Monthly Archives: August 2015

The Forgotten Factor?

When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.
Confucius

In a comment on this article one commenter made the point that whenever The Harrogate Agenda is mentioned on this blog, it is not long before Confucius also gets mentioned; so I thought I would do likewise,  but I digress – although only slightly.

Whilst on the subject of The Harrogate Agenda, the same commenter, who is fond of quoting Confucius asked, in that same article and repeated same in an email to me, If you are party to a secret formula for the advancement of THA, which you say you support, then why not act on it and share it. As the question was originally posed in a public forum (see link above), I have responded within that forum. Digressing slightly (as is my wont), those readers who have migrated to ScribblingsfromSeaham from WitteringsfromWitney may have noticed that my blogging output has decreased somewhat. As in a marriage or group, when one is informed that one is not wanted, is it any wonder that interest in the relationship decreases considerably; especially when it is realised that the marriage or group in question only came into existence though ones own initiative.

Anyways, to revert to the heading of this article, when we look at opinion polls on voting intentions – be that local or general elections, or even referenda questions – there is an important element in the findings; the ‘don’t knows’ or ‘undecided’. This group of the electorate cast their vote on what I would suggest is the principle of: ‘WIIFM ‘ – and no, ‘WIIFM’ has nothing to do with a new radio station: ‘WIIFM’ are that section of the electorate who are voting on the principle of ‘what’s in it for me’,

Under representative democracy any member of the ‘undecided’ or ‘swing voter’ electorate will cast their vote based purely on the ‘WIIFM’ principle; and bear in mind that their decision will be informed by what they see and hear in/on the media. When that which is propogated in the media is questionable – to say the least – where fact, ie truth, is concerned means that vote is wasted and such an electoral process becomes a charade. On this point it should be remembered that political parties promise much – and if and when said promise comes to fruition – and those promises invariably turn out to be not that which had been intimated (recall of MPs is a classic example).

‘FlexCit’ as an informative paper is priceless, but the question arises about just how many people, if it were widely available, would read it; or even understand it. It could be said that when the  Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) held their ‘Brexit’ competition, even they did not understand (or, perhaps, did not want to understand) it – otherwise it would surely have won.

Unless I have misunderstood, ‘FlexCit’ is intended to be the basis for securing ‘lead status’ of the ‘No’ campaign when the Electoral Commission opens the bidding process prior to the rerendum. A further comment from he who is apparently ‘in charge’ – or ‘leader’ – of The Harrogate Agenda has appeared on the article linked to previously, in which he states: Our pamphlet made it very clear that THA and EU membership could not go together. As the difference twixt the two is about ‘democracy’ per se, we, of a brain, are only too aware of that fact; however, where the reasons for leaving the EU and adopting The Harrogate Agenda are concerned, the two subjects are entwined. As stated previously, there is little to be gained by reclaiming powers we have ceded to one set of unelected ‘dictators’, only to hand them to another set of ‘dictators’; albeit elected through ignorance.

Readers of WitteringsfromWitney who have traversed to this blog will know that my original view in the initiative I took was that the views of the ‘Outers’ were too diverse and presented, to the electorate, a fragmented message. Conversely, it has to be said, there are still those within the ‘Outers’ who believe their ‘message’ is the only ‘true way’ and brook no dissent; which is hardly conducive to presenting a ‘united front’ to the ‘Inners’ – maybe, as I have previousy suggested, a few heads need to be ‘banged together’?

Currently, where arguments for ‘Out’ are concerned they have become ‘confusing’ and that there is need for a ‘fresh look’ as to what might just be the catalyst to bring the ‘WIIFM’ into the ‘No’ camp; namely The Harrogate Agenda – or if we are seeking a sub title for that movement: Great Expectations? The point about WIIFM is that if it is the deciding factor in voting intentions, then why is the only means whereby WIIFM can be achieved only stage six of FlexCit?

When considering the ‘mixed messages’ that the electorate is being offered by the ‘Outers’, it is perhaps pertinent to end this article with another quotation:

Perhaps when we find ourselves wanting everything, it is because we are dangerously close to wanting nothing.
Sylvia Plath

 

Circles in a spiral, wheels within a wheel

Round like a circle in a spiral, like a wheel within a wheel
Never ending or beginning on an ever-spinning reel
The Windmills Of Your Mind – Alan Bergman, Michel Jean Legrand

Richard North writes about the ‘sharp practice’ (although I would have used a stronger phrase) of Andrew Lilico and Matthew Sinclair when they pass comment on David Cameron’s renegotiation of this country’s memberhip of the European Union.

What we witness with Lilico and Sinclair is no different to that witnessed in the utterings of any europhile; namely blatant misrepresentation of the subject matter exemplified by a complete (deliberate?) lack of knowledge. The article to which Richard North links amounts to another, not very subtle, attempt to influence the outcome of the impending referendum on EU membership.

Articles such as those produced by Lilico and Sinclair can only add to the fears of those who worry that the forthcoming referendum will be anything but free and fair – but those concerns are negated surely when one remembers that the process will be under the watchful eye of the ‘independent’ Electoral Commission? 

The Electoral Commissioners are appointed by the Speaker’s Committee, or to give it its full title: the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission. The Speaker is elected by Parliament, the majority of whom can be said to be of europhile tendency. The Speaker’s Committee comprises four ex-officio members (currently one membership is vacant and is to be appointed by David Cameron) with the other five members being appointed by the Speaker. As will be seen, if one looks at their voting record under ‘Foreign Policy and Defence’ on ‘They work for you, the first two generally voted for more EU legislation and the remaining three generally voted both for and against more EU legislation.

If we then look at the present commission we find all but one (Gareth Halliwell) have been part of the ‘system’ (the Westminster Bubble), ie been MPs or held ‘government appointments’. likewise, in some cases, the Executive Team. Yet from Wikipedia we learn that the Electoral Commmission is ‘independent’ of Government and answerable to Parliament. Really?

Circles in a spiral and wheels within a wheel?

As part of that process said Commission will be inviting bids from interested parties who wish to be the ‘lead’ campaign group for both sides of the question: do we wish to remain a member of the European Union. Understandably, logic raises the question of just how can those with ‘set views’ deliver an impartial verdict, one no doubt at variance with their core political beliefs. It follows then that any bid which effectively wishes to ‘rip up’ accepted thinking and change the entire method of trading with the EU; plus, as part of its ‘plan’, introduce a new form of democracy, which would return power to the people, must stand as much chance of success as that of the proverbial snowball surviving in hell.

In conclusion, ‘We’ who comprise true eurosceptics expect to be ‘stitched up’ by government and their acolytes; but to be stitched up by those we thought was one of ‘Us’ is a bitter pill to swallow.

A free and fair referendum? Not in this world!

 

For Heffer and Heffer: Amen – I hope not……..

Writing in the Telegraph on Sunday, Simon Heffer states: Tories must demand the truth about the EU  – The renegotiation of membership terms with the EU is an illusion. Conservatives must hold David Cameron to account. In this article he homes in on Andrew Lansley’s assertion that Cameron will ‘engineer’ a row with his fellow heads of state, the necessity for which is to allow him to point to “victories” he has won after standing up to them, thus enabling him to encourage a vote to stay in the EU. On this point, Heffer writes: The very idea makes a number of frankly unpleasant assumptions: that the British public are so thick they would be taken in by it, that Tory MPs are so craven that they would play along with it, and that ministers are so venal in their ambition that they would not raise the slightest protest at their collective responsibility for such deceit.

Whether Lansley’s assertion is fact or fiction, let us apply Heffer’s reasoning to the question of Cameron’s supposed ‘renegotiation’ of the UK’s terms of membership of the European Union. Have not the British public swallowed (and swallowed it whole, to quote someone else) his renegotiation package? Are Tory MPs, in general, not craven that they too appear to have gone along with it? As for ministers, their veniality for the extra ‘bunce’ they receive for occupying the positions they do speaks volumes where their public utterances are concerned. If the British people can swallow a renegotiation of membership terms, they sure as hell will swallow a ‘manufactured’ row.

It has to be acknowledged that in one respect, Heffer is correct when he writes that the truth about the EU must be demanded, but the question is who should be doing the demanding – should it not be the people, rather than MPs? A further question is: how can they, the people, demand anything when they have no avenues through which to so do, thanks to the form of democracy currently practised  in our country – nor the knowledge so to do – thanks to the fog of deception put out by both politicians and media, who both appear to lack the will to put in the work to ascertain the facts?

At this point I must come back to a post I wrote a few days ago in which I asked whether, in any ‘Out’ campaign, which should come first: leaving the EU or The Harrogate Agenda. In FlexCit – a publication of which those of us ‘in the know’ hold in high regard, stage 6 deals with ‘Domestic Reform’ and centres on the need for the adoption of ‘The Harrogate Agenda’. In this section it makes the point, more than once,  that there is little to be gained by exiting the EU only to hand the powers regained back to those who give them away in the first place – together with the point that, in effect, we would be exchanging one form of centralist control for another.

A later post of mine has attracted a few comments about the implementation of The Harrogate Agenda, including a comment or two from he who apparently has been tasked with the job of ‘leading’ the movement – unfortunately all that person apppears able to do is repeat the mantra up to which he has ‘signed’ – original thought, there appears none.

At this point it is worth repeating the text of an email I received (sender remaining anonymous, deliberately by my choice) who writes: I don’t want to post this as I’ve said it so many times before. It “has” to be readable and understandable by anyone who picks it up.It “has” to have a title that reflects what it actually is. “The Harrogate Agenda” ??? Sounds like one of the titles we would give to a wartime operation.
Operation Overlord et al. Where the title is given to conceal the intent.

The comment expressed in this email echoes that which many have made to me in comments on posts about The Harrogate Agenda; and begs the question just what has he, tasked with ‘leading’ The Harrogate Agenda, been doing to address this problem?

I can but repeat a point posed in one of the articles linked to above: get the people to ‘understand’ what is ‘democracy’ and the result of any referendum on the question of membership of the European Union can but be a foregone conclusion.

If we are to have a ‘No’ campaign, why does one ‘arm’ of that campaign appoint one who would appear to have no idea of what he should be doing about a subject which is, actually, the ‘crux’ (the decisive or most important point at issue) of the matter?

Does not this entire matter not boil down to the eternal question of: chicken or egg?

Just asking………………………………

 

 

Hang on, When spake the Electoral Commission?

Open Europe state, in today’s press summary, that: The Sunday Times reported that the EU referendum ‘No’ campaign is in talks with at least eight cabinet ministers about joining the call for withdrawal. Leaked documents show that the campaign’s chief executive will be Matthew Elliott, the founder of the Business for Britain group. The director of operations will be Victoria Woodcock, Michael Gove’s former private secretary, while Georgiana Bristol, a fundraiser for Boris Johnson’s 2008 London mayoral campaign, will be development director.

Jumping the gun a tad, aren’t they – especially when the Electoral Commission have yet to open bids for either the ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ campaigns.

In any event just how can someone who’s stated aim is that if all of David Cameron’s wish list are satisfactorily renegotiated to his [Elliott’s] satisfaction, he would wish the UK to remain an EU member then head the official [Electoral Commission approved] ‘No’ campaign?

As with so many of those on either side of the EU membership debate it can be said that the ‘ego has definitely landed’ – especially where Matthew Elliott is concerned.

‘Brown’ing an electorate?

Gordon Brown has made his first intervention in the Labour leadership contest and told the party it has an “obligation” to select somebody who can lead it back into power (source). His unedited speech:

Whether his speech is ‘pro’ or ‘anti’ Corbyn, I leave readers to form their own opinion – on what I believe all readers will agree: it was an impassioned speech, although those of the right will undoubtedy be able to pick holes galore in the content.

Gordon Brown spoke of many things, among which:

(i) people feel insecure as they realise they are on a runaway train – is that not what representative democracy is; in that once elected the winning party can, in effect, ‘steamroller’ through parliament that which they wish while the people can do nowt to stop it? Cure: adoption of The Harrogate Agenda.

(ii) Nationalists want to ‘bring power back home’: unfortunately the people of nationalist beliefs fail to realise that bringing power back home is but to bring power back to their local political elite – not to them. Cure: The Harrogate Agenda.

(iii) Quoting a former Labour persona: Where is the power and how can we (the local political elite) get hold of it – to the detriment of the people? Cure: The Harrogate Agenda.

(iv) A movement cannot be a movement unless it is reaching out to people. Question: So where is the Harrogate Agenda and just how is it presently reaching out to people? An open question to the apparent leader of The Harrogate Agenda, Niall Warry: what say you? (and please just don’t talk about ‘workshops’).

It would be possible to change this address round and imagine a Conservative politician giving this speech from his political viewpoint – and the difference would be? Zilch! All he  would be doing is exactly what Brown has done – telling us that only a political party can decide how our lives should be led.

Readers should remember: there is only one source of power and that there is only one form of demoracy and that both can only reside in the hands of the people.

Politicians need to accept both those tenets; and then – and only then – will they begin to fulfill their position in society!

 

 

Well, ’tis the silly season……..

The following letter has come to my attention which begs the question of just how much we taxpayers shell out (sorry, have forcibly extracted from our pockets) for highly intelligent local authority staff?

Scan_20150816

If, as the letter states, it is believed the addressee no longer lives at the property just what is the point of writing to them there? It should also be noted that one of the first things the addressee did on moving was to register for inclusion on the electoral role, citing her new address, which was also in the county of Durham.

A unintentional message?

As a bit of light relief from the woes of the world , an example – as we are officially in the ‘Silly Season’ – of what one might call a counter-productive slogan.

We all believe – and the RSPCA would have us so believe – that their raison d’être is the care and safety of animals – so does their branch in Bury really mean what it says?

Now, had they added an apostrophe ‘s’…………….

safe_image

(Photograph from the Bury Times)

A Conundrum – Why do we all have ‘rights’?

11224627_985226928213850_2683712711129358807_n

Or, come to that, other ‘must haves’?

A tenant living in one of the properties I am currently managing, who is months behind with rent payments, cannot afford £10 pounds from his unemployment benefit to top up his mobile and thus be able to access his voice mail and thus know that people wish to speak to him. By his own admission, one week after receiving his monthly cheque from Universal Credit, he has to ‘borrow from his friend’s’. So why are we handing out money to those with no sense of financial control?

When it was pointed out to him that if he forwent his frequent all-night drinking sessions he might be able to afford £10 to top up his mobile, I was informed I had no right to tell him how he should spend his money. Setting to one side that ‘his money’ is in fact ‘taxpayers money’; silly me forgot that we all now have ‘rights’.

Shooting off at a tangent (as is my wont) have we noticed how frequently the political ruling elite anounce ‘crackdowns’ on this, that and the other? The latest we hear is about employers who give jobs to illegal immigrants, with James Brokenshire announcing that ‘rogue employers’ will feel ‘the full force of the law’ and that he will ‘use the full force of government machinery to hit them from all angles’.  Exactly how much extra is the cost of these ‘crackdowns’? Let us not forget that these ‘illegal immigrants’ (if such can actually exist) also have ‘rights’ via the European Court of Human Rights.

If the aforementioned have ‘rights’, what happened to the ‘rights’ of those who fund them – and their ‘right’ to refuse to so do? What happened to the ‘right’ of taxpayers not to have money forcibly extracted from their earnings to fund that with which they do not agree?

It is indeed a funny old word in which we live – and it cannot be ‘right’.

Think Harrogate Agenda and Demand #5: No tax, charge or levy shall be imposed, nor any public spending authorised, nor any sum borrowed by any national or local government except with the express approval the majority of the people, renewed annually on presentation of a budget which shall first have been approved by their respective legislatures;

Think Harrogate Agenda and Demand #4: No law, treaty or government decision shall take effect without the consent of the majority of the people, by positive vote if so demanded, and that none shall continue to have effect when that consent is withdrawn by the majority of the people;

Implement those two demands and that would soon ‘sort-out’ those who believe they have ‘rights’!

Just saying……………………………………………

These ‘Talking Heads’ appear to be brainless

In his ‘Whats up, whats down’ daily email, Matthew Elliot wrote on the 31st July edition: Nigel Farage announced yesterday that UKIP would from September be launching a major grassroots push for a ‘No’ vote in the forthcoming EU referendum. Speaking in London, the UKIP leader pledged to hold hundreds of public meetings and “take the lead on the ground” in the run up to the vote. Elsewhere in his speech, Mr Farage also called for the ‘No’ campaign to focus on the issue of free movement of labour within the EU, saying the issue of “open borders” could not be ignored. The UKIP leader criticised the lack of scrutiny of the Prime Minister’s renegotiation plan and lack of preparations for a ‘No’ campaign, despite the evidence that both are happening at the highest levels. (Emphasis mine)

A few days ago the European Council for Foreign Relations (ECFR) issued a podcast chaired by Mark Leonard (Director of ECFR) which included a panel discussion centred on the question: What would ‘Out’ mean. Taking part were Bernard Jenkin (MP for Harwich and North Essex; Mark Reckless (Ukip’s Director of Policy); and Matthew Elliot (CEO, Business for Britain).

Summing up, Mark Leonard stated that the ‘Outers’ were being a tad ‘cagey’ about the meaning of ‘Out’ – which is probably due to the fact that the three participants in his podcast appeared to have little understanding of the topic in question.

When one hears Bernard Jenkin stating that it is not the job of the ‘No’ campaign to deliver a solution to ‘Out’ and that the referendum does nothing at all legally, it being only advisory and that Article 50 is not an attractive route for withdrawal from the European Union; Mark Reckless stating that the subject of membership of the EU is about ‘democracy’ and that the make-up of the EU is not Ukip’s idea of what democracy should be (would Ukip have any idea of what is democracy? But I digress); added to which is the verbage offered, as part of the discussion, by Matthew Elliott, one can only hope that none of these three are included in discussions at the highest level – but no doubt they are.

As David Cameron needs to re-calibrate his definition of what constitutes a top table, so Matthew Elliot needs to re-calibrate his definition of levels.

Just saying…………………………………..

 

 

 

 

Swings and roundabouts

We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid.
Benjamin Franklin

Boy, do the majority of our political elite and the media work extremely hard to remain stupid.

Richard North has written (as usual) a well thought out article based on fact about the underlying reasons for the situation in Calais; which makes all the more a mockery of the interview Harriet Harman gave to the BBC on the subject. Then we have the likes of Nigel Farage giving us his twopenneth on the subject; which begs the question just how can one be an MEP or MP for a great number of years and work so hard to remain stupid. Where stupidity is concerned, it is exemplified in Harman’s statement: ….I mean, if there was an OfGov this government would be in special measures……; because OfGov does in fact exist and comprises the people who, unfortunately, under representative democracy are powerless and thus ignored. Needless to say in Switzerland OfGov does exist because in that country it is the people who are able to control both their local and national governments.

Another politician who gives the impression of working extremely hard to remain stupid is John Redwood. An article from him entited: Regional identity is another fine mess in the EU contains the following: ………..but a subsidy or dependency union for the regions. It looked forward to regional allies and gratitude for the money sent to the regions, money it only had thanks to the contributions of the member states. Where is the difference twixt the EU and successive governments in the UK? Have not our governments looked forward to allies and gratitude for the money it has given to counties, money it only had thanks the taxpayers in general? Is not central control of money prevalent in both?

Where the government of a nation can create a society in which anyone who has a problem or grievance is led to believe the state can resolve their difficulty, then all is lost. Witness the caller to the 999 service who, having found his girlfriend’s cat had eaten his bacon, wished to press charges against not only his girlfriend but also her cat.

Time and again we witness misinformation being peddled by politicians, dutifully repeated by their ‘lackey media’, with a view to ‘selling’ one policy decision or another.  The control of information is something the political elite has always done, particularly in a despotic form of government – and under representative democracy do we not live, in one form or another, under despotic governments? Information is power and if you control information, you control people. Where people are controlled it then follows that their vote counts for nothing because they have lost the power to think for themselves.

This leads on to the problems facing those who believe that, in the forthcoming referendum – whenever it is held,  this nation should cease its membership of the European Union. There are those who believe all the problems we face are due to our membership of the European Union and just want out without having any idea of how we get out; those who wish to remain members of the European Union but with some changes and proffer the renegotiation meme as a resolution; and those who want out and who are spending a great deal of time formulating strategy and planning.

The one problem that all the various groups on the ‘Out’ side face is that the more one delves into the reasons for ceasing our membership of the European Union, the more intricate becomes the argument. The question must then be asked whether the man-in-the-street has the time and the wish to become involved in intricacy; and thus complex, arguments – and said arguments will certainly be above the intelligence level of someone who wishes to press charges against a cat; and, no doubt, also a considerable proportion of the people.

Apathy among the electorate is well known and one of the most voiced reasons for those not voting is that it matters not how they vote – nothing changes. Logically, this must mean that there is something wrong with our present system of democracy, in that if the people have no voice over that which the government they have elected enacts, then there is no democracy per se. Do not forget that David Cameron, on assuming the office of Prime Minister in 2010, vowed that politicians must never forget that the people are in control and that politicians are never their masters (although he obviously has forgotten another vow!)

The group referred to above as spending a great deal of time on strategy and planning is the Referendum Planning Group (RPG); and one of their aims, unless I am mistaken, is the introduction of The Harrogate Agenda (THA), which proposes a change from representative democracy to one of direct democracy. As has been pointed out previously, there is little logic in rescuing our nation from one set of unelected dictators only to hand it over to another set of, albeit elected, dictators. When viewing ceasing our membership of the European Union and seeking a change to direct democracy I am unsure, where this group is concerned, which of the two – ceasing EU membership and introducing THA – is the ‘horse’ and which is the ‘cart’.

While it is accepted that strategy and planning may well still be under discussion, it will be of importance how their strategy and planning evolves and which – either leaving the EU or the introduction of THA takes prominence; or whether their camaign will feature both with equal prominence. Bearing in mind the apathy of the electorate and their complaint that whoever they vote  for, nowt changes, it is logical to assume that if that section of the electorate – and the electorate in general – is shown how THA gives them that voice they feel they presently lack, then the referendum is practically ‘won’ – as EU membership is totally incompatible with THA.

Faced with that, the question the electorate have to decide is whether they wish for independence, not just nationally but also locally, or a life of continuing political servitude.

Food for thought?