Tag Archive: Edward Spalton

The 6 Demands – a suggestion.

Edward Spalton received a request from the Derby Telegraph for an article, one which it has been intimated will appear in tomorrow’s edition of that newspaper. Edward has given me permission to circulate said article, reproduced below, with the comment that if his suggestion could be added as a “bolt-on” to the 6 Demands, he would be extremely delighted.

They Work for You

a Matter of Trust between Parliament and People

by Edward Spalton

For most of our history, there was a tradition of unpaid public service in Britain. It survives still amongst  Justices of the Peace and the now largely symbolic, honorary  offices of High Sheriff and Lord Lieutenant.  In the nineteenth century, elected councillors took over many of the duties previously performed by local benches of Magistrates . Until quite recently councillors were also unpaid.

The first time central government started to pay MPs  was in the  17th century Commonwealth period. Parliament was sitting for longer and  a “second home allowance” was introduced at the generous rate of £4 per week. Journalists of the time saw this as purchasing the votes of MPs for the government. One wrote that they had been “taught to speak Aye or No …at certain hours by direction, just like Cheapside clock strikers”.  They had become “voting instruments”, “those state catamites upon whom any votes whatsoever may be begotten”. 

Today, debates on serious matters of high importance are often conducted in a largely empty chamber which suddenly fills up magically at  the sound of the division bell. The Cheapside clock strikers never really went away!

As Parliament developed, some early commentators held that the whole party system was a sham, presenting a series of fake disagreements while the “grandees” would milk the cash cow of the kingdom’s Exchequer in co-operation with each other. Loyalty was bought by “conferring something of advantage upon those who are subservient to them, as five pounds a week” (an increased housing allowance rate) “or some petty employment” – like being made  committee chairman today.  So maybe things have not changed as much as we think.

Civil service reforms in the 19th century much reduced the old corruption  and the size of the electorate increased massively in stages.  Democracy was on the way.  Yet the intensely ambitious, extraordinarily pushy, young Winston Churchill reckoned he needed to have £10,000 in the bank from his writing (the equivalent of a million today) to afford to be an MP. People woke up to the fact that there was a pool of talented men, unable to serve their country in Parliament for lack of  money.  In 1911  Lloyd George proposed that MPs should be paid.

“When we offer £400 a year ( probably £40,000 today) ..it is not recognition of the magnitude of the service, it is not remuneration…it is not even a salary. It is just an allowance …to enable us to open the door to great and honourable public service to those men for whom this country will be all the richer, all the greater, all the stronger…”

With increases for inflation,  this was the system which lasted until 1971.  MPs also received free first class rail travel, franked envelopes for their mail and 2,000 sheets of paper per year -  no pension (unless they bought it out of their salary like most people did then), no second home allowance, no assistants,  no allowances for duck houses, moat cleaning or expensive furniture. 

Yet it was sufficient to attract and enable serious men of humble origins and great ability to serve their country when Parliament was responsible not only for the whole United Kingdom but  for a large part of the  earth’s surface and the freedom of most of its oceans. With Lloyd George’s oratorical wizardry and the determined efforts of the Liberal and Labour parties, the House of Commons quickly became one of the most socially diverse legislatures in the world. It was a revolution by evolution.

In 1971 Parliament took the decisions which set it on the course for the corrupt system of largely concealed expenses and allowances which brought MPs and Parliament into deserved public contempt and disrepute.  There was a sense of increased entitlement combined with the need to  conceal its greedy extent in  a time of inflation. They decided to farm out decisions about their salaries and perks to something called The Top Salaries Review Body.

Being an MP is not like any other job. It is not a full time job although the hours may be long.  Ambitious MPs are well  able to combine it with the demanding duties of Ministers of the Crown. A prescient MP remarked of the changes “The motions will contribute to bring about a marked alteration in the status of hon. Members  The more largely expenses are reimbursed, the less will an hon. Member be a person exercising his status at his own discretion and on his own responsibility….

….The change which will come about  as a result of this alteration in our status – because of our becoming increasingly assimilated to full time, pensioned employees – is that those who have the voice to say whether we shall or shall not be candidates of our party at a General Election gain a great accession of power over the individual and , thereby, indirectly, over the House”.   

Just as Parliament was preparing to surrender a massive, unspecified but ever increasing  amount of its power to the European Economic Community   “without further enactment” (as it says in the European Communities Act), MPs decided to feather their nests and hide behind the device of an “independent” review body. At the same time they were putting themselves under tighter control by their parties. This is one occasion when most will agree that Enoch Powell was right.

So it is a great pity that they made the same mistake again in creating IPSA  (Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority) to try to clear up the mess and restore public confidence. A return to the simplicity of the Lloyd George dispensation might  have done the trick but not this. Nobody trusts any official body now.

The simplest thing is to cut out the middle man and to treat candidates, MPs and electors as grown-ups. An MP contracts to represent his constituency rather like an NHS doctor contracts to look after his patients. Parliament could set a maximum figure per elector for an MP’s services. The MP could decide how he would use this – so much for his salary and pension, so much for travel, accommodation, assistants etc. He could make this budget part of his election manifesto – and be held to it. Thrifty candidates might not want to claim all of  the allowance.

To ensure that the MP knows who his employers are, the amount would be collected by Council Tax – a relatively small amount per household. The MP’s accounts  would be  audited annually on a common format and made available to electors at their local Council House. Receipts and fuller details to be available on reasonable request.

This would transfer the oversight from Westminster to the people. It would also be a massive transfer of influence from the party machines and highly transparent  too– something which politicans say they want but rarely achieve.

(I am indebted to Stuart Wheeler’s Book “A Crisis of Trust” available from the Bruges Group price £7.50 info@brugesgroup.com , Tel 020 7287 4414)”

An excellent suggestion where cutting out the middle man is concerned, however where I would differ from one aspect of that suggestion is to query: why should Parliament set the maximum figure – why should Parliament have the power to set any figure? In this context I would refer readers to an article which appeared on this blog under the title: “All politics is local“; from which:

“If MPs are elected locally then why should those they are representing not also decide their terms and conditions of employment together with their level of remuneration?”

Politicians of all parties tell us they want “localism”, that they want to devolve power to the people in order that they may decide local matters. Those are, indeed, brave intentions and are to be applauded – but as with any suggestion by politicians to do just that, they are but words as politicians have no such intention to so do because so to do would result in their loss of power. As the European Union is based on the precept that no power [supposedly] willingly ceded can never be returned, so likewise do our national politicians operate within our system of representative democracy – the only difference being that our national politicians have usurped said powers through the negative assent of the people and thus likewise have no intention of returning power.

Bearing in mind Demand #2, Demand #5 and the content of my post linked to above, details of how and under what conditions MPs are employed should be left to their electorate, embodied in each local constitution because if we are to have localism it must follow that the terms and conditions concerning an MP’s employment are also decided locally. As Edward Spalton suggests, this remuneration could indeed be collected via Council Tax as a separate precept along with those for the police etc. It is by such means that we see democracy being brought closer to the people with both local and national government under the direct control of the people. After all, anything else isn’t democracy – is it?


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Whose Police are our Police Forces? (2)

My article yesterday posing this question has brought forth a quick response from Edward Spalton who writes:

“Surely to goodness, David “The People’s Police”, “The People’s Court”
and more or less anything prefaced by “The People’s..” has a long enough
history of describing perfectly beastly institutions! (which always
belonged to “the party”, whether with swastika or hammer and sickle. But
as the party was the vanguard of the people, I suppose it was true
enough within the ideologies concerned. I am amazed that even David Blunkett’s  ideologically attuned ear had not picked that up.”

Edward enclosed an article he wrote, one which appeared in the British Church Newspaper a few months ago, the text of which I reproduce with his permission

”  The Guardian of the Law -

Police Constable or Political Correctness?

Edward Spalton August 2012

COMPARE AND CONTRAST the following (as they used to say in examination papers).

I …….do solemnly and sincerely declare and affirm that I will well and truly serve our Sovereign Lady the Queen in the office of Constable, without favour or affection, malice or ill will; and that I will to the best of my power cause the peace to be kept and preserved, and prevent all offences against the persons and properties of Her Majesty’s subjects; and that while I continue to hold the said office I will to the best of my skill and knowledge discharge all the duties faithfully according to law.

I…….do solemnly and sincerely declare and affirm that I will well and truly serve the Queen in the office of constable with fairness, integrity, diligence and impartiality, upholding fundamental human rights and according equal respect to all people and that I will, to the best of my power, cause the peace to be kept and preserved and prevent all offences against people and property; and that while I continue to hold the said office I will to the best of my skill and knowledge discharge all the duties thereof faithfully according to law.

 These are the old and new forms of attestation for a Police Constable,  In earlier times the attestation would  have begun “I  ….  swear by Almighty God” , just as a witness usually does in court where  a similar solemn affirmation is  provided as an alternative but not as the sole form.  I have known Christian people, as well as atheists and agnostics,  who prefer on conscientious grounds to affirm rather than to swear an oath. So let us merely note  this  evidence of the  suppression of a Christian  form  as a normally  expected feature in the public sphere, controlled by the police.

The first thing that strikes the reader is that “Our Sovereign Lady The Queen” is downgraded merely to “The Queen”. One wonders why this was done and who decided it.  Changes in such things are only made for a deliberate purpose and not by accident.  It is not really a Cavalier versus Roundhead point, as the same principle would apply to the symbolic head of state of any sovereign nation, however appointed.   Why has the head of state and hence the state itself been downgraded from its sovereignty?

The simple answer is, of course,  because Her Majesty the Queen is no longer sovereign and we are no longer a free people. The process began with the European Communities Act of 1972 . Ministers, who were solemnly sworn to uphold the sovereignty of the Crown against all foreign powers whatsoever, persuaded Parliament to pass this Act by a narrow majority. Mr Heath told the nation in 1971 that “There is no question of any erosion of essential national sovereignty”.  This reassured many people .  Put simply, he lied. Every senior minister of all parties at the time and since knew that he lied and has continued to live that lie.

The situation of the Queen and Crown was made crystal clear by the Maastricht Treaty. On 9 September 1993, the author Rodney Atkinson and the late Norris McWhirter (of Guinness Book of Records fame) laid evidence before the Magistrates at Hexham, alleging the offence of treason against  Douglas Hurd and Francis Maude , the signatories of the treaty.

The nub of the matter was the creation of so-called EU citizenship. “…According to Article 8 (of the treaty) Her Majesty the Queen becomes a citizen of the European Union (confirmed by the Home Secretary – Hansard 1 February 1993) and is therefore “subject to the duties imposed thereby”, subject to being arraigned in her own courts and being taxed under Article 192 of the integrated treaty and thereby effectively deposed as sovereign and placed in a position of suzerainty under the power of the “European Union” – therefore the said Rt. Hon Douglas Hurd and the said Rt. Hon Francis Maude are guilty of treason”.

They laid information on seven more charges, quoting statute and precedent. In the Scottish courts they relied on S1 of the Treason Act 1795 – Whereas it is an offence “within the realm or without …to devise…constraint of the person of our sovereign…his heirs or successors” and “to enter into measures tending to overthrow the laws, government and happy constitution of the United Kingdom”…

Unfortunately, treason can only be prosecuted by the  Crown Officers – the Attorney General in England who, as a cabinet minister, was a key part of the plan to overthrow our happy constitution!  No response was made to the information laid until Parliament had passed the Maastricht Treaty Bill. The authorities then claimed that this made everything all right retrospectively.  The fascinating story of this case is told in “Treason at Maastricht”, now available at very modest cost on Kindle.

The next alterations in the wording of the  constable’s oath make no improvement on the original. “Fairness and integrity” are hardly legally quantifiable and add nothing to “without  favour or affection, malice or ill will”. “Fundamental human rights” however are a different matter entirely. The EU Charter of Fundamental Human Rights is part of the Lisbon Treaty, in fact the supreme  constitutional law of our country – overriding  Magna Carta and everything else, until Parliament or a judge says otherwise.

This  EU Charter makes it an offence to try to take away any rights specified in the Charter – a document which a British Minister once characterised as having the legal significance of the Beano – another huge lie amongst many.  These rights include  the right to petition the EU parliament .  Many people have campaigned for years for Britain to leave the EU and return to self governing democracy.  The Queen’s subjects would then no longer be “citizens” of the EU and so would no longer have the right to petition the EU parliament.  That is a right we are definitely attempting to abolish. It comes rather close to treason against the EU which now has “legal personality” enabling it to prosecute.  When the Politically Correct PCs of the new dispensation come calling, they will not lack for evidence!”

No doubt Edward Spalton will respond to all comments posted……..


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2012
07/24

Category:
David's Musings

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Dislike of EU on the increase

Two newspaper articles appear to show that dislike of the EU is on the increase in both Norway and Switzerland.

Not knowing anyone who speaks Norwegian I have had to rely on Google for a translation (if one can call it that), but the overall emphasis of this report bears out the summary above.

In respect of the second, I am indebted to Edward Spalton for a quick translation from the German (he is about to go abroad to escape the Olympics) and again those opposed to EU membership has increased. For non-german speakers, Edward’s translation:

“Now only 17 per cent of the population want to join the EU, according to a study by ETH. A new low. On the contrary the independence and neutrality of Switzerland attracted the geatest support

(under the picture) Retreat to the interior. The Swiss want more security, stability and autonomy.

Swiss Europhiles are losing support rapidly. Two years ago 31 per cent of the population were of the opinion that Switzerland should join the EU.  This is now only 17 per cent.  This is demonstrated by the newest opinion poll on the foreign and security policy of Switzerland. , which the ETH conducts each year amongs as sample of 1200 people. This is a new low. In 1999 a clear majority of 57 per cent wanted Switzerland to join the EU.

Secure in Autonomy

Also a closer political association with the EU, such as the Federal Council is pessing onwith step by step (Instituional linking) is rejected by two thirds of people in the country. A clear majority of 81 per cent wants simply  to strengthen “economic co-operation” with the EU.  There is generally stronger support support for the right of self government  and the autonomy of the country. 80 per cent agreed with the sentence “Switzerland should  remain as far as possible economically and politically independent of other countries” And they felt themselves very secure in Switzerland. 90 per cent think that they can live here securely  “very” or “strongly”.

Against Hooligans and NATO

This is the highest comparison in in international comparison.  So 83 per cent wanted an “increased police presence”. In particular 89 per cent of those questioned wanted more effective counter measures and punishments of violent football fans – with the use of video cameras and data collection.

But those questioned  did not only oppose individual violence but also the institutional and international varieties. Two thirds of Swiss men and women rejected that “closer co-operation” with NATO which the Swiss Foreign Minister, Didier Burkhalter had offered to NAT in Chicago. Accession to NATO, ,as demanded by Burkhalter’s  liberal party, only received support from one in five.

Neutrality and the Militia Army Important

The principle of armed neutrality, which the clear minority of integrationis politicians wished to dispense with, stands in higher regard than ever before . 95 per cent of those questioned supported neutrality.

The “Swiss Army” ,which after some confusions was titled “Army XXI”, has now got its old name back. 75 per cent believed “unconditionally” or “strongly”. Only 16 per cent thought it could be quietly disposed of.  70 per cent wanted above all “a well equipped, well trained army. A bare majority wanted to return to the militia army. Only one third supported the suspension of national service and a professional army. Those entitled to vote on this will soon be able to do so: by an initiative the Group for a Switzerland without an Army is demanding the abolition  of national service.”

 

Update: It would seem, according to this report from euractiv that Norway could well leave the Schengen Area.


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Democracy

From Edward Spalton and reproduced with his permission:

“If you have been on holiday to some of the more popular foreign destinations and seen our fellow countrymen and women en masse, it certainly gives you second thoughts about the desirability of being ruled by such people.

By “Democracy” most people also assume a limited government, securing property rights and constrained by law but that is not inherent in the word itself which simply means “rule by the people” who can be stupid, brutish, selfish, capricious and destructive.

The American founding fathers were very conscious of this and built in checks and balances to restrain the potential power of the people  to overturn law and decency. The form of government they adopted was “republican” rather than “democratic”. As one of them remarked,  too “democratical” a constitution would mean “We have but exchanged King George for King Numbers”. A lynch mob is democratic, proceeding by majority. A jury is limited by rules and requires unanimity.

Even with their entrenched, super-statutory  constitution, Americans of our sort of outlook have much the same grievances about the duopoly of arty power and erosion of rights and freedoms which, they believed, were secured for all time. Growth of central government has been the main cause, impelled by two world wars and never checked. Even the independent Supreme Court, supposedly the ultimate guardian of such rights, has succumbed to legal activism and seen fit to interpret the constitution in ways which destroy states’ and individual freedoms which the founding fathers would certainly have regarded as essential.

The Whig historian Macaulay, writing in the early nineteenth century with the benefit of a classical education, observed that no democracy could long survive the discovery by the people that they could vote themselves funds from the public purse.

From the fairly Spartan safety net provision envisaged by the Beveridge report, the Welfare state has grown monstrously into a very popular universal  provider.  It was one of the aims of the “Civilised society” envisaged by Roy Jenkins to erase every last distinction between “deserving” and “undeserving” recipients of state benefits of all sorts. His was the era when single motherhood became a reasonable career option for women of modest attainments. The state became the complaisant
husband, providing for the offspring of successive “baby fathers”.

So a huge function of government is now redistribution of wealth in the cause of “equality”. This has moved into the field of law and mind manipulation in a very intensive way. It was within the power of the Conservatives to have stopped Harriet Harman’s monstrous “equalities” Act in the wash up at the end of the last Parliament. But they let it through and are enthusiastic supporters of its perpetual search for discrimination of all sorts – hence the promotion of homosexual “marriage” as a supposedly conservative value. From reaching into pockets, the state now reaches deeply into minds – and it seems to be
widely and passively accepted. When canvassing some years ago, people would often start to tell me their minds and then check themselves suddenly, asking “Am I allowed to say that?”

This level of mind control has not been achieved by brute government force but has been made possible by the cooperation of the mass media. Without it, the state would not have been able to achieve this level of automatic self-policing of thought and speech.

Political parties used to represent real constituencies of interests and opinions. To operate, they needed extensive local organisations, largely staffed by volunteers giving their time and effort for the cause and for their perceived self interest.

With the advent of sophisticated mass media manipulation, that is all very old fashioned and unnecessary. Activist members expected to have their opinions heard and debated at meetings and national conferences - the antithesis of the modern, smooth projection of the party and leader, united behind the carefully crafted phrases and logo-branded programme and message. Party members can be very inconvenient for the leadership. The full weight of anti terrorist legislation was brought down on an old gentleman who dared to shout “rubbish!” at a Labour Party Conference. In the late Nineties, a senior UKIP figure of the day told me “Why should we want more members? They only create expense”. He was certainly on the
ball with regard to the way the main parties are  organised today.

Parties are now marketing brands, dependent on the perceptions which they create through the media. In exchange for  franchised use  of the brand, politicians largely surrender their independence of speech and action. The bargain is “Toe the line and we will get you elected and keep you there”.

The Leveson enquiry is revealing the astonishing licence which the “Fourth Estate” has been granted by the political class. Newspapers and other media outlets would never have dared to behave in the way they have done, if they had not had a nod and a wink from politicians ultimately responsible for their regulation. Close social relationships were fostered between cabinet ministers and editors. This is rather different from a newspaper proprietor occasionally lunching with a
minister. Now, media and politics are essentially mutually dependent parts of the same increasingly corrupt, manipulative business.

Real parliamentary reporting has almost disappeared from serious newspapers. It used to be a mainstay of the broadsheets but, in an era of soundbites, it is beyond the capacity of the average reader to absorb. Additionally, the whole parliamentary process has become a charade with the real decisions made elsewhere. So most debate is a ritualised sham, like the circus around Prime Minister’s Question Time. Where in the Commons today would you find an orator of principle and
passion who could bring MPs from their bars and offices just to listen to the performance, knowing it would be something significant?

The parties would not go banging on about “equality” or “equalities” so much if their focus groups did not tell them it was popular. Back in the Sixties Labour demanded an educational system which would give not just equality of opportunity but equality of outcome. So, paradoxically, the elite has to appear to campaign against “elitism”. It is a fraud, of course. The progressive educationist, who campaigns for local dialects or Jamaican patois to be recognised as equal to standard English, got his position and eminence because of his own mastery of standard English of a jargonised sort – as did every other Frankfurt Marxist university lecturer. Their ascendancy is now so entire that the Conservative party has surrendered to the doctrine in its attempt to stop being “the nasty party” and to “detoxify the brand”.

By definition fifty percent of the population will be of below average  intelligence and attainments. A considerable proportion of the upper fifty per cent , often in positions of power and leadership, has been persuaded that it is “caring and compassionate” to play on the resentments of the less successful and make their careers out of it. The proponents of comprehensive education demanded that children should “rise with their class not out of it”. Leicestershire was the first
county to go comprehensive in the Fifties and the Leader of Ashby de la Zouch Urban District Council expressed the aim rather succinctly. “Good, working class lads go to grammar school, get good jobs and vote Tory. We’re going to put a stop to that.”  My teachers ( who, I guess, were mostly Labour voters) were horrified. That aim has been achieved and now
further state intrusion in the selection of children on class grounds for university entrance is necessary to correct the effect of the policy!

Notoriously, the most enthusiastic closer of grammar schools was one Hilda Margaret Thatcher. The Conservative party, then as now, saw that soft-headed equalitarianism was popular with the people and so sticks to the same policy to this day.

People who have come to accept this type of state and its deliberately aroused expectations of prosperity and equality of outcome “for the many not the few”, largely regardless of merit and effort, are unlikely to be very keen on real democracy where they would have to take responsibility for the consequences of their choices.  Far easier to expect  “proper planning” and that “they” should do something about it and to become the dupes  of the grievance mongers when their expectations are not met.

Every revolution and successful political movement has depended not on “the people” but on a committed elite of one sort or another who knew what they wanted and organised to get it. Whether it was the Whig nobles who organised the Revolution of 1688, the totally devoted ideological cadres of the Bolshevik party who brought about the appalling Russian revolution or the “aristocracy” of the Labour party which emerged and developed over only a few generations – the Harmans, Toynbees, Milibands and the like. Conservatives tended to place their trust in established leaders of society. They felt they could trust a gentleman but those days of deference are gone. No longer could a Willie Whitelaw put on his Guards Brigade tie to crush a rebellion in the party ranks and tell them that “like it or not”, this or that was going to happen. The solution has been largely to get rid of most of the party rank and file. As Stalin remarked of dealing with his own little, local difficulties “No people, no problem”.

So where will we find the necessary, credible, committed  elite to lead a tamed, apathetic,  people, brainwashed to be risk averse, to the difficult idea of actually ruling themselves?”

In response to Edward’s last question I would hope that following the final, agreed, adoption of the Old Swan Manifesto, conversion of the people to the idea of actually ruling themselves will prove unstoppable and therefore the need of an elite section of society to do that will be unnecessary.

 


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