Monthly Archives: March 2015

If only

It is only day two of the election campaign and already we have the debate descending into trivialities.

It is now being reported that Ed Miliband is giving his opinion that the next James Bond should be a woman and informing us all about his latest ‘likes’ in popular music.

Decrying the fact that politics is centering around the main combatants for the office of Prime Minister, Miliband states that that is wrong as it should be about the British people and continuing that, as a politician, if you are in the public eye you have to take the brickbats.

Well Ed, if it is about the British people how come they are not asked but informed what you, Cameron, Clegg et all will impose on us? If you have to accept the brickbats, then how about answering some of them? In regard to the latter point, I am still waiting for a response to my email to him – and which, in respect of his non-response, my local MP (Grahame Morris) promised to raise same with him. Understandably, I appreciate Miliband has the prize of virtual dictator beckoning, so why the hell should he trouble himself with one quarrelsome, pesky, member of the electorate?

Not to be outdone, we also have Cameron claiming to be the 13th cousin of Kim Kardashian – and this is of electoral importance? How long before a political leader claims direct lineage to Jesus Christ – oh, sorry, I forgot some of them already would have us believe they are He.

In any event, where actualité is concerned at least Ed Miliband accepts that membership of the Single Market gives British businesses access to the world’s  largest trading bloc; but then does not acknowledge that it is not membership of the EU that provides that but membership of the EEA. But why bother with that inactualité when you can repeat another: that three million jobs depend on our membership of the EU?

From Wikipedia we learn that the ‘silly season’ occurs during the summer months – and in view of what we have heard so far perhaps general elections should be held in, say, August?

Just a thought……………………………

 

CIB Rally

For those who may be unaware, but interested, the Campaign for an Independent Britain (CIB) are holding a rally on 11th April; venue: Emmanuel Centre, Upper Hall, 9-23 Marsham Street, Westminster, London SW1P 3DW – 2.15pm to 5pm with a cash wine and beer bar 5pm to 6pm.

Introduced by George West (President CIB) the meeting will be chaired by Petrina Holdsworth (CIB) and speakers comprising Edward Spalton (CIB), John Mills (Labour Euro-Safeguards Campaign, Robert Oulds (Bruges Group and Simon Richards (Freedom Association)

The meeting will end with a Q&A session and admission is free.

 

We’re off!

Those who will not reason, are bigots; those who cannot, are fools; and those who dare not, are slaves.
George Gordon Byron

The General Election Game has officially begun – and we are supposed to be enthused with a process culminating in the election of our next government which, once we have elected same, over whom we will have absolutely no control whatsoever? We are supposed to be enthused by a process involving political parties calling their opponents liars which encapsulates nothing but claim and counter-claim? We are supposed to be enthused with a process in which ‘matters du jour’ will not actually be discussed for our benefit, but purely for the benefit of the participants involved in this game?

That the forthcoming general election would appear to have nothing to do with us is illustrated by those in the ‘Westminster Bubble’ becoming concerned about the ramifications of who stands where in the impending 7 Leaders debate. Among the electorate who actually cares? No, really, who?

Nowadays general elections are but a sham to democracy – we all know that there is a gulf twixt our political class and we, the electorate; we all know that ‘something’ is missing in the relationship twixt politicians and us, the electorate – yet still we dutifully troop to the voting station and place our cross on a ballot paper; one from which the only name missing is that of Izal (the brand name for a toiletry aid that resulted in the aftereffects of having used grease-proof paper – but I digress) because that is all of which a current ballot paper is worthy when considering usage,

There are, I would suggest, sufficient of the electorate who do have the power of reason still remaining; which begs the question, in relation to the quotation that heads this post: why are we , that many, still content to remain slaves?

 

 

 

Heads & Brickwalls

Those who are capable of tyranny are capable of perjury to sustain it.
Lysander Spooner

Owen Paterson has been attempting to show the Americans that Brexit does not mean the end of the UK – far from it. Unfortunately, it will no doubt become apparent that, like those of us with similar views, Paterson is banging his head against the proverbial brick wall.

When the current debate about this country’s membership of the EU is considered, it is odd that the one argument currently used to continue our membership is an economic one, whereas when the UK joined what was then the European Economic Community (EEC) the argument was a political one; based on the idea that the diplomatic gains would outweigh the economic costs.

As in 1975, what we are seeing now is the political class selectively using propaganda on ‘matters EU’; in other words they lie to us purely for their own political benefit; and in this they are aided and abetted by the media. I believe it was Hitler that pointed out the most brilliant propaganda will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind, constantly and with unflagging attention – it must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over.

This is borne out with some simple examples: for example; how often are we informed that the UK must be ‘in’ the EU to trade with the EU; or that 3 million jobs depend on our membership of the EU? For anyone who has any understanding of ‘matters EU’ it will be recognised that both the foregoing political mantras are palpably false.

The political class know that those of us attempting to educate the people on the subject of EU membership – and democracy –  face an uphill struggle in that they are well aware it is far easier to educate uneducated people than to re-educate the mis-educated – and boy, have our political class, aided by a compliant media, mis-educated the people. Both those groups are well aware of the benefits of propaganda in that they know while it does deceive people it also helps people deceive themselves.

That the political class will go to any lengths to negate discussion about ‘matters EU’ has recently been illustrated in two Select Committee reports, one from the Commons and the other from the Lords. The former, from the Commons European Scrutiny Committee, complains that the Government appears guilty of imposing a ‘lock-own’ on debate and/or discussion of ‘matters EU; while the second, from the Lords European Select Committee complains about the failure of the Government to promote their Review of the Balance of Competences and for the lack of clarity on the true costs. Then of course, we have instances of Members of Parliament who, when questioned, refuse to enter into debate – witness David Cameron and the dossier which I presented to him.

It could be said that politicians manipulate the media; conversely, the media seems only too willing to repeat whatever our politicians say, whether it be true or false. Either way, the end result is akin to poisoning a nation’s water supply – it affects all of our lives in unimaginable ways. On that point, Hannah Arendt is reputed to have said in The Origins of Totalitarianism, that there is hardly a better way to avoid discussion than by releasing an argument from the control of the present and by saying that only the future will reveal its merits – and where our political class and the media are concerned, I would suggest that never a truer word had been written.

Where our political class can be  said to control the media – and vice versa – we sorry few, who attempt to have our voices heard about not only the defects of this nation’s membership of the European Union, but also on the subject of the deficits in our present system of democracy, are fighting a losing battle. One could be forgiven for thinking that maybe we should just accept the inevitable – and concede defeat.

Never!

 

 

 

Both the MPs and the think tank need ‘Reform’

The most dangerous ideas are not those that challenge the status quo. The most dangerous ideas are those so embedded in the status quo, so wrapped in a cloud of inevitability, that we forget they are ideas at all.
Jacob M. Appel, Phoning Home: Essays

Graham Brady has an article in the Speccie, one which highlights a paper published by Reform; an, in their own words, independent think tank.  It is extremely difficult to know where to begin critiquing both Brady’s Foreward; and those of Brake and Flynn – let alone the Reform paper itself, without repeating everything I have ever written on the subject of democracy,representative  democracy and the deficits therein; and the supposed intelligence of MPs (something Flynn reckons there is a great depth thereof in Parliament).

When a supposed think tank ‘discovers’ the problem that is inherent in the payroll vote and then proposes the idea that reducing the number of MPs may reduce the effect of the problem; the mind can only boggle. Surely if Reform is a think tank then it is a tank without the power to think. If a problem is identified, then is not the cure to eradicate same, not reduce it?

But then where tanks that do not seem able to think are concerned, Reform is not unique. We seem to have a plethora of them, headed by those who do not seem to recognise that their ideas are, in fact, the most dangerous as they are embedded in the status quo; ie, in common with our political class they are loath to lose the power they are able to wield, coupled with the fact, which is common to both, they so obviously know nowt – or do not wish to acknowledge owt – about that which they pontificate.

Where existing ‘think tanks’ are concerned I find it difficult to believe that there exists one whose head does not have a hidden agenda, one which encapsulates either leading the ‘In’ or ‘Out’ campaign, come any referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU. or becoming an MP; or even when considering politicians speaking against EU membership, leader of their party. A cynical view that may be – but would anyone wish to argue against it? Do feel free, please.

I can but hope that the group, formed as a result of my initiative back in May last year, will be different – I live in hope. I can but remind them that my criticism of anti-EU groups to date has been one that all have lost sight of their raison d’être; and have become but a nest of egotism, founded on careerism – something they have in common with our political class, but I digress.

We have been informed that the forthcoming general election is one of great importance – and it is. But who, in that nest of egotism which is founded on careerism, has really ‘homed in’ on the subject central to this election; namely that of democracy, one which encapsulates the question to whom does this country belong: the people or a small group of entwined, self-centred elitists? It is indeed a tad late to raise such a question, but it is a question that has not been raised and one I fear we will live to regret in the years to come.

Having said that, are we not part of repeating history? Have not all nations sleepwalked into oblivion?

Another point of view

…………as Winston Churchill put it, democracy is a political system for all, created by everyone together and by each person individually.

The same is true of direct democracy in Switzerland. It is not something that is given, or that just fell out of the sky. It is a very precious and important achievement, which requires daily care and attention, and the more people take part in democratic processes, the better for society as a whole.

…….democracy is all around us……….

…….democracy is a privilege that comes with duties and responsibilities.

(source)

Let us look briefly at the, admittedly selectoral, quotes above:

  • democracy is a political system for all, that is agreed. Where representative democracy is concerned it was not created by everyone together, neither was it created by each person individually.
  • democracy is all around us and it is a very precious and important achievement, which requires daily care and attention, and the more people take part in democratic processes, the better for society as a whole. Unfortunately too few of the electorate realise this.
  • the possession of true democracy is a privilege that most certainly does come with duties and responsiblities; and again, too few of the electorate realise this either.

On 10th March John Redwood made a speech in the House of Commons (video here – Hansard here col:527 at 5:28pm – Redwood’s blog version here). An email correspondent is of the opinion that Redwood’s speech was ‘most excellent’, while lamenting that ‘it is the empty seats which are the most eloquent – telling everybody that most MPs are either very happy as EU puppets or just could not give a damn’.

Needless to say I disagree with my correspondent; this was a typical Redwood speech on democracy by a man who seems to not have the faintest idea of what democracy is, nor its meaning/derivation. Why should we trust a House of Commons for up to five years to legislate and govern on our behalf unless we have a right to call a halt to a particular policy which the majority may well be against? Yes, Redwood is correct when he states we should be safe in the knowledge that those displeased with a government can dismiss it at the following general election; that  a new group of people can be elected who can change all that that was not liked about the laws and conduct of the Government whom they have just removed – but in the intervening period? Even A.V.Dicey acknowledged the glaring defect in representative democracy that the the possibility exists, which no-one can dispute, of a fundamental change passing into law which the mass of the nation do not desire.

There is so much wrong with Redwood’s reasoning, exhibiting an apparent lack of knowledge where the actualité of matters EU are concerned. He wants negotiation now on, for example, borders; something which encapsulates one of the fundamental pillars of the EU, ie free movement of people – but have not many EU ‘figures’ informed us, in no uncertain terms, that free movement is not for negotiation?

In common with other Members of Parliament Redwood talks about democracy – or at least his version of it, aka representative democracy and he talks about sovereignty where his country and parliament are concerned. I have a sneaking suspicion that this speech is but an example of MPs suddenly realising that the grapes they have been feasting on are in fact sour, as the penny has now dropped that instead of being the ‘lords of their manor’ and thus able to strut the land deciding who among us can do and say what, they have realised they are now redundant as they  and their predecessors ceded their jobs elsewhere. Further, it then follows that this mantra about sovereignty and democracy has little to do with we, the people, but is purely 650 of them trying to reclaim their right to continue as ‘home-grown’ elected dictators.

Redwood, among other Members of Parliament, talks about the HoC voting to reflect the will of the people, yet invariably when such a vote is taken it does anything but, with the final legislation either bearing no comparison to the initial proposal or having been ‘tweaked’ a tad to provide the same outcome. In any event any vote is meaningless when MPs exercise their conscience or have been whipped to vote against their conscience – and on this subject; having seen the results of the Expenses Scandal or the touting by MPs for consultancies, please don’t talk to me about MPs having a conscience.

Last year, the people of Switzerland voted on a total of 12 matters, ranging from the provision of abortion and matters affecting their rail network through to a minimum wage rate and the purchase of new fighter aircraft. Were we consulted on either a minimum wage, our rail network, or the purchase of military hardware? No – Parliament made these decisions, but did they ‘reflect’ the will of the people? No – and in regard to rail, or any other form of transport, Parliament has, in effect, been gagged.

Why must everything which affects our lives be decided by central government, invariably on a one-size-fits-all basis? As an aside the latest ‘Durham News’, issued by Durham County Council, announces that they have agreed their latest Budget and Medium Term Financial Plan for 2015/2016. They estimate they will have, by 2019, to reduce spending by £250million as a result of the ‘austerity cuts’, while also estimating that by 2019 government grants will be 60% less than the level they were in 2011.

Their answer to the problem is what they term: ‘The Durham Ask‘ which involves urging communities to ensure the future of assets like libraries, leisure centres and play areas by offering to help maintain or run them, or by taking them over. The benefits of this, so we are informed by Durham County Council is, that as individuals or groups, access to funding will be available for which the County Council is ineligible. After attempting three phone calls to ascertain the source(s) of such I am, at the time of writing, still waiting for a call back.

While the argument can be made that communities and groups should take an interest in the provision of services they want, this idea of ‘asset transfers’ by local authorities smacks a tad of buck-passing, or even doing a ‘Pontius Pilate’. Perhaps if funding of such local issues was purely the responsibility of local authorities and their respective electorate were informed that to keep a certain number of libraries, leisure centres and play areas open, it would cost £x on local rates (or income tax) some of the electorate may just begin to question the local authority about staffing levels, salary costs, maintenance costs, heating costs, opening hours, operating procedures, etc; and it may then result in a local authority being able to cut those costs substantially.

Where ever you look, be that the governance of this country nationally, or on a local level; the UK’s membership of the European Union, the derivation of ‘law’ and/or ‘standards’; democracy or sovereignty; this country is being led up the ‘proverbial garden path’ by those with vested interests be they politicians, think tanks and those at their head, or journalists – as I have intimated previously.

When this country is ‘so far up the creek without a paddle’ and the cry goes up among the people of why no-one warned them – a few of us will be able to respond: but we did.

Paraphrasing Matthew 15:14: when the blind allow themselves to be led by the blind, both fall into the ditch – so how long will it be before it is realised (if it ever is) that there is much wrong in this country?

 

Apologies

My apologies to readers for the paucity of posting but now that I have ‘other responsibilities’ there are some initial pressing matters that are, perforce, taking up my time.

There will most definitely be a post or two tomorrow.

You started thinking, Janan – finish thinking!

Janan Ganesh, writing in the Financial Times, appears to have come round to the idea that in order to solve the growing devolution ‘crisis’ within the United Kingdom some form of ‘federalism’ is needed to keep it ‘united’ – and the immediate question one has to ask is just what took him so long. Such a solution has been in existence, for what seems like ‘yonks’ now, with The Harrogate Agenda.

Writing about how one man (Salmond) could assume the role of ‘kingmaker’ and, in effect, become ‘king’, not dependent on the political colour of any government, can only serve to illustrate just how our present system of democracy is not fit for purpose; and that the greasy pole has many branches.

Within the possible scenarios Ganesh presents, he is still assuming the status quo of ‘central control’; he assumes that Britons – aka the electorate – will accept a messy compromise; and that any new idea does not have to be good, it just has to be less bad than the competing idea.

I would suggest that the problem we, the people, face with the output of the present think tanks – and it is not limited to think tanks as the criticism can also be levied at our political class – is that they do not ‘think things through’, working on the basis that as long as their latest offering offers some improvement on the status quo, then it must be better. The fact that this ‘latest idea’ results in but tinkering with the status quo, with the only object in mind of maintaining the meme of central control, does not solve the deficit we currently suffer where democracy per se is concerned – namely the people are not the master, that they must continue to accept subservience to what I term is democratised dictatorship.

If David Cameron meant that which he said on the steps of Downing Street in May 2010 when he assumed usurped the position of Prime Minister of the United Kingdom – about the people being the masters and never the servant –  then the only way he can fulfill his promise is to adopt the idea of direct democracy as outlined in The Harrogate Agenda. For his political opponents to attempt to hold him to account about, for example, bringing immigration down to the ‘tens of thousands’, then said opponents are ‘missing the boat’.

Unfortunately, the fact that Cameron’s opponents will ignore his pledge about the people being the masters and never the servant is purely due to a further question: who ever agrees to cut their own throat? That Cameron’s opponents choose to ignore what is a most fundamental pledge, where reform of our system of democracy is concerned, speaks for itself –  in that they dare not as it would completely undermine their wish to retain the hold they have over us by means of the existing central control they enjoy.

Until the people of the United Kingdom wake up and realise:

  • that they, as people, don’t presently have any vestige of democracy
  • that every political party (including Ukip) may well promise to devolve power it will, unfortunately, be on their terms
  • that, under the present system, we the people will remain in the ever-tightening grip of our politicians

nothing will change.

That we will so remain until we invoke the central cry of The Harrogate Agenda – namely: We Demand – we will never, ever, be the masters of our own lives and thus our destiny – nor our country.

In other words, dear Brit, until you get off your arses and ‘DEMAND’ – enjoy your servitude to a lying, self-centred, self-promoting, self controlling, political class.

 

 

 

Cameron/Clarkson – what a democratic mess

On the BBC news this evening David Cameron, when questioned about the ‘Clarkson/Top Gear’ fiasco, stated that he did not wish to become involved in the ‘running of the BBC’ (readers can go find the link – do I have to everything round here? I jest, naturally).

But consider: were Clarkson, who lives lives in Chipping Norton (which is part of Cameron’s Witney constituency), to seek a meeting with his MP alleging victimisation resulting in his loss of earnings and asking for help, then Cameron would of necessity have to become involved with the running of the BBC.

What we have here is a situation that demonstrates the lack of separation twixt Executive and Legislature. Cameron may well have a case that he, as Prime Minister, cannot interfere in the ‘running’ of what is supposed to be an independent state broadcaster, yet were Clarkson to invoke his help, then Cameron would have to do that which he says he cannot. Are not MPs elected to represent the interests of their constituents?

It should also be remembered that Cameron, as a member of – and head of – the Executive can, if he so wishes, change  the Charter under which the BBC operates – and yet he states he cannot become involved in the running of the BBC?

One can but ask the question, therefore, just how much pressure is Clarkson under not to exercise his right as a constituent?

Hmm………………

 

 

 

Browned off

To say that I am ‘browned off‘ with the continual misinformation that the pro-EU side promulgate in their attempts to ‘skew’ the argument about the pros and cons of EU membership, come any referendum is, to say the least, an understatement.

This is not just because of Gordon Brown’s latest article which appears in the Guardian, one about which the Guardian maintains contains an ‘intellectual’ argument. Intellectual – my ****; it contains so many errors of fact that it is not worthy of the term. Regular readers will know only to well the errors to which I refer, that it is therefore unnecessary to repeat them. In any event, in respect of the ‘3 million jobs’ meme ,not only have I written many times on this falsehood but a new report from the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) shows that it is not correct.

Then we have Open Europe publishing a new report (on which comment has been passed elsewhere), the first in a series it is understood; and a report that, where accuracy of content is concerned, can only be described as ‘crud‘ – and, as an aside, it has to be said that when considering the Wikipedia definition, where the first such is concerned one could be forgiven for substituting the phrase: a pile of ….; and where the second is concerned, one can only say that the ‘D’ of the acronym is the only action that should be taken on reading such a paper.

That this ‘misinformation’ is religiously repeated by our media without any attempt to research the veracity of what our politicians say not only beggars belief but, bearing in mind the assertion of Simon Jenkins, is an affront to to the readers, listeners and viewers of said media. Matters are not helped in this when our state owned propaganda outlet hosts a discussion programme featuring two people who deliberately lie in order to promote their own arguments – and personal agendas.

EurActiv has what can only be considered a ‘puff-piece’ on the forthcoming general election in which they write that ‘matters EU’ has resulted in Eurosceptism being firmly pushed up the political agenda in Britain. Two points: first, it is doubtful if the electorate in the UK have the faintest idea just how much membership of the EU actually affects their lives, nor have any idea of the extent of how ‘global governance’ affects the ‘laws’ that the EU enacts; and secondly, that in which the electorate ‘takes an interest’ is firmly in the grasp of our political class who in turn ‘control’ that which the media reproduces.

There can be no ‘free and fair referundum’ while the media and our political classes are in cohorts as to what is fed us.

Update: At the time of writing the above I have to admit to not having read the IEA paper -and having so done, have come to the conclusion it too can be classified as ‘crud’, or, a pile of ….. It is full of speculation, not fact; it presupposes certain ‘conditions’, while refusing to acknowledge fact.

Think tanks seem presently to be suffering from a common malaise – they are not thinking!