Maybe we need to ask precisely what elected governments are for in modern Europe, and whether a population has to sign up to certain assumptions and attitudes before it is entitled to democratic government.
While the media have been involved in matters immigration and Corbyn; and the blogoshere involved in matters referendum (EU), little noticed it seems has been taken of a debate that took place in the House of Commons on the subject of assisted dying. The Bill in question will not progress any further, after MPs voted 330 to 118 against giving it a second reading. Isabel Hardman has, in my opinion, a good article in respect of the HoC debate but unfortunately misses the point of the question which forms the title to this article.
I question the right of those we elect to represent our views on this or any other matter – especially when we have no knowledge whether they have, or have not, consulted those they say they represent. On many subjects we hear MP’s state that they have had many, or hardly any, letters from their constituents on a ‘topic du jour’ – yet what constitutes many, or hardly any? A postbag of say two or three hundred, when compared to a constituency of say fifty thousand, hardly constitutes ‘many’ or ‘few’ – depending on the argument which the MP wishes to present on the topic in question.
Leaving to one side the argument about ‘coercion for gain’, often raised by the legal profession or charities/pressure groups, allow me a digression (a personal one) by way of explanation. My mother, who lived to 101 and resided in a care home, had many conversations with me about her death; and decided that I should have Power of Attorney over her affairs (finances and well being – the latter covering a multitude of events) should she be unable to make a decision of a personal nature due to her not being capable of so doing. As part of the ‘process’, the solicitor I engaged to draw up the necessary PoA insisted on a consultation with my mother at which I could not be present. It later transpired that this discussion came down do one fundamental question about my motives and/or ability for making any decision on her behalf, to which she replied that she was content that my decision would be hers – on which basis the solicitor was content to draw up the necessary document.
Having visited her in the afternoon, as I did every week (three days prior to Christmas Day) I received a call from the care home later that same evening to the effect that her condition had worsened and they (the care home) felt I should return, which I did – arriving about 8pm. I sat with her through the night until early in the morning her breathing became intermittent and ‘laboured’. At this point in, consultation with the senior duty manager, a doctor was called. After an examination the doctor advised that she could give my mother an injection but that whilst it may alleviate any pain she may have been suffering, that injection may well kill her – and requested my permission to proceed, which I gave. As the doctor was about to insert the needle my mother died – at which point I immediately felt relief that I had not been complicit in her death.
Now, had it been necessary for the injection to be given, it might be held that I was guilty of being party to assisted dying. No doubt the legal profession would have been able to earn mega-bucks arguing for and against – but I come back to the heading of this post and the counter question of what business is it of theirs; likewise what business is it of our political class?
Yet so much of our lives is out of our control, it being decided by our elected representatives – and on what basis, because once again I have to ask: who’s life is it? But this aspect never entered the debate – yet ‘our Isabel’ reckons the debate was ‘thoughtful’? When people have no voice over what happens to them, or their lives, then we do not live in a democracy.
On this point, witness l’affaire Straw and Rifkind – and this is but one of many important aspects of democracy over which the people have no voice whatsoever. Even the Commons Committee on Standards, composed mostly of MPs, have expressed major doubts about the rules – yet Martin Bell (yes, he of the white suit) is reported to have stated that: Obviously the system is flawed…the House of Commons is incapable of regulating itself – with the Telegraph, belatedly, asking whether we can trust MP’s to ‘mark their own homework‘. and calling for a ‘sensible outside watchdog’. Needless to say, one does exist; but they are not allowed a voice.
But politicians are not the only group with an agenda of their own because, so too it would seem, are political commentators and those heading ‘think tanks’ and pressure groups. The Boiling Frog mentions Matthew Elliott, who would seem to most definitely have his own agenda with ‘his fingers in many pies’. On top of which, this is the man who fronts a think tank/pressure group (BfB) campaigning for out but who states that if Cameron delivers all that he [Elliott] thinks important he would promptly vote to remain in the EU. This is the man, I recall reading, who fronted the No to AV referendum and who made such a pig’s ear of the job that others had to be brought in to save that campaign. So his qualification for being designated leader of the ‘Leave’ campaign, is?
When a form of democracy is practiced which does not allow those whose life it is to decide how those lives can and should be led, then that is not democracy. Even more important, when those who do know that a better form of democracy exists, yet deny that better form of democracy for their own ends, then that is not democracy either.
There is a plan to reclaim our sovereignty; only the idea embodied in said plan is to first hand it to the idiots who ceded it in the first place, without a guarantee that said sovereignty is not immediately passed to those to whom it belongs – which begs the observation that one has to question the basics of the plan. I say this as, talking to people in my new area of life – and they can be categorised as ‘Joe Public’ – there is a considerable element of those who believe it is pointless voting as nothing change (It is worth mentioning that in the Easington constituency, in which I live, only 56% of the electorate exercised their franchise). Therein, I would venture to suggest, lies an untapped source for the ‘Leave Vote’ – which in turn begs the question why the means to capture this voting potential is the last stage of ‘the plan’. It is eye-opening that when the heading of this article is embodied in the reason to leave the European Union there is interest in THA.
When the public are unable to rely on those they elect to be truthful yet remain unable to hold them to account; when commentators are able to obtain positions whereby they can influence the public’s minds through the media, yet can never be held to account – then that is not democracy either.
That is why the quote from Janet Daley heads this artice, because wherever one looks we are forced to accept certain assumptions and attitudes that affect our lives; and over which we have no recourse – or to resort to basic Anglo-Saxon: we have no choice who screws us, or when.