which begs the question just how few does the Legislature actually comprise?

We then have to consider those MPs who are members of Committees – Select or otherwise – who may well be absent from the Chamber of the House of Commons, together with those that may be attending to ‘Constituency Matters’. In the case of the latter, just why are those MPs forced to concern themselves with matters which should – and could, were the political system allow – be dealt with by local government councillors. If local councillors cannot deal with – and resolve – local matters, just why the hell do we elect and pay them?

And this is democracy in action, undertaken by those who profess to represent the views of those that elected them? The entire ‘show’ is an affront to democracy and it is also a ‘slap in the face’ to those of the electorate who have been led to believe that representative democracy works in their best interests.

That the electorate have been reduced to an inability to realise for themselves what is wrong with the present system of democracy was illustrated by those that attended the recent meeting in Harrogate. Those attendees – at least, it appeared, the majority – sat enraptured while the reason for the 6 Demands was explained to them in some detail. If those that attended, who professed to know what was wrong with the present system of democracy as practiced within the UK, and who seemed to have a need for those deficits explained to them – and were thus unable, in their own minds, to extrapolate the need for the 6 Demands – then what hope is there for the electorate, per se?

That our nation is doomed can but be illustrated by the fact that if those among us who sense that there is something wrong with democracy in this country but need that which is wrong explained to them, then the political class have, indeed, succeeded in their aim – they have managed to create a nation of unthinking robots. In which case, have they, the political class, not accomplished that which they set out to achieve – domination of their ‘fellow man’ – and thus created a democratised dictatorship?

Just asking……..

Afterthought: There you go – did WfW not promise a ‘Tuesday Rant’?


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Immigration

Natalie Bennett, Leader of the Green Party, has an article in the Independent headlined: Why we need a movement to counter xenophobia; sub-headlined: A rising level of anti-immigrant rhetoric will make life difficult for many.

From Wikipedia we learn: Xenophobia is the irrational or unreasoned fear of that which is perceived to be foreign or strange. It comes from the Greek words ξένος (xenos), meaning “stranger,” “foreigner,” and φόβος (phobos), meaning “fear”. Xenophobia can manifest itself in many ways involving the relations and perceptions of an ingroup towards an outgroup, including a fear of losing identity, suspicion of its activities, aggression, and desire to eliminate its presence to secure a presumed purity.

Irrational or unreasoned it may be to some, but one has to ask what is wrong with the people of any nation wishing to preserve their identity, customs and traditions? What is wrong with the people of a nation, any nation, deciding what happens in their country; and the direction in which their country should travel? That against which I continually ‘rail’ is the belief that a minority of any country should dictate that which occurs in any country – whatever country one looks at, it is one that belongs to the people of that country; not a minority of that country.

When considering immigration per se, it is my belief that Theodore Roosevelt spoke words of wisdom – which I paraphrase: In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes British and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon that person becoming in every facet British, and nothing but British…There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is British, but something else also, isn’t British at all. We have room for but one flag, the British flag; We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language; and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the British people.

A personal view, obviously, but like so many others I am completely fed up with a minority telling me – nay, in effect attempting to dictate to me – what I should accept in my own country, especially when the system of democracy in which they believe leaves me without a voice.

Just saying, Natalie……………


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Syria and democracy (2)

Following the first vote in Parliament we were assured that intervention in Syria was definitely ‘off the table’, yet now it seems that a second vote may well take place if circumstances change very significantly. We also learned today that an ICM poll showed approximately 70+% of the 1000 polled were against intervention.

Now, were circumstances to change significantly the situation could well arise whereby MPs couldwell vote for military intervention which, if opinion polls are to be believed, would be contrary to the wishes of the people – or at least 1000 of them.

Bearing in mind that it is the electorate, or at least those who pay income tax, that will be funding the cost of any intervention; should it not be the decision of all of them and not just a decision taken by our elected representatives based on the opinion of 1000?

This is not democracy in action – such a situation, described above, would be yet another example of democratised dictatorship. One can but repeat that our system of democracy is truly nauseating. 

 


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In the words of a renowned constitutional theorist….

“If you want to check someone’s principles, give him authority. Then have a seat & watch”

Unknown

When considering the principles of politicians one can do no better than to refer to the words of David Cameron on the steps of No10 Downing Street on attaining usurping the office of Prime Minister (10th May 2010):

“…. it is about making sure people are in control – and that the politicians are always their servant and never their masters….. “

Yes, these words I have quoted in previous posts, however they are quoted again to underline a belief held by A.V. Dicey.

Regular and informed readers will be well aware that A.V. Dicey was a British jurist and constitutional theorist perhaps best known for his work: An Introduction to the Study of the Law of the Constitution published in 1885; the principles expounded therein being considered part of the uncodified British constitution.

It will have been noticed of late that there has been much discussion about the possibility of a referendum on this nation’s membership of the European Union; and it will have also been noticed that some politicians are against the principle of referendums because they argue that foremost among the principles of Dicey’s work (and politicians are extremely fond of quoting Dicey) was the “Sovereignty of Parliament”.

Intriguingly it would appear, from research on the internet, that A.V. Dicey was the first to advocate the use of referendums in 1890 with an article in Contemporary Review, one entitled: Ought the referendum to be introduced into England?. It is indeed paradoxical that Dicey should be the first to advocate the use of referendums as, according to Dicey, central to the British Constitution is the Sovereignty of Parliament – and the Sovereignty of Parliament, as just mentioned, some MPs maintain precludes the use of referendums.

Yet A.V. Dicey held that there was an inherent weakness in the British system of representative democracy and its government. In a letter to James Bryce on 23rd March 1891 (source: Bryce Papers, Bodleian Library MS 3 fo.83.) he writes:

“the possibility….which no-one can dispute of a fundamental change passing into law which the mass of the nation do not desire.”

In effect what Dicey was alluding to was the fact that the foundation of representational democracy was, to use the vernacular, shot to hell; and by inference that it was not Parliament, but the people, who were sovereign.

That attempts by those of us who wish to change our democracy to one of direct democracy face a fight with our political elite, one which we readily recognize, is again illustrated by A.V. Dicey. In 1915, in the Introduction to Law of the Constitution, 8th ed  (London: Macmillan 1915 p.c.), he wrote:

“It is certain that no man who is really satisfied with the working of our party system will ever look with favour on an institution which aims at correcting the vices of party government.”

Rhetorical question I know, but are we still in doubt that our political elite are content with the existing party system. one which really does place them as participants of the current system of democratised dictatorship?

All believers in the system of direct democracy believe, as do I, that the only truly democratic way to make decisions on public policy is by the full, direct and unmediated participation of all the electorate. It is they who should set the agenda, discuss the issues and determine the policies. All things considered, any indirect form of participation, such as decisions by elected representatives without recourse to the electorate, cannot be fully democratic. Did not Dicey, by inference, state that it is not Parliament that is sovereign, but the people?

Addendum: Being constrained by limited battery life, in view of my power outage, it is acknowledged that this article is incomplete where detail is concerned however I felt it worth publishing in order to provoke further discussion among my readership – and hopefully beyond.


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Round-up time

Having been off-line for 48 hours or so, I find there is so much on which to comment – so I thought a “round-up” of a few news items would be in order; with an appropriate comment or two.

Norman Tebbit has a coruscating article on his Telegraph blog about Abu Qatada, the ECHR and Derrick Kinsasi – well worth a read, as always. One point that appears to have been missed in all the euphoria about the ejection of Qatada is the fate of his wife and four children – are they not still in this country and in receipt of benefits, as I remember reading somewhere?

Theresa May is to opt out of approximately two thirds of measures on which she and the government have the choice, but apparently among those she is preparing to opt back into is a “revised” European Arrest Warrant. Bruno Waterfield has a rather good article asking what happened to political principle – I know, I know; among the present incumbents was principle ever one of their characteristics? In the article linked, Waterfield in turn links to an earlier weekend article – one, again, worth reading. In respect of the decision made today, May she be forgiven? I sincerely hope not.

Andrew Alexander, writing in the Mail, has an article headed: Left or Right….Can you spot the difference?” – to which there is probably shouts of deafening proportions, similar to that which occurred during today’s PMQs, of “No”. But then how could there be a difference when neither of the Lib/Lab/Con actually wish to govern this country, preferring to out-source that function to Brussels. The omission of Ukip in the previous sentence is deliberate as they do wish to govern this country, but after winning any referendum and gaining power, they have not the slightest idea of how they would go about that function. 

I note that Francis Maude wishes to create Extended Ministerial Offices (EMOs) thus continuing the increase in the employment of SPADS and other advisers – this on top of the civil servants who work for ministers. It would appear SPADS are really useful if you want to get things done, if you want to know what your ministerial colleagues are trying to do to stop you getting things done; and, more importantly, if you want to have a hope of the public reading, in the newspapers, about you getting things done. The burning question, to which we all know the answer, is who will fund this increase of SPADS and other advisers?

One of the best questions at PMQs today was that from Phil Wilson (Labour): “How many jobs should an MP have?” Lots of bluster from Cameron but little by way of an answer. Does it really matter if the ultimate restraint is in place? Switzerland has what may be termed part-time politicians, in that they all have outside-jobs, in fact invariably their outside-job is the main source of their remuneration. Where the problem about MP’s second jobs in this country is concerned is that it seems said second jobs are a means of feathering their own nests – Tim Yeo and taxis?

What do all these stories have in common? Will you wake up at the back? Where is the agreement of the people? What means do the people have of halting any of the above? When were the people asked to agree to the extra spending that some of these stories involve? Decisions are being taken on a number of matters, none of which to my knowledge were contained in either the Conservative or Liberal Democrat manifestos – which begs the question: where is their mandate for said decisions?

And we do not live under a democratised dictatorship?


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The innocence of youth

Michael Heaver writes:

“Be honest: how many of you vote at for the best candidate at election time? The truth is that Presidential-style politics has become a permanent fixture in British politics, and one which has meant we generally vote for parties and party leaders, rather than the individual candidates themselves.

This is sad and destructive. It has led to the type of tribal voting in what are known as ‘Labour or Conservative areas’ that allows party leaders to put a blindly loyal puppet into a safe seat. They then spend the next few years voting in favour of their career and promotion, rather than their constituents and conscience. Morally, it’s pretty repugnant. It goes against much of what democracy is supposed to be about, too. Representation, rather than self-promotion.”

Young Michael needs to firstly understand what democracy actually is, before writing about it, because democracy per se is not about someone “representing” the views of a group of people, neither is it about an elected “representative” voting according to their conscience regardless of the wishes of his/her constituents.

Open Primaries are but part of true democracy – true – but there is little point in Open Primaries if the person selected is able to remain part of of the process of making law because of their conscience and beliefs, to the detriment of those they are supposed to represent.

If the people are unable to halt or question, within the given period of a parliamentary term, the proposed intentions of their government, then the people are subjected, within that parliamentary term, to a situation that I have repeatedly termed democratised dictatorship.

It is with Michael Hever’s definition of the word democracy, bearing in mind the foregoing, that I find Ukip no different from the Lib/Lab/Con. Witness Ukip’s home page; and let us concentrate on the section “What we stand for” – and in particular the section “Restore Self Government and Democracy”:

“The British people must decide through an immediate referendum if we stay in the EU or to come out and claw back independent power over our national life.”;

and:

“Give the public power to require binding local and national referenda on major issues.”

Not only are there no proposals for the “hereafter”, following a “No” vote for continued EU membership, in respect of existing treaties to which we are a part only through said membership of the EU; but more importantly what, exactly, is the definition of “major issues” and who decides what are “major issues”? A Ukip government? If so, then we are back to the status quo; namely “democratised dictatorship” – in which case, how are Ukip any different to the Lib/Lb/Con?

It seems to me that the “Ukip message” has, on those particular points, two more holes than the proverbial colander…………

I may have singled out, fairly or unfairly, Michael Heaver as the innocence of youth, but where the message by Ukip supporters is concerned perhaps I should have also included the middle-aged and elderly?

Just asking………….

 


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Where is “democracy”, Mr. Redwood, in that which you write?

John Redwood has an article entitled: “Parliamentary Law and Treaty Law”, from which:

“Statute law designed by a free and sovereign Parliament has two great advantages over these Treaties. The first is Parliament can regularly improve and update the moral standards and viewpoints behind the laws as opinion evolves. Secondly the public can remove members of a Parliament that make a mess of it and insist on urgent change after a new election.”

So Parliament can regularly improve and update the moral standards and viewpoints behind the laws as opinion evolves? And whose moral standards, viewpoints and opinions are we discussing here? Those of the political class, or those of the people? So the public can remove members of a Parliament that make a mess of it and insist on urgent change after a new election? And in the ensuing periods twixt elections exactly what can the people do about that with which they disagree?

In those few questions referred to in the quote, we have a politician, revered by some among the electorate as being “on their side”, who wishes to continue the present system of democratised dictatorship for reasons of self-preservation, self-aggrandisement and, more importantly, power over their fellow man. Just where is there any sense of democracy – demos/people, kratos/power; ie, people power – in that? Where is the voice of the people? There isn’t – and the last thing those like Redwood want is the voice of the people.

We are continually informed by the political class that they are elected to represent us, yet where in the process of their “deliberations” are our moral standards; our viewpoints and our opinions canvassed? Oh those of “partners”; quangos and ncos are listened to – but they are not the people! I see no statement from /Redwood that this would change were he to have his way where governance of this country is concerned.

Redwood = charlatan?

Just asking……….

Update: I have posted this link under the heading of a rebuttal and requested that he cross-post his reply on this blog for the benefit of my readers – I wait with bated breath……….

 


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