Tag Archive: Richard orth

Angela would like to ‘Leadsom’ of us up the garden path

She, of big mouth but no brain – and leader of the Fresh Start Group, has published her long-awaited reform agenda for the EU, a document on which Richard North has in the most delightfully coruscating manner, ‘rubbished’. Presumably the material on which the reform agenda was written came from this website, so at the end of the day perhaps it might serve a purpose.

The objective of the Fresh Start Group, as summarised by Richard North, to present as coherent a scheme as possible, falls even before it reaches the first fence – in that the reform agenda is anything but coherent. As stated by Richard North, were Leadsom to achieve all that she seeks would mean the end of the European Union; and while many of us would applaud such an event, Leadsom commits the most basic of mistakes – she assumes those in Brussels are as naive as is she and her colleagues in the Fresh Start Group.

Leadsom ends what I presume is the Foreward to her Reform Agenda with the statement that her demands would make the European Union more democratically accountable. Chief among these is a call for a mechanism to allow her and her fellow MPs to halt legislation with which they do not agree – something that Leadsom would deny the people of her own country where their parliament is concerned. Oh, the irony – and hypocrisy!

Where Leadsom and Salmond are concerned, I never realised they were both such . masters in the art of vacuousness. Although on further reflection, one then remembers they are both politicians.

 

 


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Local authority government – what government?

Richard North, EUReferendum, links to an article in the Mail, one apparently co-authored by him, which deals with the reported cuts being suffered by local authorities which contrasts with the fact that spending by said authorities has increased.

Richard North also links to the 6 Demands of the Harrogate Agenda; consequently it is worth expanding on how those Demands would effect the shambles that presently we know as local government. On the basis that it is the first demand of the Harrogate Agenda that it is the people that are sovereign it is not just local government that is being discussed here, but democracy per se. The vast majority of that which follows is taken from a pamphlet “still in the making”.

In Britain, the very idea that we have local democracy is a fiction. We do not. What we do have is a local government system comprised of central government agencies, the tasks of which are to administer centrally-defined law at a local level. Local government units have no independent existence or powers. They are defined through the medium of Acts of Parliament. They owe their existence,
their boundaries and their powers to the diktats of central government. They are
funded primarily from the centre and the nature of monies which are collected
locally are directed by the centre, as well as the amounts and terms of
collection.

This, by any definition, is a top-down society, and one which has become
increasingly so over time. Therefore, local elections are little more than
extended opinion polls on the performance of central government. There is no
point in getting excited over the election of local officials when almost the
entire extent of their powers is determined by national law. Understandably, therefore, “reform” of local government becomes necessary, although the very idea is unrealistic. How can you reform something you do not have? We need to build from scratch, from the ground up, replacing the centrally dominated agencies with structures, which are truly local. We need structures, which can be considered government in the proper sense of the word, under the proper democratic control of their people.

To that effect, the aim must be no less than to reverse the entire structure of the British state. Instead of the top-down construct, we need to focus locally and create structures from the bottom-up. This is not “localism” in the sense proposed by Prime Minister David Cameron, or anything like “The Plan” offered by Conservatives Daniel Hannan MEP and Douglas Carswell MP. Those options simple allow for a small amount of power to be handed down, or shared, without changing anything fundamental. The idea of central government condescending to hand down some tiny fraction of its power, under carefully controlled conditions, ready to claw it back at a moment’s notice is not a transfer of power – it is simply the granting of a conditional license.

What is bring proposed, therefore, is nothing short of a bloodless revolution. The fundamental building blocks of our democracy become independent local government units which owe their existence not to central government but to
the people who live within their boundaries. To achieve this, the fundamental status of local government must change. Instead of being statutory bodies – i.e., defined by statute, from which they derive their powers, under the control of central government – they become constitutional entities. Their existence, powers and revenue-raising capabilities are defined by the people via the medium of a constitution, approved by a referendum.

The idea is that these local authorities – which could be counties, cities or the
former county boroughs – become legislatures is their own right, making laws
to cover the areas within their competence, applicable within their boundaries.
As local councils once made by-laws, our county units would be able to make
laws in their own right.

Some might think that such local authorities are too small to become
legislatures, but size should not be an issue. Few people realise, for instance,
how small Iceland is, in population terms. With 313,000 souls, it boasts fewer
people than the London Borough of Croydon (363,000) and very substantially
less than the Metropolitan District of Bradford (501,000). Yet Iceland is a sovereign nation. It has its own government, its own parliament, its own laws, its police and even its own fishing policy and navy to enforce it. Despite its small size, the country does tolerably well, with a GDP of $12.57 billion (146th in the world) and a GDP per capita of $38,500, the 24th highest in the global league (higher than the UK’s $36,600, the 33rd highest). It also has its own local government, with 59 local municipalities The idea then that much larger units of population in the UK need a beneficent central government to create all their laws, to control virtually everything they are permitted to do, to fund them and even define their boundaries and their very existence is, frankly, absurd. Furthermore, we tolerate this situation, and even call it democracy. That is even more absurd.

What is needed are units with populations in the order of 3-500,000, making up
between 150-200 primary areas in the UK. Each should be responsible for most
of their own government, with their own constitutions, legislatures, laws and
revenues. Thus, it is proposed our local governments structures should assume
many of the duties currently undertaken by the state. Those might include such
things as the determination and payment of social security and unemployment
benefits – the provision of health services currently administered by the NHS.
It follows that all national laws covering subjects which would then fall within
the remit of local government should become local laws. The local legislatures
should be able to re-enact them if so desired, or they can be repealed or revised.
Left to central government would be foreign policy and relations, including the
framing of international law and making treaties with other nations. We would
see central government take a hand in making maritime law and deal with
matters of national security and defence. In what would effectively become a
federal-style body, central government would also concern itself with cross-
county-border crime and serious, organised crime.

There then comes the inevitable question of who pays, and more particularly
how. Control of taxation is at the heart of true localism, to which effect it is proposed that those local governments should become the primary tax collection
bodies. It is also envisaged that they collect most if not all taxes from people
and enterprises within their borders. Instead of the system where only a fraction of their income is collected locally via Council Tax and charges, with the balance made up from subsidies from the centre, local authorities would collect all taxes. They would deduct their income from them, becoming financially self-sufficient. Thus, they would not only collect Council Tax, but income tax, sales taxes, corporation taxes and most other taxes currently collected by the centre. After they had taken what they needed to fund their own operations, they would remit the balances to central government.

By this means, rather than the centre subsidising local government, the
relationship would be reversed. Equity would be achieved by having poorer
authorities remitting less, per capita, to the centre, and the richer authorities,
like the City of London, would pay more. The funding would be managed on
the same basis as the precepts currently collected locally, from which are paid
the police, fire services and transport authorities. Only in extreme emergencies
would we expect any transfers of funds from centre to local authorities, such as
in the case of a major natural disaster.

When local taxation prevails, allied with local democracy, there is every
opportunity for variable rates and real tax-competition between local authority
areas. That in itself could result in something we have never had in this country
– a downward pressure on taxation. This is the “small government” which so many people profess to want, but even then – despite the local units being constitutional bodies – that does not guarantee freedom from central government interference. We see in the United States constant tension between federal and state governments, and the encroachment of the centre. Here, as always, the currency of power is money. The federal government, with its own vast income stream – far larger than state revenues – is able to bribe States with cash inducements or bludgeon them by withholding cash.

The answer, therefore, must be to control the flow of money. The centre should
have no (or very limited) taxation powers. Nor should it be allowed to borrow
to finance a deficit, except in very exceptional circumstances, and only with the
explicit permission of the people. It must not be able to bribe its way to power.
Taking in for the moment the idea of Referism (about which more follows later in this post), we then see budgets at local and central levels controlled by annual
referendums, firmly limiting the expansionary tendencies of all governments.
What is more, there is an important side-effect: Westminster MPs become even
less important than they are now, while democratic representation at local level
becomes more important. In some respects, this also solves some of problems we have with MPs. One might expect seats to be apportioned on a county basis, with approximately one per 120,000 head of population. The boundaries would be fixed. As population varied, so would the number of MPs, keeping constituencies wholly within the bounds of specific local authority areas.

The reckoning should be, incidentally, based on population rather than
electorate, as our MPs should be representing the interest of all of their
constituents, not just those who can vote. This ratio gives a House of Commons
roughly the same size as it is at present. Some might argue that, with a reduced workload, fewer MPs would be needed, with a ratio of perhaps 200,000 or more for each representative, possibly stretching to one per 500,000 head of population. Where the United States House of Representatives manages to make do with 435 voting members, our House of Commons might be able to reduce itself to less than 300, saving considerable expense. We might expect numbers in the House of Lords to be proportionately reduced – with perhaps only a hundred or so working members needed.

Details of how and under what conditions MPs (and members of the upper
house) are selected might be left to the electors of the county, embodied in each
local constitution and implemented by the local legislatures. After all, if we are
to have localism, then the terms and conditions governing the employment of
our representatives should be decided locally. We could also envisage a situation where MPs are no longer paid from central funds, but by their counties. It would be for the people of each county to decide how much their representatives were paid, how much should be allowed by way of expenses, and how they should be held accountable. If one area wanted to introduce a method of MP recall, that would be up to them. Thus do we see democracy closer to the people, with government – local and national – under the direct control of the people. When you think about it, anything else isn’t democracy at all.

Earlier the word “Referism” was mentioned and in this respect it brings to the fore Demand #5 of the Harrogate Agenda which stipulates that no taxes should be raised nor any money spent without authorization. Referism is a political philosophy which states that, in the relationship between the British people and their governments, the people should be in control. The state is the servant not the master. Control is primarily achieved by submitting annual state budgets to the people for approval, via referendums. The catch phrase is: “it’s our money and we decide”. Governments are thereby forced to refer to the people for their funding, hence the term “Referism”.

At the heart of power is always money. That is how parliament emerged as a
force in the land, going as far back as 1215 when the tenants-in-chief secured
the first draft of the Magna Carta from King John. But the concession that
more than anything else reduced the power of the king was the principle that the
king might not levy or collect any taxes (except the feudal taxes to which they
were hitherto accustomed), save with the consent of his royal council. He who
controls the money controls the King. Thus, the “Council” gradually developed
into a parliament and thence, in effect, became the King. The principle of financial control survives to this day. The executive (the former king) must refer to parliament each year for approval of its budget. Without that, it runs out of money. Our problem – and the nub of all our problems – is that this process has become an empty ritual. No parliament has rejected a budget in living memory, and none is likely to do so. Each year we see the government of the day pretending to ask parliament for money, and we have to watch the empty charade of approval being given – only then to see vast amounts being spent on things of which the majority of us do not approve. Overseas aid is a classic example, where public approval would doubtless be withheld. The ritual, therefore, must turn back into substance, with real control over the annual budget. The politicians cannot be trusted to discharge this duty. They have their fingers in the till and a vested interest in maintaining high levels of expenditure. The power must go to the people who pay the bills – us.

The means by which this must be achieved is through an annual referendum.
The budget must, each year, be submitted to the people for approval, coming
into force only once approved. The politicians must make their case, put their
arguments, and then ask us for money … and they have to say please. We, the
people, decide whether they get it. We, the people, have the power to say no.
In discussions about this process, however, the great fear most often expressed
is that people would simply vote themselves more money. However, the
limited experience that we have of referendums about taxation levels suggests
otherwise.

In February 2001, for instance, Labour-controlled Bristol City Council held a
referendum on its Council Tax, asking voters whether they preferred to increase
it by two, four or six percent, or to freeze it at then current levels. Much to the
chagrin of the Council, more than half the voters opted for a freeze. Sentiment
was such that, had a reduction been on offer, that would have been the preferred
choice. Of more than 115,000 people taking part in this referendum – the turnout
significantly higher than at local elections – 61,664 voted for no rise, 11,962 for
a two percent rise, 20,829 for a four and 19,841 for a six percent rise. Thus, the
total of those voting for raised taxation, at 51,732, was outnumbered by those
who wanted to freeze the budget.

Nor was Bristol on its own. The Council was just beaten to the punch by the
London Borough of Croydon, which on 14 February 2001 asked its 235,000
registered electors to decide whether Council Tax should be increased by two
percent (in real terms, an effective freeze), 3.5 percent, or five percent. Council
tenants also voted on whether their rents should be increased, against an offer of
improved services. Then, 56 percent of the voters opted for the lowest possible rise. A total of 80,383 voted, a 34.2 percent turnout. Thirty-two percent voted for the 3.5 percent increase and a mere five percent went for the five percent hike. Of the 4,190 council tenants responding to the rents referendum (24.1 percent turnout), just over 58 percent voted for a rent freeze, keeping average rents at £65 a week. On offer to the tenants had been a community patrol service, community grants, money advice and debt counselling services – all of which were rejected. Croydon was to repeat the experiment the following year, with 74 percent of the taxpayers who voted opting for the lowest rise on offer, at 3.65 percent, on a 35 percent turnout.

Interestingly, this experiment in direct democracy had started in 1999, devised
as a means of protecting Council Taxpayers in England from unwanted
excessive increases set by billing authorities. At the time, the Department for
Communities and Local Government acknowledged that this was taking power
away from central government and giving it to local people. Another participant was Milton Keynes, which put to its voters the choice of three levels of increase, ranging from five to 15 percent. Residents were able to vote by post or telephone for their chosen option. A 9.8 percent rise would keep core spending at the same level, while the five percent increase would have meant cuts in the core budget. A 15 percent increase would have provided extra revenue. Forty-six percent of those who voted opted for the 9.8 percent rise, thirty percent for the five percent increase and twenty-four percent for the 15 percent hike. The turnout was 45 percent. Council leader Kevin Wilson illustrated the point of the exercise with a
comment to the BBC, telling it that: “The referendum gave the people an
opportunity to be masters rather than servants”, declaring that the referendum
had succeeded in its aim of reconnecting people with local government and
giving public backing for council tax rises.

Buoyed by the result the following year, Bristol announced that the public
would get a chance to vote on their council tax levels, “under plans drawn up to
tackle voter apathy”. The scheme had the backing of government ministers and,
if the public had responded “positively”, the plan was to repeat referendums
across the country. Clearly, the response was not “positive” enough. At the
time, The Independent newspaper was to lament that, “in a victory for the
maxim that people vote with their wallets, the results showed few people in
favour of extra spending”. “Voters of Bristol pick school cuts over taxes”, it
headlined. The Bristol experiment was not repeated by Labour.

What the experiments showed, however, was that there was some enthusiasm
for voting on budgets – even though there seemed to have been very limited
local and national media exposure. And in Croydon, voters were not deterred by
votes in successive years – turnout increasing marginally on the second year.
The experiments also demonstrated that electorates are capable of dealing with
multi-choice votes, a capability that gives much more flexibility than having to
stick to a straight “yes-no” vote. Furthermore, there seems to be a willingness
amongst the voters to block expenditure. Thus, fears that the electorate will
necessarily vote for more spending might be overblown. Following the Labour defeat in the 2010 election, the issue was taken up by the Conservatives. Communities Secretary Eric Pickles declared that by 2012 he wanted people to be able to reject Council Tax levels “if they exceed a ceiling agreed annually by MPs”, by voting on them in referendums.

This was based on a promise made in 2007, whence Pickles called the plan a
“radical extension of direct democracy”. It was not. Instead, it was a
considerably watered-down version of the earlier referendums – which
themselves did not allow for outright vetoes. Nor was there any suggestion that
they should apply to central government spending. Pickles averred that he was
“in favour of local people making local decisions”, and also said he wanted to
reverse the presumption that central government knew best when it came to
deciding local priorities. “Let the people decide”, he went on to say – but only
on local issues. While this was a welcome development, Referism goes much further than a simple veto on any increase on Council Tax. Not only does it also apply nationally as well as locally, it gives voters the power to force down budgets, with the ultimate power of veto if the government does not come into line. It is also able to control spending. A weak block on a preset level of increase is merely a sop, and does nothing to redress the power deficit.

As for costs of the referendums, the Bristol events cost £120,000 each, while
Milton Keynes estimated £150,000. Tower Hamlets Council has estimated that a standalone referendum might cost up to £250,000 but, if combined with
council elections, the additional cost was estimated at around £70,000.
Translated nationally, the total cost of a referendum would be between £30-60
million.

However, it was the late Sandy Rham, an IT expert and founder of the EU
Referendum blog forum, who suggested that the software on current lottery
terminals could be adapted to allow their use as voting terminals. A system that
handles £6.5 billion in annual sales could very easily handle 40 million or so
votes in a referendum. Add an online facility and you have a quick, cheap
system of conducting referendums. Such a system is not only desirable but also
necessary to minimise costs and disruption. Furthermore, Swiss and Californian practises could be adopted, where – if need be – the voting on two of more referendums could be combined, perhaps to fall in the same period as the annual budget referendum. There is no reason why referendums should be time-consuming or expensive.

What then concerns doubters is that, should the people fully exert their power,
government might be deprived of funds altogether. But there is nothing to
prevent there being safeguards to prevent this – in the short-term, at least.
There should be no problem in having a fixed date for a referendum well before
the financial year for which each budget applied. If a budget was then rejected,
there should be enough time for governments to resubmit, and again seek
approval. If a budget was again rejected, and it was too late to resubmit before
the start of a financial year, there could – for example – be a system where
permitted income stood at eighty percent of the previous year’s figure, with
adjustments made once a budget was approved.

In the USA however, if Congress does not eventually approve the budget, the
administration can no longer pay its bills. That tends to concentrate minds. In
the case of Referism, the people could stop the money, giving them a
continuous power. By contrast, a one-off referendum, agreed (or not) by the
government, on a grace and favour basis for its own tactical advantage, is to
concede power to the government. We, the people, still have to ask the
government for a referendum. When there is an annual referendum as of right,
power resides with the people.

Without this power, it is hard to accept that we have anything that approaches
democracy. As it stands, both at local and central level, the politicians decide
how much they are going to spend, and how much we are to pay them. We are
never consulted, and have no means directly of affecting their decisions. The
way the system is supposed to work is that, if we disagree with the decisions
taken, we hold our elected representatives to account at elections – i.e., after the
event. But can anyone really assert that the election process is any barrier to the
ever-increasing government expenditure and control?

Reverting to the article by Christopher Booker – and having read the above – would you not agree that if we are to be “fleeced”, whether by national or local government matters not, we the people should be able to decide such?


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Media reaction

Much has appeared in the press about David Cameron’s speech yesterday and prior to starting on that, two cartoons (Ack: Presseurop) as cartoonists invariably hit the proverbial nail on the head.

peter-brookes-Cameron-EU_0

brexit-490._1

Politics Home have a feature they call “Today’s Top Ten Must Reads“, which unsurprisingly have only one item that is not about Cameron, his speech and the European Union. The authors of these 9 articles include the usual suspects – Peter Oborne, Timothy Garton-Ash, Mandelson, etc etc. – they can be accessed from the preceding link.

Another of their features is “Today’s Five at Five” (same link) and of those 5 articles, 3 are writing on the same subject as this morning’s 9. Cameron must surely  have hoped that his speech would “park” matters EU to one side and methinks, in this regard, there is little hope of that.

Adding to the articles above, Presseurop has a round-up of some of the views expressed in newspapers on the continent which, it writes, provokes reactions ranging from outrage to – more frequently – understanding. Some of the extracts quoted contain what may be termed “enlightening” statements.

In this post Richard North, EUReferendum, makes some very, very important points where conduct of the forthcoming – if one can use that word bearing in mind the coming forth is 4/5 years away – referendum is concerned. As he writes, this will not be a game but a battle for the future of our country as an independent nation; and name-calling can only denigrate the efforts of those who will be fighting Europhile politicians, their sycophants and the media – not forgetting the European Union.

Besides the renegotiation meme, another that seems to be gaining traction within the media is that should the UK cease its status as a full member of the EU, then trade is no longer possible – coupled with the idea that access to the Single Market is only possible by means of being a full member. To combat these “ploys” – and no doubt similar to come – we do indeed need to get down to work.


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Changing opinions

In the comments section to a post by Autonomous Mind entitled “Snatching defeat from the jaws of a straightforward victory” – and in which he links to this post by Richard North, EUReferendum – one commenter writes:

“Personally, I don’t understand the levels of antipathy directed at UKIP on this blog, EU Referendum, boling [sic] frog, witterings from witney etc. EU Referendum seems to only want to leave the EU if some sort of perfect re-casting of our political and governmental system is enacted.”

When considering the current discussion about changing our relationship with the European Union – and I refer to Cameron’s wish to ‘renegotiate’ our terms of membership, coupled with the vacuous wordage that has poured forth from various people, such as Open Europe, it becomes obvious that very few brain cells, if any, have been used either collectively or individually. There are two sides to the discussion that is being held and they are, in effect, two sides of the same coin – namely the head: “exit” and the tail: “thereafter”.

The condemnation of antipathy directed at the four bloggers mentioned is, I would suggest, misplaced as their writing is but illustrating a deficit in all the discussion that is taking place in the media by journalists, business leaders and the political class. As the europhiles can be accused of relying on the “fear, uncertainty, doubt” meme – or Euro-FUD, a term bestowed by Richard North – should the UK exit the EU, thus misrepresenting and misleading the British public; so can the same accusation of misrepresenting and misleading be laid at the door of some in the Eurosceptic movement for not discussing that which they should – they need not be named as they know who they are.

On the subject of renegotiation, as has been shown here, what is it that Cameron thinks has changed, whereby he can break up the Acquis and cherry pick those pieces that he wants back? Those that seem to believe, as apparently does Tim Congdon, we can leave the EU and then negotiate a free trade agreement need, with the utmost respect, their heads examined.

Reverting to the fear factor, there are those that prophesy doom, that the sky will fall in, should we leave the EU. Once again as shown here unless there is the recasting so decried by that commentor, the sky may well fall in – at least the bits of metal flying around in the sky, that is. There really is no point in leaving one home for another unless you can be satisfied that the new home has been well constructed and has all the facilities that are needed – plus having a route-map of how to get there.

On that last point, namely a route-map, if Cameron is serious about wanting to redefine the UK’s relationship with the EU and bearing in mind any break-up of the Acquis is impossible, then there is only one course of action he can take – and that is to invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty and negotiate entry into EFTA/EEA.

Membership of EFTA then leads Europhiles to bleat about “fax democracy”, an argument which should be dead and buried after the Open Europe debacle. Unfortunately it is still being repeated and the latest example comes from one who is described asScotland’s most distinguished political commentator:

“The PM says he wants to remain in the single market but leave the EU increasingly behind, and this is a perfectly possible objective if he wants the UK to join Norway in the European Economic Area. Norway is in the single market but out of the EU,  But this means it is subject to the rules and regulations of the single market without having any say in shaping them.”

Perhaps when our MPs have procured their Idiots Guide to the EU, they could send one to Scotland’s distinguished political commentator.

Left to their own devices, if and when a referendum on EU membership does appear it is becoming obvious that which ever side wins will have done so by default, while utilising the black arts of censorship and propaganda. It beggars belief that both Europhiles and Eurosceptics treat this subject, one which will have the most profound effect on the future of this country, with such gay abandon. That the debate also appears to be being held among themselves, one could possibly add the words “and incestuous” twixt “gay” and “abandon”.

To turn to the “tail” side of the problem, the “thereafter”, this period of the operation must not only deal with resolving which laws we wish to retain and which we wish to reject; negotiating further trade agreements, etc, etc; it also needs to include a realignment of our own democracy, involving this idea, with a view to ensuring that never again can our political class – or anyone else – lead us down the road to hell.

 


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Being Leadsom what up the garden path

The Fresh Start Group has today published what they have called a “Manifesto for change” which includes a Foreward penned by William Hague, the brevity of which is most marked. Richard North, EUReferendum, has dismissed this tome by the FSG as being not worthy of comment – a judgement with which it is hard to disagree. It is not necessary to progress far into this document in order to see why that view is held.

The first paragraph and the start of the second to the Introduction sets the tone:

“The status quo in the European Union is no longer an option. The Eurozone is facing up to the inevitable consequences of the financial crisis, and is moving towards fiscal and banking union. This is not a path that the British people will go down, and together with other non-Euro members of the EU, we must articulate and negotiate a new and different relationship for ourselves whilst remaining a full member of the EU.

Our ambition is to build on the success of the single market. We want to ensure the EU institutions protect and deepen the single market. We also want to protect British sovereignty, ensuring that the British Parliament can decide what is best for Britain………”

Being a full member of the European Union entails accepting the status quo, of the Acquis Commauntaire wherein a power once ceded will never be returned, so how wee “george and rea” believe they can claw back powers as part of this new and different relationship and still remain a full member, beggars belief.

It is indeed laughable of these two clowns – and those who have signed-up to their beliefs – that they feel the need to protect British sovereignty which, because of our membership of the European Union – no long exists. Sovereignty, something that ensures a country can make decisions for itself, can only exist in its entirety and is not something that can be carved up into pieces, handing some elsewhere. A country either has sovereignty or it does not – there are no half-way stages.

It is pretentious, to say the least, that Leadsom wishes to ensure that the British Parliament can decide what is best for Britain. Since when, as with sovereignty, has Britain been theirs to do with as they will? Is not the sovereignty of Britain and what is best for Britain a decision of the British people?

On pages 5 and 6 of this document comes the totally false Norway/Switzerland repetition about those countries having to accept legislation with no say in the formulation of same:

“The benefits of the single market, to UK exports and to FDI, are generally accepted to be the reason Britain entered the EU and the main reason for our remaining a member. If the UK decided that, overall, the benefits to EU membership were outweighed by the costs; there are three alternative models of trading with the EU that have been considered, but found wanting:

  • Joining the European Economic Area (as for Norway)
  • Negotiating a series of FTAs (as for Switzerland)
  • Negotiating a new Customs Union (as for Turkey)

Norway, Switzerland and Turkey have preferential trading arrangements with EU Member States but are subject to bureaucratic rules of origin (though only in agricultural products in the case of Turkey). Most importantly, their trade with the EU relies on accepting or complying with many EU regulations over which they do not have a vote.”

and this document is offered for our consideration and asks us to treat it seriously? Presumably Hague did read it before allowing his Foreward to be used? In which case, in view of the blatant untruth on page 6, just how the hell does he consider it to be “well-researched”? It is noted that the situations of Norway and Switzerland viz-a-viz their relationship with the European Union were dismissed as: “found wanting”. Really?

The final page to this serious-not piece of work contains a vote of thanks to those who contributed – but unfortunately appears to have an omission, a word which I have inserted on their behalf:

“The Fresh Start Project would like to thank those who have contributed so much [crap] to this manifesto, in particular:

Gutto Bebb MP, Nick de Bois MP, Therese Coffey MP, George Eustice MP, Mark Garnier MP, Chris Heaton-Harris MP, Gerald Howarth MP, Andrea Leadsom MP, Charlotte Leslie MP, Tim Loughton MP, David Mowat MP, Neil Parish MP, Priti Patel MP, and Dominic Raab MP.”

 


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Democracy? What democracy?

“How low does turnout need to be for the political class to see that it is itself disenfranchised, that government is broken, that the mandate is really one of utter disenchantment?”

 Suzanne Moore, Mail on Sunday, 6th May 2012

What more does the political class need to happen before they do, indeed, realise that not only are they disenfranchised but so are the people. It is no good, any longer, for politicians to talk about reconnecting with the public and wringing their hands at voter apathy because that is just laziness on their part and is just more ‘head in the sand’ behaviour, the latter which has contributed in no small part to the present woes of the country.

We read today that the George Osborne pleads guilty to ‘mis-presenting’ his last budget, which he did and did for political party purposes – in other words he ‘spun’ the presentation. By what right does this man spin the facts when he is dealing with our money? We see on our television today Ed Balls, who has spent the last few months condemning George Osborne and arguing for ‘another way’, admit that he has not ‘fully costed’ his proposals. By what right does this man present himself to the people, asking for their trust, when he hasn’t even done his sums properly?

Two years ago we witnessed two politicians agreeing between them to seize the reins of power and thus allowing them to govern rule this country. Were we asked? Should not we have been asked? And both talk about  the importance of democracy? Whose democracy is it, ours or theirs? Following that seizure of power they presented to the nation a programme for government, one upon which they stated they would govern, yet as with all political statements that turned out to be no more than fiction. And that is democracy?

Politicians pontificate about certain factors within our society being detrimental to democracy – is not the present political incompetence exhibited by our politicians detrimental to democracy? Is not the continual ‘point-scoring’ among the political class, done purely to promote their ideology, that we see and hear in our media not detrimental to democracy?

Within the world of commerce, any man or woman who financially wrecks the company for which he/she works can be held responsible for their misdemeanour and are, in certain instances, banned from ever holding any senior decision-making position ever again. Should not that sanction be available to the electorate, where MilibandE, Balls and the rest of the last administration who were concerned with the finances of UK plc, are concerned? Never mind banning the aforementioned from ever holding senior positions again, should not they, along with those responsible for the emasculation of our society, be banned from ever holding the position of a Member of Parliament?

 It is worth recalling that Richard North, EUReferendum, sometime ago pointed out that we do not have a democracy and haven’t had for  decades.

And politicians talk about reconnecting with the people? Politicians are so disconnected from the people that they may as well be living on Mars – which on reflection, might not be a bad idea as the country would no doubt be in far better shape!

 


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‘Us’? ‘We’?

To paraphrase a question posed by Richard North to Cameron, just who is this ‘us’ and ‘we’, Mr. Redwood?

He appears to forget that the system of which he is part and which he upholds is but an on-going 5-yearly dictatorship. Actually, when asked to consider the question, most people don’t want government – what they want are managers to oversee the policies, both national and local, upon which they have decided. They want the ability to call politicians to account; they want the ability to halt policies they do not like; they want the ability to force politicians to adopt policies that politicians do not want; they want the element of ‘Referism’ adopted whereby politicians ask if they may be provided the funds needed to ‘run’ the country while explaining how those funds will be spent; they want the ability to stop politicians changing our constitution without our agreement.

His post closes with the statement:

“Let the one without sin hurl the first legislative stone.”

On the basis that no-one is without sin but that we the people are most definitely less ‘without sin’ than politicians, methinks John Redwood needs to take cover.

Just saying………………

 


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