Monthly Archives: July 2016

Fluff for brains

We are addicted to our thoughts. We cannot change anything if we cannot change our thinking.
Santosh Kalwar (Quote Me Everyday)

No brain at all, some of them, only grey fluff that’s blown into their heads by mistake, and they don’t think.
A.A. Milne (The House at Pooh Corner)

When we look at the views of our current crop of politicians and those of most political commentators where Brexit is concerned, both quotes are pertinent.

Supposedly politicians are elected to represent our views and therefore it is not unreasonable to expect them to know about that which they have to consider as part of their duties. If only that were the case, because from what we have seen so far one could be forgiven for thinking they have no brain at all; that part of their body just being composed of fluff and thus, consequently, they have no power of thought.

The latest example of ‘fluff for brains’ must surely belong to Bill Cash withthis articlein The Independent. Bill Cash, who a fellow blogger has remarked, can reputedly clear a room faster than the most strident of fire alarms, is a practicing solicitor and thus know the law of contracts. He must, therefore, be aware that Parliament ceded what sovereignty it had remaining to the European Union when the Lisbon Treaty was signed. In signing that treaty the clause specifying that there was only one method by which that treaty could be terminated was, de facto, accepted. It follows, therefore, that repeal of ECA1972 has no meaning whatsoever.

Quite often I watch Select Committee meetings and the overriding impression I have is that not only do members of such committees appear to have no idea of the matter they are supposed to be discussing, but they obviously like the sound of their own voices. In that respect any Member of Parliament sitting on the recent Treasury Select Committee hearings, with only a basic knowledge of ‘matters EU’, could have torn asunder the ‘evidence’ offered by Matthew Elliot, Dominic Cummings, Hosuk Lee-Makiyama, Shanker Singham and Michael Dougan – to name just a few.

It seems all of our politicians are addicted to ridiculous thoughts where Brexit, encapsulating our future relationship with the European Union, is concerned; and until they change their thinking nowt will change, resulting in our ending up with a deal over which we will have no say, nor input. Unfortunately for we the people, under representative democracy politicians are our masters – which is not what is democracy per se.

This article began with two quotes – I can but end it with another:

In the first place, God made idiots. That was for practice. Then he made politicians.

Mark Twain (I paraphrase).

 

Talking Heads

Theresa May has had a meeting with Nicola Sturgeon at Bute House in Edinburgh during which the two leaders discussed the Brexit process and its implications for the future of the Union.

It appears that Prime Minister May seemed in conciliatory mood, stating that she is willing to listen to options and had been very clear with the First Minister today that she wanted the Scottish government to be fully engaged in the discussion, Meanwhile, in contrast, Nicola Sturgeon appeared in combative mood by stating that Westminster would not be able to block a referendum if it was demanded by the Scottish people; coupled with the fact it is well known that she has begun talks  about how to keep Scotland inside the EU, given a majority of its population voted Remain in the recent referendum.

At this point I have to repeat something previously pointed out here; namely that:

  • Scotland, in my belief, is not a state per se in international law, so it is incapable of signing and ratifying international treaties. Neither does it have power over international relations, which are reserved to Westminster under the Scotland Act 1998;
  • It must therefore follow that Scotland could not become an EU Member State in its own right, or even sign an Association Agreement with the EU;
  • If Scotland did vote for cessation from the United Kingdom, Nicola Sturgeon’s wish is that it should inherit the position of the United Kingdom and thus retain a position of a full member state, while at the same time denying that if that strategy failed, Scotland would have to undergo the process of any state wishing to join the European Union
  • Under The Scotland Act 2016, if my reading of that Act is also correct, Scotland has no law-making powers in relation to referendums, therefore the consent of the United Kingdom would be required for another referendum.

One can but assume that May and Sturgeon are playing a political version of ‘Call my bluff’; mind you it keeps the media entertained. Having also said that she won’t be triggering Article 50 until she thinks that we have a UK approach and objectives for negotiations, one can also be forgiven for thinking that triggering Article 50 is yonks away bearing in mind previous utterances from Johnson and Davis.

It has been reported that Ian Dunt once said that political journalism is often a trivial failure which seems to be the case where this article of Dunt’s is concerned. He writes: Norway is a member of the single market and it got a few allowances on things like postal services and fishing. People usually refer to this as ‘EEA plus’ or ‘EEA minus’, depending on the deal. But there’s a downside. Norway still has to abide by the major single market rules, like freedom of movement, but without any say over them (Emphasis mine). A few allowances on things like……fishing? Norway still has to abide by the major single market rules, like freedom of movement, but without any say over them? Just on what planet is Dunt? Does he not ‘do’ research? InFacts appears to recognise the importance of Art 112 of the EEA Agreement – and if anyone can be considered an ‘armchair lawyer’, then surely it is Monnet Professor MIchael Dougan?

Another ‘talking head’ who appears to know owt is Charles Moore with this article in the Telegraph, in which he writes about how next week, the think-tank Politeia is bringing out a pamphlet by the distinguished Martin Howe QC – another, on the face of it, talking head – called How to Leave the EU. Apparently Howe is of the opinion that we should start trade talks with other nations prior to – and during – Art 50 negotiations. I suppose the most idiotic statement is: If we negotiate on the basis that continuing membership of the EU single market is essential to our economic survival, we will lose – betraying voters’ expectations about immigration control as we do so. Where to start – and if truth be known I haven’t the will or the energy so to do.

I have used the following verse, whose source to my knowledge is unknown, previously – however it is worth repeating at this point in view of the diverse and idiotic statements which are presented to us about the process of Brexit:

He who knows not, but knows not that he knows not, is a fool – shun him.
He who knows not, but knows that he knows not, is simple – teach him.
He who knows, but knows not that he knows, is asleep – wake him.
He who knows and knows that he knows, is a wise man – follow him.

In respect of the first, this includes our political class, political commentators and the remainder of the media.
In respect of the second, the problem we have is that also encapsulates the first who have sunk below the level of ‘simple’ and therefore cannot be taught.
In respect of the third, which also encapsulates the second, the problem is that even a kiss from Prince Charming would not wake them from their slumbers.

In respect of the last,  those that know and know that they know immediately alienate those with whom they disagree, but who might in due time and with further  consideration follow them, by their dismissive and discourteous attitude.

Where the Brexit ‘process’ is concerned it seems that we, the people, are ‘screwed’ where ever we look for enlightenment which would lead us to that for which we voted in the referendum on 23rd June.

Where the process of Brexit is concerned – and acknowledging that I am fond of quoting song lyrics – why do I keep recalling the opening lyrics to Windmills of my mind (The Thomas Crown Affair):

Round like a circle in a spiral, like a wheel within a wheel
Never ending or beginning on an ever spinning reel

Just asking…………………….

A waste of time and money?

It is noted that a debate is to be held by MPs on 5th September in Westminster Hall to discuss whether the referendum to leave the European Union should be re-run. The petition calling for a re-run attracted 4.1m signatures, it is reported, having been started by one William Oliver Healey who maintains that it is necessary for any referendum to be valid it must attract a turnout of at least 75% and secure the agreement of at least 60% of the electorate.

It is also noted from the linked report that 77,000 signatures had been discounted after an investigation for fraud – which begs the question of how many of those signatures deemed lawful had actually voted in the referendum? A further question arises: if a petition reaches the required threshold why should politicians have the right to decide whether the subject matter should be debated? This but illustrates the control that our politicians have over us – they offer to open the door of democracy to us; and then slam it shut in our face. More importantly, when the European Referendum Act did not set a threshold for the result or minimum turnout; and when the debate does not have the power to change the law and will not result in the Commons voting on whether or not to hold a second referendum – just why is this debate being held?

If we now look at the composition of the Petitions Committee, coupled with those MPs who have openly stated their voting intentions  we find that four of the Conservative members of that committee intended to vote ‘Remain’; the four Labour members intended to vote ‘Remain’, as did Ian Backford (SNP); while just the two remaining members of the committee, Steve Double and Paul Scully (both Conservative), intended to vote ‘Leave’.

When one considers we are supposed to have ‘representative’ democracy, is it any wonder the Petitions Committee decided to pass this petition for debate?

The electorate most obviously did not believe we have representative democracy – did they?

Just saying…………

 

May the force be with you….

…..which it will be, especially when one’s career is at stake when a new overlord has manoeuvred his/her way to the top of the cesspool.

Yesterday began quietly, but with Leadsom’s announcement at about 12:15 one could say that ‘all hell broke loose’ and the force which galvanized behind May reminds one of the lyrics to 76 trombones, with Conservative MP after Conservative MP all seeking to catch her eye for a job in her administration, each adding to the growing cacophany. By late afternoon, when Cameron had endorsed his successor and set out a timetable for the handing over of power, an act which has no place in democracy, per se, had taken place.

Yet again we are to have a new ‘dictator’ who will impose on us their vision of the society in which we are to live and who we, the people, will have not elected, who has not provided any manifesto;  and thus leaving us with no concrete idea of what may be in store for us. The ‘May coronation’ is not new, witness that of Major and Brown.

The appointment of a new party political leader can be termed a constitutional convention, in that it is an informal and uncodified procedural agreement that is followed by the political institutions of a state. The term ‘constitutional convention’ was, to my knowledge, first used by AV Dicey in his 1883 book, Introduction to the Study of the Law of the Constitution (10th edition, pp. 23-24):

……..set of rules consist of conventions, understandings, habits, or practices that—though they may regulate the conduct of the several members of the sovereign power, the Ministry, or other officials—are not really laws, since they are not enforced by the courts. This portion of constitutional law may, for the sake of distinction, be termed the “conventions of the constitution”, or constitutional morality (emphasis mine) – or possibility constitutional immorality, but then perhaps I digress…….

Nearly a century later Peter Hogg, a leading authority on Canadian constitutional law, wrote:

Conventions are rules of the constitution which are not enforced by the law courts. Because they are not enforced by the law courts they are best regarded as non-legal rules, but because they do in fact regulate the working of the constitution they are an important concern of the constitutional lawyer. What conventions do is to prescribe the way in which legal powers shall be exercised. Some conventions have the effect of transferring effective power from the legal holder to another official or institution. Other conventions limit an apparently broad power, or even prescribe that a legal power shall not be exercised at all. (Constitutional Law of Canada, p. 7) (emphasis mine).

It is also worth noting the words of Prime Minister H. Asquith, who in 1928, wrote in his memoirs:

In this country we live … under an unwritten Constitution. It is true that we have on the Statute-book great instruments like Magna Carta, the Petition of Right, and the Bill of Rights which define and secure many of our rights and privileges; but the great bulk of our constitutional liberties and … our constitutional practices do not derive their validity and sanction from any Bill which has received the formal assent of the King, Lords and Commons. They rest on usage, custom, convention, often of slow growth in their early stages, not always uniform, but which in the course of time received universal observance and respect (emphasis mine).

As far as I am aware the mechanism for transferring the office of Prime Minister, or the leader of a political party, in the UK has come from what may be termed ‘internal party rules’ governing their ‘election’, a process in which the electorate, per se, has no participation whatsoever.

As an aside it is worth noting that since World War II there have been almost as many changes of PM from within the same party as there have as a result of a general election; and yesterday’s events are mirrored by those of 1990 when John Major failed to win an outright majority in the second round of voting, at which point the other candidates withdrew.

It is a constant source of amusement to me when I hear our politicians talk about ‘our democracy’, or ‘democracy’, yet then pontificate on the process by which we accept the appointment of a new prime minister or political leader; a process no better than that by which the dictator of a ‘banana republic’ achieves office.

In her speech yesterday morning, in Birmingham, May said: In the coming weeks, I will set out my plans to take our economy through this period of uncertainty, to get the economy growing strongly across all parts of the country, to deal with Britain’s longstanding productivity problem, to create more well-paid jobs, to negotiate the best terms for Britain’s departure from the European Union – and to forge a new role for ourselves in the world. Later, once her coronation was complete, she said: …we are going to give people more control of their lives…..

It is noted that Brexit is fourth on what appears to be her list of priorities, yet the first three depend on the outcome of Brexit. One can make of that what one will. In respect of the last statement, one can be forgiven for thinking that the control over our lives will continue to be with one that entails the final approval of central government – think recall of MPs where the final decision is one for politicians. In any event, as always, we must wait and see what our politicians have in store for us.

Currently whether it be how our prime ministers are chosen or the system of democracy under which we are forced to live, we are in the hands of our politicians; although where the latter point is concerned people pressure/power could change that. That it will have to be people pressure/power that brings that about is, to quote AV Dicey writing in the Introduction to Law of the Constitution, 8th ed  (London: Macmillan 1915 p.c.) obvious:

It is certain that no man who is really satisfied with the working of our party system will ever look with favour on an institution which aims at correcting the vices of party government.

Until such time as it is possible to achieve direct democracy in this country – a system whereby the people are able to control the actions of politicians rather than the current system whereby politicians are able to control us – why is it I continually remember the words of Leo Marks:

The life that I have
Is all that I have
And the life that I have is yours.
The love that I have of the life that I have
Is yours and yours and yours

Just whose voice counts?

War will never cease until babies begin to come into the world with larger cerebrums and smaller adrenal glands.
L.Mencken

Older men declare war. But it is the youth that must fight and die.
Herbert Hoover

Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.
John F. Kennedy

To take those three quotes in order, a few thoughts:

  • Is it a characteristic of our political class that they are born of a genital deficiency and are thus  unable to acknowledge that which is readily available on the web – ie, FlexCit)? With all their talk about limiting immigration; just why are they so ‘blind’ to the ability, within the EEA, of invoking Article 112 of that agreement, so they can limit that and so much more?
  • Where the declaration of war is concerned, it appears that the perogative so to do lies with Parliament and thus our political class. This begs the question just who does the fighting and provides the funds – the 650 of our political class. or the people – whether that be those in the armed forces or those that provide, by means of taxation or contributions thereof? Therefore should not the decision and thus the agreement to declare war, lie with the people?
  • That once the idea of direct democracy becomes more widely known – and thus the benefits of same – whereby the people recognise their ability to control those who have held us in their ‘iron grip’, thus ‘turn the tables’; are not the 650 and their acolytes not making violent revolution inevitable? Are they so dense they have  forgotten the lessons of history – some of that quite recent?

Our political class – and their acolytes – appear to believe they have the right to decide, through our system of democratised dictatorship, the make-up of the society in which we, the people, wish to live. I say there is only one group that can decide that – and that is the indigenous people of the United Kingdom.

Bring on Direct Democracy – and until a few other bloggers recognise that and the foregoing, they are p*****g in the wind! Witness those who would appear, only too happily, to anoint one who voted to remain in the European Union should become our next Prime Minister – not that her opponent is also qualified to hold that post. Which begs a further question: should, if we had democracy per se, the appointment of any prime minister not be that for a decision of the people?

Just saying/asking……….

Will no-one rid us of this troublesome class?

Paraphrasing Henry II – as is my wont.

As an initial aside, courtesy of Ian Parker-Joseph, it is noted that the Occidental College is offering a course  on stupidity – presumably all successful students graduate with a PPE?

That question is posed in view of the apparent scramble that is taking place among those of the Conservative, Labour and United Kingdom Independence Parties to become ‘top dog’ (or ‘top bitch’) of their respective fetid pile of unknowledgeable nonentities – all three hardly, at the moment, being united.

All those ‘within’ the aforementioned parties are fond of talking about ‘democracy’ –  yet where is any hint of democracy when those they are supposed to represent have no say in who is to head what amounts to a system of democratised dictatorship?

When will people realise that the political class are no different to any other industry seeking dominance in its chosen field – in  other words,  to ‘corner the market’ and thus ‘make a killing’? Ultimately, they care not for you or me – for sure, they make a pretense of so doing only because at present it is part of their ‘job description’ – and how long before our political class change that part of their job description? When one adds into that equation the fact that some of those we elect to represent us are only interested in self advancement within their chosen  ‘career of politics’; one can but ask: do we not get that for which we vote whereby we are not ‘represented’ and never will be as those ‘ladder climbers’ will always support the political view of the leader of their party – come what may – until they spot an opening to supplant him or her? Is that how ‘democracy’ is supposed to work?

On the point about ‘democracy’, we must remember the derivation of that word: ‘demos’ – people; ‘kratos’ – power; meaning that if we are to have true democracy, until the people have ultimate power, we cannot have true democracy.

Now, it is all to readily admitted that to make the people think for themselves is a ‘tall order’ when for decades they have been led to believe they have no need to so do because the state will do their thinking for them.

Without ‘counting chickens before they have hatched’ it is hoped that sufficient funding (although the details have yet to be finalised), allowing  the blowing of that idea ‘wide open’, will become available by the end of September.

As they say, stay  tuned……………………

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fish ( variety of) and other related matters – like sharks

Sturgeon is the common name for the 27 species of fish belonging to the family Acipenseridae and their evolution, so we are told, dates back to the Triassic, some 245 to 208 million years ago. Sturgeons are long-lived (where Nicola’s species is concerned: heaven forbid) and late-maturing (which is all too evident with her immature ideas).

Nicola Sturgeon, following the Brexit vote ‘beetled off’ (if a fish can imitate a beetle) to Brussels to attempt to cement, somehow, her wish to keep Scotland in the European Union, while asserting that a further referendum in Scotland would be held to enable Scotland’s cessation from the United Kingdom, a decision  based entirely on the votes cast in the referendum of 23rd June 2016.

She seems to forget a few constitutional matters:

  • Scotland, in my belief, is not a state per se in international law, so it is incapable of signing and ratifying international treaties. Neither does it have power over international relations, which are reserved to Westminster under the Scotland Act 1998;
  • It must therefore follow that Scotland could not become an EU Member State in its own right, or even sign an Association Agreement with the EU;
  • If Scotland did vote for cessation from the United Kingdom, Nicola Sturgeon’s wish is that it should inherit the position of the United Kingdom and thus retain a position of a full member state, while at the same time denying that if that strategy failed, Scotland would have to undergo the process of any state wishing to join the European Union;
  • There is, to my belief, no precedent for a devolved part of an EU Member State becoming independent and determining its membership of the EU as a separate entity – especially in the context whereby the ‘parent’ state has voted to leave the European Union;
  • .Under The Scotland Act 2016, if my reading of that Act is also correct, Scotland has no law-making powers in relation to referendums, therefore the consent of the United Kingdom would be required for another referendum.

It would appear that Scottish MSPs are not the only politicians to not understand ‘matters EU’ let alone ‘matters at home’.

This then begs the question just how was a fish so out of water: (a) holding the position of First Minister for Scotland; and; (b) what was she doing – and trying to accomplish  – in Brussels?

Turning to ‘other related matters’, events within the Conservative Party currently mirror fishes out of water, plus a shark feeding-frenzy with the last still standing (or swimming) being the victor, however mortally wounded he/she may be – but will that produce anyone who understands ‘matters at home’ or ‘matters EU’? In respect of sharks we need to remember that they are accepted as the apex of their food chain; and in that respect they are not that much different to our political class, are they – especially when we witness the shenanigans currently taking place within the two main political parties? That is democracy in action?

Being that whoever is proclaimed ‘the winner’, wherein is the voice of the electorate in that decision? As such, where is ‘democracy’ involved  in that outcome – do not all involved in the battle for the ‘top job’ talk about democracy and how important it is, yet seem to not understand the meaning of the word? If the decision to cease membership of the European Union was one for the people then surely the outcome of that decision must also be one for the people – for does not the United Kingdom belong to the people as a whole, rather than just  650 of them?

I notice that some blogs appear to be anointing Theresa May,presumably because she has said that Brexit is Brexit.  Let us not forget she is a Europhile at heart  and voted to remain in the European Union; and was noticeable by her absence from those campaigning during the referendum period – Not one of the five contenders for the position of Prime Minister has what I would term a ‘statesmanesque’ appearance, although I might change my mind if one of them starts talking about EFTA and EEA.

As  final word on the leadership of both Conservative and Labour parties, since politics in this country has fallen into the nadir it has, is it any wonder the choice has to be made from a pool of mediocrity?