Tag Archive: the Boiling Frog

2013
12/10

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David's Musings

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Democracy: To be or not to be

The Boiling Frog writes about An Internal Dilemma and refers to events of 2008 and links to Hansard in relation to a debate that took place in the HoC about the Lisbon Treaty and the question whether the British people should be granted a referendum.,

TBF quotes one exchange relating to Gisela Suart and Malcolm Bruce, an exchange that set me off reading the entire debate. Where ‘democracy’ is concerned there are other examples in this debate worth mentioning.

Col 1780: Mr. Frank Field (Birkenhead) (Lab): …… Given that four out of 10 voters decided not to vote at the last election and that we were returned by only 21 per cent. of the total electorate…..  So representative democracy creates a situation wherein just 21% of those eligible to vote can decide which group of ideological idiots gets to decide our future?

Col 1811: Mr. Ian Davidson (Glasgow, South-West) (Lab/Co-op): …..There is an assumption that politicians and parties cannot be trusted and that we will say anything to get elected. That is not constructive or helpful, particularly to those of us on the left, because we depend on popular support to put forward a programme that seizes some of the instruments of power and changes society in the way that we want….. Democracy cannot exist if a few can seize instruments of power and mold society into a form they want, regardless of the wishes of those in said society.

Col 1816: Mr. Ian Davidson: …..I always thought that being a Liberal Front-Bench spokesman was somewhat akin to being a eunuch in a harem—singularly decorative, but not particularly useful…… Never mind Liberal Front-Bench spokesman, that description can be applied to all those on the Green Benches where the actual governance of this country is concerned.

I am intrigued with the ‘logic’ held by Ken Clarke (Col 1819/1820) in that having confirmed the United Kingdom has pooled its sovereignty, he can then argue about whether or not the Lisbon Treaty cedes further powers. If sovereignty has been ceded then the exercise of power per se has been ceded – end of discussion.

It is worth highlighting the speech by Kate Hoey (Col 1843/1844) about honesty in politics. Bearing in mind that which she said – and linking back to the statement by Malcolm Bruce that TBF selected – it would appear that the ensuing vote presented Bruce with the ‘internal dilemma’ that he feared; namely Parliament voted against the wishes of the people.

I now turn to the paper by Gisela Stuart: The Making Of Europe’s Constitution to which TBF links. It is indeed worth reading in its entirety – and not just for the section TBF recommends. In this paper there is much with which one can take Gisela Stuart to task, however with the aim of brevity let us just look at the question of democracy (within the meaning and derivation of the word).

On pages 30/31 Gisela Stuart makes the point that the Acquis presents a contradiction where subsidiarity is concerned and the taking of decisions at the lowest possible level; coupled with the point that a power ceded is never returned. As a believer in representative democracy (which she is) she too has a contradiction in belief to confront. Like all such politicians she preaches that the opinions/views of the people are important – yet if the people are as important as she and her ilk maintain then one has to ask why they, the people, are considered the ‘lowest’ level in their political hierarchy? Reverting to the definition of ‘democracy’ it is surely obvious that it is the people who are the ‘deciders’ where anything concerning their country is involved, be that local or national; thus illustrating that representative democracy is but a form of dictatorship by a minority.

On pages 42/43 Stuart writes about the devolution of power to Scotland and Wales, making the point that it has not brought about the break-up of the United Kingdom. With the benefit of hindsight it is suggested she may wish to look at this assertion once more. Where a political construct is set up involving the element of central control – be that the EU or the UK – once one aspect of power is ceded, it is only natural that those to whom a power has been given will want more power for themselves. With that in mind it is logical to assume that the EU, having seen what the problems resulting from the return of powers in the UK has produced, they will not be that keen to return any of the powers they already have. Dream on The Fresh Start group and David Cameron!

On page 52 Stuart writes about the ability of holding our masters to account and the people asking whether they can get rid of their elected representatives if they, the people, don’t like what is being done in their name; continuing that this has always been a problem with the European institutions. That is not just a problem with European institutions – it is the problem with our Parliament and thus the problem with representative democracy. What Stuart appears to not understand is that some of us do not want to necessarily get rid of politicians we disagree with – merely to negate the need to disagree with them by ensuring a system exists wherein they carry out the wishes of the people in the first place; an aim that would be achieved by the implementation of direct democracy as encapsulated within the 6 Demands.

On page 53 Stuart makes a fair point about the farce of European elections – but then immediately suggests a solution which can but promote and thus hasten political union, while on the following page she suggests that MEPs should be allowed to partake in proceedings of the HoC.

On page 55 she demonstrates her wish for a successful European Union and confirming her long-held belief in its existence – yet this is a woman who would have us believe she is of Eurosceptic beliefs. Further compounding the view that she would appear a tad ‘befuddled’ is her wish for more accountability where her masters are concerned, yet she would deny that same wish from us. Not that she is the only one who appears ‘befuddled – even this man, another ‘Eurosceptic’, states he does not wish to leave the European Union.

It would seem that among our political elite are many who would like their cake and eat it. In which context I end with two attributed quotations:

A politician is an animal which can sit on a fence and yet keep both ears to the ground.
H. L. Mencken

Honesty is never seen sitting astride the fence.
Lemuel K. Washburn


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Yet more smoke and mirrors?

The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic.

John F. Kennedy 

All successful newspapers are ceaselessly querulous and bellicose. They never defend anyone or anything if they can help it; if the job is forced on them, they tackle it by denouncing someone or something else.

H. L. Mencken

I note that The Boiling Frog has picked up on a Daily Express article, one which I noticed on the day of its publication but which my recent redecoration activities prevented me commenting upon at the time, about gypsy women being provided the means to become Members of Parliament. A damn good corruscating article it is too – which means it is a ‘must-read.

There is an element in this article, as in so many articles written by journalists, that gives me cause for concern. The public rely on journalists to inform us of subjects which we do not fully understand and/or have not the time to investigate for ourselves. That we should make the time to investigate and understand for ourselves is another matter but as is my wont, again, I digress.

This particular article is not the only one in which completely untruthful ‘news’ has been presented – recently I highlighted another, published in the Mail, about the proposed implementation of speed-limiters being fitted to vehicles at the behest of the EU.

The cause for concern to which I referred is that if journalists are prepared to publish ‘fiction’ – and without any obvious attempt to research the subject about which they write/speak; and it being subsequently shown to be ‘fiction’ – then it becomes necessary that one can legitimately question the reasons for said articles.

Permit me to turn to one particular example – and in so doing I cast no aspersions on the individual in question – but unfortunately I suffer from the accusation of being once a cynic, always a cynic. I refer to the stance and campaign undertaken by the Daily Express, which began what may be termed an anti-EU campaign, one apparently spearheaded by its Chief Political Commentator, Patrick O’Flynn. Not that long after this Express campaign began – and which included many articles by O’Flynn – miraculously said O’Flynn is announced as a potential Ukip MEP candidate for the 2014 European elections.

This raises a few questions, namely: exactly when did O’Flynn become a member of Ukip, because unless he is he cannot stand for election; was this before or after the Express campaign began; at whose instigation/suggestion did the Express campaign begin and what part in the decision did O’Flynn play; did O’Flynn undergo the Ukip ‘selection process’ in order to become a potential MEP candidate – and if so, when; was it subject to the ‘Faragenanigans’ that ‘bloomed’ so well for the infamous Godfrey; regardless of when O’Flynn became a member of Ukip, should his readers not been made aware of that fact?

Returning to the Mail-on-Sunday article, linked to above, about speed-limiters; I know not the political leanings of Glen Owen, but it in turn raises another question. If journalists are prepared to publish articles which are later proven to be false, it begs the question why are they being published. Is it at the instigation of their editors, or is it for more dubious reasons – ie do they have their own agenda in that they approach their editor and say: Hey Ed, here’s a suggestion for an article that should bump up our circulation figures.

While journalists continue the practice of parroting the output of our political classes without any attempt to refute that output; while journalists continue to publish material that is not researched but seemingly produced purely for reasons of sensationalism; while journalists seem unable to present untarnished, truthful, news; if we are not able to trust the integrity of those that indulge in that profession, then does it not become necessary for them to be subjected to the same requirements that supposedly are our Members of Parliament? Should it not be a requirement that they must declare ‘an interest’?

When those that say they will represent us -but do not; and those that say they will inform us – but do not, then it becomes easier to understand the simple solution of those that advocate the use of lamp posts.

Just saying………..

 

 


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Politics: a career or a public service?

Yesterday it became known that our present government has reversed its policy on plain packaging of cigarettes, which resulted in Anna Soubry – who is the Public Health Minister – being forced to the Dispatch Box in the House of Commons to defend the Governments stance, one with which incidentally Soubry personally disagrees. In fact on Twitter, she was “egged on” to deliver a crate of Silk Cut – and another containing alcohol – to the doorstep of Number 10 with the message: “Sod off, I resign”.

This raises the question for a politician: what is more important, their career in  politics or their personal beliefs? It also questions their position wherein it could be asked: were they not elected to represent the views of those that elected them – in which case, what are the views of those who elected Anna Soubry? Has she canvassed those views?

We then come to the “Edmund Burke” question:

“Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays instead of serving you if he sacrifices it to your opinion.”

A premise which shoots a proverbial hole in the basis of representative democracy – how can one be a “representative” if your personal views can override those of whom you represent? It further begs the question of whose views are being represented:  that of an elected representative, those who elected him/her, or that of the political party of whom he/she is a member? The “Burke Principle” is that on which every Member of Parliament acts, ie the belief that their judgement, with a little “arm-twisting” from their party whip, is superior to those of the ordinary people. Just where is the basic principle of democracy (Demos: People – Kratos: Power) in such a system?

Apropos to my preceding post, Christopher Booker highlights in his Sunday Telegraph column the fact that Cameron would never support any referendum that called for this country to leave the European Union (see article from The Boiling Frog) and one can but repeat the question: where is the basic principle of democracy in that statement? Any system of democracy which permits someone to act as a representative of his constituents yet also places him in the position of a dictator must surely be flawed?

Cameron and Soubry – and just about every MP – share one characteristic: neither have any interest in democracy, their responsibilities to their constituents, nor principle and honour; all they are interested in is the one thing that they deny, namely their careers and their hold on power.

Not only is the system of representative democracy flawed – so are those within it!

 

 

 


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Not another Cameron promise?

So the Cameroon party has published a Referendum Bill – and what, pray, makes this latest production of political crap any different to what has gone before?

As our current “Dictator in situ”, let us remember that Cameron said, in an interview with El Pais as reported by The Boiling Frog, that he would not honour any referendum that called for the UK to leave the EU. So just what is this latest PR stunt and why the hell should we believe what it purports?

As an aside, just what the hell business is it of Obama to tell us what is in our best interests? Who the hell is Obama where the governance of this country is concerned? One can but think that Obama has designs above his station. FOB – as in Foxtrot Oscar Barack!

Reverting to this EU Referendum Bill, it is worth noting that Clause 3 (1), (2) and (3) are basically meaningless – true to form, where Cameron is concerned – in that the the original “promise” can be changed at the whim of the Secretary of State at the time, whose strings can be pulled by the Dictator-in-situ. And that is democracy?

In the Grauniad we read an article headlined: “Conservatives should cherish their EU rebels. Parliament needs troublemakers” – no Parliament doesn’t, what Parliament needs is MPs that do the bidding of the electorate! This comes back to just what is the function of Parliament. Needless to say, we have Daniel Hannan jumping on the bandwagon of this Referndum Bill – unfortunately he has obviously not read Clause 3, (1), (2) or (3).

Isabel Hardman, Speccie – Coffee House Blog, has written on this latest Cameron “fudge”, citing the opinion of Douglas Carswell (surprise not in that support), but when has Carswell – or Hannan, come to that – written about what happens when a referendum vote is for us to leave the EU? The exit plan is?

This latest idea is no more than another form of brainwashing by the political class on those who have not the slightest idea of what is involved – and on that ignorance will the unknowing  be once again led up the garden path by the knowing.

 


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And this is democracy?

Three articles that show the answer to the question posed in the heading to this post must surely be a resounding “NO”.

Sunny Hundal, writing in the Guardian Comment is Free (CiF):

“Much of modern politics is based on a series of confidence tricks.”

Daniel Kawczynski, writing on Conservative Home:

“With the profound impact the media can have on elections, political parties have become particularly adept at tailoring and conveying their messages and ideologies to fit into a political strategy.  Indeed, these considerations are important and right to make; they can make or break the fate of a political party.”

So, all this talk about democracy, MPs representing constituent’s views and being honourable people – is all based on a series of confidence tricks?

That the only reason political parties have become adept at tailoring and conveying their messages and ideologies is so that they don’t break the fate of their political party, thus allowing them to gain, or remain in, power?

Little noticed in our media, as reported by The Boiling Frog, was Cameron’s admission that he would ignore any call by the people in a referendum to withdraw from membership of the European Union.

Where the (next word deleted) is there any aspect of democracy in any of those three statements?

An even more important question is whether we have sufficient brick wall – and bullets for our AK47s – when the opportunity finally comes to dispose of our present political class, quangocrats, civil servants, media workers and associated dross that blight our lives?

Just asking…………….

 


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You can lead a horse to water……..

…but you can’t make it drink; which translated means that you can give someone the opportunity to do something, but you cannot force them to do it if they do not want to – an idiom which rather neatly demonstrates two contrasting deficiencies in our present system of representative democracy.

We have the ridiculous situation whereby politicians can promise the earth in their election manifestos but if they change their mind once elected we, the electorate, have no means of forcing them to honour said promises. On the other hand, if politicians enact legislation, which to the electorate is an anathema, said electorate have no option but to comply even though they have no wish so to do.

Dan Hodges, who being an avowed disciple of Blair is therefore no lover of MilibandE, has a quite telling article on the Daily Telegraph website – as does The Boiling Frog on this article. In both articles there runs a common theme: two politicians; one has no intention of moving toward that which those he is supposed to represent want, but intends moving those he is supposed to represent to that which he wants, the second has no intention of providing that which those he is supposed to represent want but intends to provide that which he wants. Both politicians share commonalities: they both profess to represent those they are meant to serve but do not, both pretend to be servants but are not, both pretend to be honourable men but are not.

Both use words for their own purpose and gain – contrast their motives with that of the woman in this video. Is that not how politicians should be using words – for the benefit of us? Politicians can be made to use their words for our benefit – but that will entail a revolution by the people, one which states quite simply that until they, the politicians, agree to this they ain’t getting our vote.

To break the stranglehold the political class have on this nation of ours is really is quite simple.

 


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Article 50 – and a “nag” or two…….

There has appeared on the blog of The Boiling Frog three articles on the above subject which should be required reading for all those interested in matters EU.

Besides being highly informative TBF debunks the arguments which are raised, should the UK invoke Article 50, about “punitive” laws being imposed on us, which as he states would be against the fundamental principles of the treaties and spirit of the EU and the Single Market. In dealing with the two-year period stipulated within Article 50 (it can, as TBF, states be shortened or lengthened by agreement) he explains how such punitive laws could not be imposed due to the timescale that the formation of law takes. In the final part TBF deals with the matter of possible retribution measures that might be taken by the EU for failing to implement any such law – were it able to be passed -  or, come to that, any law passed within this two year period.

There are two further points worth making at this juncture, one of which TBF covers in his articles. The first of these points is to do with the “repeal the ECA1972 and with one bound we are free” meme, one that once again John Redwood was proposing just a few days ago – a post within which when challenged by me in the comments section he refused to accept that he was wrong, although he did have the grace to concede that exiting from the EU via Article 50 was another way. With such “leading lights” as Redwood within the eurosceptic camp, one is left with a sense of foreboding where the success of the ‘No’ campaign is concerned.

The second point worth making is that Farage and Ukip, among others, are clamouring for a referendum now and until a week or so ago – on the occasion of Cameron’s speech – Farage had not mentioned the magic words “Article 50″. Having at last done so, why did the content of TBF’s three articles not appear on Ukip’s website? Why does it take an independent blogger to do this type of work?

On that last point, let me move onto the “matter du jour” – and no, it is not the EU budget “agreement”, another story on which the media have it so wrong – namely the question of horse meat having been found to enter the food chain. Richard North, EUReferendum, has three posts, here, here and here which are also “required reading” on this subject. Again, one has to query why it should be an independent blogger who provides all the “detail” and information? Just where are the MSM? As Richard North points out, this entire matter has arisen through a checking system introduced by the EU and which relies purely on a “paper trail” and as such is a massive failure by the EU. Food is an EU competence, as Owen Paterson has stated, consequently the UK cannot take unilateral action to solve the difficulties that the problem has thrown up which means that the incompetents that caused this problem – the EU – are now involved, something which does not give one much confidence in the new measures that will surely be forthcoming. One also has to ask where Ukip and Farage are on this matter as their silence has been rather noticeable – should they not be at the forefront of the condemnation, explaining how and why it has arisen?  At the time of writing, this is Ukip’s home page:

Neither the political class nor the MSM have the slightest understanding of the word omnishambles when they use it, which no doubt they will once they realize the true extent of this problem that presently nags at our attention. In plain, simple English it is not an omnishambles, it is a complete disaster, as is the European Union, politics in the UK and they system of democracy under which and by which we are governed.


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