Monthly Archives: December 2016

Pot/Kettle?

We today have news that our government is to trial various forms of identity at polling stations with a view to reducing electoral fraud, coupled with a press release from the Cabinet Office.

A a result of Sir Eric Pickles’ report Securing the Ballot published in August this year, the government will seek to introduce a number of his recommendations to tighten controls around the conduct of polls to eliminate electoral fraud. As well as piloting the use of ID in polling stations across England, the government will seek to:

  • prevent the intimidation and undue influence of voters at the hands of activists and supporters
  • end the dubious practice of postal vote harvesting, and
  • consider measures for nationality checking that will prevent fraudulent voter registrations

We are informed that the government will consider how to bring a number of these measures into practice including introducing new guidance for Electoral Registration Officers who conduct the polls. The aim is that pilots for ID in polling stations will be conducted at the local government elections in May 2018. Electors will be required to bring ID to prove who they are before they can vote, preventing anyone fraudulently taking another person’s ballot paper. Local authorities will be invited to apply to trial different types of identification, including forms of photo ID such as driving licenses and passports, or formal correspondence such as a utilities bill to prove their address backed by a signature check. Voters will be asked to produce ID before they can be given their ballot paper. If successful, the measure could be introduced for general elections and other polls. The key recommendations from Sir Eric Pickles’ report that the government will consider how to take forward can be seen in the aforementioned government press release

Chris Skidmore, Parliamentary Secretary at the Cabinet Office, is on record stating: The government’s view is that electoral fraud is unacceptable on any level. I want to protect the right of everyone to have their say and participate in our democracy. That is why the new measures we are announcing today will protect anyone who is at risk of being bullied, undermined or tricked out of their vote – and their democratic right. By eliminating fraud and tackling improper practices, we are ensuring the integrity of our electoral system while building a clear and secure democracy that works for everyone.

Regular readers will be aware that I frequently write – and in so doing, complain – that representative democracy is anything but democracy per se as ‘the dice is loaded’ against the electorate. Consequently I am continually amazed at how our politicians feel able to ‘preach’ to we, the electorate, then do exactly that at which they preach against – which leads to the title of this article.

From just the second paragraph of the Foreward to his report Pickles writes: My work in the Department for Communities and Local Government during the previous Parliament highlighted some shocking issues and revelations: our well-respected democracy is at threat from unscrupulous people intent on subverting the will of the electorate to put their own
candidates into power, and in turn, manipulate local authority policy and funding to their own self-centred ends. Towards the end of this Foreward Pickles also writes: Electoral fraud and corruption is intertwined with other forms of crime as well. Local authorities
have a large procurement role. A group of people who cheat their way to power are unlikely to hold a higher moral standard when handing out public contracts, or when making quasi-judicial decision on planning and licensing.

Er, do not political parties subvert the will of the electorate by putting their own candidates into power; and do they not, when in power, manipulate local authority policy and funding for their own self-centred (and idealogical) ends?  By such reasoning, is not Pickles agreeing that political parties and politicians are thus unscrupulous? Do not political parties and their politicians cheat their way to power with manifestos, the contents of which they have no intention of fulfilling – think recall of MPs as promised by the Coalition Government in their ‘post-election’ manifesto of 2010?

Returning to that which Skidmore said, just how do these measures ensure that those of us with a factual view of Brexit get heard – and thus have their say? Just how do these measures ensure that FlexCit is acknowledged; as I have yet, to my knowledge, hear one of them mention it? Are not we, the electorate, bullied into accepting falsehoods told us in manifestos or during election/referendum campaigns; especially when our voice is in effect ‘blocked’ from being heard?

In total Pickles made 50 ‘recommendations’ – and in most of them questions arise. To take just one – #7: Completed postal ballot packs should only be handed in at a polling station by the voter or a family member / designated carer acting on their behalf – a limit of two should be applied for any one person handing in completed ballots and require an explanation as to why they are being handed in and signature provided. Is it not well known that there exists in the UK immigrant communities in which tribalism/mosogynism is a way of life? What proof could be provided that would negate any suspicion of coercion? So it must be extremely easy for any such person to circumnavigate their way round that requirement.

There must be those on the electoral register who possess neither passport nor driving licence; and do not have a utility bill in their name. On that latter point I do not have a utility bill in my name and recently, on a property transaction, had to provide a second bank statement in lieu. How many are there on the electoral register without a passport, driving licence or utility bill – but has two bank accounts?

Yet another point that has to be taken into consideration where Pickles’ report is concerned; how much more bureaucracy will be involved and what will be the cost? We all know who will be paying that cost; however one question: when did we agree to so do? It is here that I must use a statement, one reputed to have been said by Thomas Sowell: I have never understood why it is greed to want to keep money you have earned, but it is never greed to take somebody else’s money. But then as ‘governments’ have no money of their own, how else do they acquire it? Is it not time we insisted that: No tax, levy, expenditure of public money nor borrowing be permitted without the express consent of the people by majority vote  (see here).

In ‘days of old’, when communication took days, weeks – even months – to arrive, it is understandable that representative democracy was an acceptable, nay practical, form of government. However, in today’s world of instant communication which allows a greater extent for the people to become involved in how their country is governed, is it not time for change?

People: wake up, do! Your minds are being controlled, you are being robbed blind, you are being led up the proverbial garden path by those who complain about unscrupulous, mind-controlling individuals – and, more importantly, you elect them!

Letters to the Editor – for what good it does……..

The following has been submitted to the letters column of the Daily Telegraph, the Daily Mail and the Guardian – not that I have any hope any of them will publish it……..

Dear Sir,

When the House of Commons Library produces a Briefing Paper (Number 07840 -19 December 2016) which purports to define, among other terms, the meaning of the EU’s Customs Union; and in the process gets it so spectacularly wrong, is it any wonder that we of the people that do have an understanding of what is needed to accomplish a successful Brexit, remain fearful of what our politicians might so do, in our name, during their endeavours – especially when it is based on such incorrect information? Where we have the unknowledgeable (House of Commons Library) leading the unknowledgeable (the politicians); is this not a perfect example of the blind leading the blind?

When the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, during his appearance before the Brexit Select Committee, confuses the terms “mutual recognition” and “regulatory convergence“; and it is not recognised and thus queried by said committee; should we not be even more concerned?

 

Just who are these people who insist on a voice in the Brexit negotiations, yet who exhibit a total lack of knowledge about the most basic of facts; but who believe only they have the knowledge to conduct what will be the most complex negotiation ever undertaken on behalf of the people of this nation?

 

That the information required to accomplish a logical Brexit is available on the internet, one devoid of risk to our nation, is unknown to those who profess to know and who refuse to acknowledge same can only beggar belief.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

David Phipps

(Address and Telephone Numbers supplied)

Social Care – who is to blame?

Like all journalists Hinscliff can be a tad ‘Gaby’, especially about things the history of which she may be a tad too young to know. Writing in the Guardian she has an article headlined: Do-it-yourself social care only works for the very rich.

We all must be aware that the original idea of the creator of the health service in this country, Aneurin Bevan, had the vision of a health service which cared for you ‘from cradle to grave’. Initially it was believed by him  that demand would decline as illnesses were cured. Unfortunately the opposite happened with an ageing population and expensive new technology and drugs creating new financial pressures (something which has continued to the present day); coupled with the perception that the service was ‘free’ no doubt exacerbated demand still further.

Politicians have known for decades that there is an ageing population and have done what, exactly, to tackle the problem than raise taxation in one form or another, in their attempts to ‘cure’ the problem of cost?

Ms. HIncliff maintains that do-it-yourself social care only works for the rich. Let me tell this know-all journalist that her statement is not true. In the 1950s my grandmother approached the end of her life and her elder daughter and her husband made the decision that they would care for her in her last days. With the small equity my grandparents had in their house, my Aunt and her husband (not by any means ‘rich’ – he ran the apprentice school for a firm of shipwrights in King George V Docks and she was a stay-at-home housewife – bought a larger property  – the small equity covering the difference twixt the sale of their house and the price of the new – and the ensuring care that my grandmother required, they funded  aided by my Aunt’s two sisters; one of whom was my mother  (together with my father) ‘chipping in’.

Unfortunately it is now a fact that we still believe in an NHS that cares for us from ‘cradle to grave’ – and whose fault is this but that of politicians who still believe in an outmoded idea? That outmoded idea was not helped by our politicians ceding their responsibilities to a supranational body and then, subsequently, opening our nation’s borders to ‘all and sundry’ (without our agreement and it is alleged for political gain), which in turn brought an even an greater burden on an already over-stretched ‘service’ – not forgetting the increased burden on the services of housing and schooling.

 I would suggest the current problem with social care can be laid squarely at the door of our politicians. Is it not a fact they have have shut their eyes to an obvious growing problem; is it not a fact they have maintained the image that the state will take care of us, regardless of cost to themselves, thus maintaining that the NHS is a ‘sacred cow’; is it not a fact that not one of them has dared to question Bevan’s original idea because they believe it might cost them votes (and thus the continuation of their ‘career’)?

Is it not a fact that we are governed by spineless, unthinking, self-centred politicians, aided and abetted by journalists of similar intellectual inability, who can generate hundreds, if not hundreds of  thousands, of words to cover up their own personal deficiencies?  Is it not a fact that, due to the foregoing, the people have forgotten their personal – nay family – responsibilities? Is it not a fact that we have been misled by those who are supposed to care for us due to personal career aspirations – both in the political and media worlds? Is it not a fact that the people of our nation appear unable to see beyond the ends of their noses? The reasons for which can only be laid at the door of the door of the system of democratised dictatorship that passes as representative democracy.

Since moving to the North East it has become apparent that there is a strong belief in ‘family’ and ‘family responsibilities’;  so perhaps, from a region that justifiably feels it has been ignored, lessons could be learned?

So Tired

In the late 1940s a band leader named Russ Morgan had a ‘hit’ with a tune called ‘So Tired‘.

Paraphrasing the lyrics, where the state of this country is concerned I am so tired of:

  • Politicians who obviously have no knowledge of that about which they speak;
  • Media that routinely repeats the utterances of the ‘great and not-so-good’ whose words are assumed to be akin to the content of the tablets Moses brought down from a trip up a mountain;
  • Commentators and think-tanks whose words, again, are accepted at face value without ‘due diligence’, by which I mean investigated for truth when they are published by the media;
  • ‘Tittle-Tattle’ reported by the media as if it were newsworthy and thus ‘important’  (think trousers that ‘may’ have cost a grand);
  • The lack of democracy in this country whereby the people are allowed to voice an opinion – and then only periodically; by which time they have an onset of memory loss about what the fuss was just a year or two earlier;
  • That we are now to believe that the skids squids have been put under our traditional dish of fish and chips due to the effects of climate change;
  • The resultant effect of the people having been ‘brainwashed’ by a form of propaganda of which Goebbels would have been proud, together with a total ruination of our education system, because of political ideology, resulting in the people becoming ‘brain-dead’;
  • Journalists realising, too late (see closing sentence) that they are responsible for the growth of ‘talking-heads’ – of which journalists and ‘commentators’  are many.

I have to ask if this is how a country, that maintains it has a system of democracy that is the envy of the world, should be run?

Being of a similar age when some people have ‘met  their maker’ – although I shall do my utmost to last a tad longer so that I may really make a nuisance of myself – my first question will be: just what the hell have you been playing at.

On the other hand it may well be that said meeting turns out to be with the Devil  in which case ‘the penny will have dropped’ – albeit too late!

The ‘Cash’ appears to be no longer in the till……..

Or, to put it another way, has one member of the asylum escaped?

From Hansard, during a debate in the HoC about the Government’s plans for Brexit, at just prior to 2:59pm the ‘doyen’ of Maastricht; and Chairman of the European Scrutiny Committee (William Cash), said:

Let me say this, very simply. We should not be supplicants in these negotiations. We should say no to the single market, no to the customs union, and no to the European Court, because we cannot be subject to that European Court in any circumstances. We should say yes to borders, yes to free trade, and yes to regaining the democracy for which this House has stood for hundreds of years.

What??!!

If we are to say ‘no’ to the Single Market, ‘no’ to the Customs Union; whilst refusing to be subject to the rulings of the European Court under any circumstances, just how is the United Kingdom expected to trade with the European Union post Brexit? Is he proposing that we rely on only WTO ‘rules’? Cash also maintains we should say yes to regaining the democracy for which the HoC has stood for hundreds of years. But if the system of democracy for which the HoC has stood for hundreds of years has now been shown to be not fit for purpose as it delivers not democracy per se, but a form of democratised dictatorship, just why should we who fund it allow it to continue?

When a politician of supposed ’eminence’ – and who is reputedly held in such high regard by his fellow politicians – can utter those words, has not the time come to question the means by which such people attain the position they hold within the HoC?

Currently, Chairs of Select Committees are ‘elected/chosen’ by members of the HoC; however if, under direct democracy, prospective candidates for parliament are to be selected by their constituents as those most able to ‘represent their views’ regardless of the party affiliation of their would-be constituents, then should not Chairs of Select Committees?

While Members of Parliament, under representative democracy, are supposed to represent the views of their constituents, members of Select Committees like judges, one assumes, are supposed to be ‘apolitical’ in that they are there to question the actions of the government of the day; and on our behalf, like their ‘minor colleagues, hold said government of the day to account.

It would seem that whilst our currency has been diminished by the actions and decisions of those we elect to safeguard same, we now have the unedifying situation whereby one of those we have elected and who has been elevated to a position of prominence with out our agreement, has just devalued himself – mind you, in so doing, does he not join an elite club of 650?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A waste of time and our money

With the prior proceedings in the High Court; and currently in the Supreme Court on whether the Government has the right to exercise a prerogative that it appears only they believe they possess to invoke Article 50 and commence the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union; a thought struck.

Had we a written constitution, instead of the hodge-podge of various documents that form our present unwritten constitution, perhaps the charade currently taking place would have been avoided; and at the same time saved we taxpayers a shed-load of money.

The irony of this matter is that a group of people who are supposed to be apolitical, but in some cases appear not s to be, are deciding whether another group of people should have a voice on matters Brexit; the latter group having demonstrated that they lack any knowledge on the subject whatsoever.

Just saying…………..

 

Richmond Park

Courtesy of Politics Home one has to ask just what do those in this picture feel they have to celebrate?

Olney is quoted as stating: The people of Richmond Park and North Kingston have sent a shockwave through this Conservative Brexit government, and our message is clear: we do not want a hard Brexit. We do not want to be pulled out of the single market, and we will not let intolerance, division and fear win.

Who, when considering government ministers, has said we will have a hard Brexit, or that we will be leaving the Single Market? Just who is spreading fear – and division – if not Olney with that statement? Where is the evidence for the charges she makes?

How can democracy per se exist when those involved in any election, be that national, local –  or even a referendum – can be  allowed to make statements without foundation and where avenues for media rebuttal are denied to the public? Having said that, be it general or local elections, truth is rarely a politician’s objective. Election and power are;  so: hello Olney and just about every other MP!

Why, in a democracy, are political parties allowed, by right, to propose ‘cannon fodder’ as prospective MPs, yet once they have been elected and the ‘cannons fire’, they have no defense? If we live in a democracy then should not we do the choosing; should we not be able to fire the ‘SOBs’ if they do not do as we wish? Olney is not, unfortuntely, the ‘olney’ MP with whom we have now been saddled and who appears to know nowt about which she should – join the club of 650, Sarah! We are not just saddled with MPs who, on the face of it, appear comedic; we now have political parties behaving in a similar manner with the election of one ‘Nutt All’ as leader of the ‘All Nuts’.

It is a very well for others to criticize attempts to introduce direct democracy, offering the reason that the people are too busy with problems in  their own lives, but eventually the realization will hit home that with direct democracy they would have more control over the decisions that affect their lives thus allowing them more time to devote to other interests; because the problems that take up so much of their time are caused by decisions politicians make and over which they have no control whatsoever.

The result in Richmond Park begs the question: if ‘olney’ the people could open their eyes and see just how they are being manipulated, how they allow non-entities to be allowed to rule them, how they are being herded like cattle to their own slaughter – the present situation of faux-democracy would soon end.

If olney………………………………….?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ken Clarke seeks solace in Angela Merkel

Ken Clarke opines the fact that Angela Merkel is western democracy’s last hope, adding that he is: angry and depressed at the appalling state politics in the UK has descended into.

This article continues by stating that he has: a deep unease about the rise of populist, far-right forces that are ramping through western liberal democracies from the US to France. Clarke is reported to have said: It’s resistance to change, resistance to the modern world and a desire for simple solutions to very complicated political problems,” he says. “The manner in which the political debate is publicised has changed, the mass media is hysterical and competitive and social media is taking over with short soundbites. It has thrown politics into complete confusion.

Citing coverage of the New Statesman’s recent interview with Tony Blair as an example of media hysteria, he is positive about Blair’s intervention: My understanding [of the interview] was that Tony only wants to play a part in trying to reform centre-left politics, and that’s a good thing .

Those statements by Clarke beggar belief.

  • just who is it that should be held responsible for the appalling state into which politics in the UK has descended, if not the political class when it is they that have controlled politics through their iron control of information, coupled with their lack of knowledge of matters in which they should be knowledgeable?
  • just why have, what he terms, populist far-right forces rampaged through western liberal democracies?
  • just why does he think that they are resistant to change, resistant to the modern world and have a desire for simple solutions to very complicated political problems;
  • just why does he believe that the manner in which the political debate is publicised has changed, resulting in the mass media being hysterical and competitive and social media having taken over with short soundbites; and throwing politics into complete confusion?
  • On the basis that all Blair is attempting is to derail Brexit, something in tune with Clarke’s wishes, where Clarke’s comments about Blair’s motives are concerned, all that amounts to is one Europhile supporting another. Come to that, is not Clarke centre-left – so what the hell is he doing in in the Conservative Party? Perhaps, yet again, I digress?

Might just it be that they have created their own problem through their control of information, coupled with the fact they are, in truth unknowledgeable on world matters? Might it just be that the people Clarke terms ‘populist far-right’ are fed up with western liberalism, seeing ‘foreigners’  receiving better ‘treatment’ than themselves, the indigenous people of their land? For what reason should such people be termed populist far-right when all they want is for their own kind to be cared for before others? Might it just be that if change is to come, that they wish for said change to be on their terms – after all, just whose country is it? It is all very well for Clarke to complain about people wanting simple solutions to very complicated problems – but who is it who has failed to educate the electorate because they know not themselves? Yes, the manner in which  political debate is publicised has changed, so the political class who have failed to realise this now consider themselves blameless? Just why should the media be blamed for becoming hysterical when  Clarke and his ilk have stoked hysteria – and the media – by their benign utterances and articles? Do not politicians resort to soundbites? Have not politicians thrown politics into confusion by their total lack of knowledge where matters of state are concerned?

It is perhaps unfair to single out Kenneth Clarke as he is not alone in his ability to not fairly address the problems our nation faces – due  to being unaware of the detail involved and thus attempting to ‘flannel’ because of that; or, having a hidden agenda of his own.

I can but return to the comment of Tscheuhcter: You know he didn’t get up there by himself, he doesn’t belong up there, he doesn’t know what to do while he’s up there, he’s elevated beyond his ability to function, and you just wonder what kind of dumb arse put him up there to begin with.

Just when has any MP told us the truth; just when has any MP who pontificates about democracy actually addressed – and discussed with us – the actual meaning/origin of the word ‘democracy’? Not one has, as to so do would undermine their power over us, a power they retain through, probably, the most undemocratic form of democracy ever invented. It is unfair to blame the ‘dumb arses’ who placed Clarke and his ilk where they are, because they know no better; as they have been lied to – and thus  led up the garden path – during the course of decades, by a collection of charlatans.

On his blog, Richard North takes to task Peter Lilley for being ‘stupid’; and illustrates his article with a picture of Lilley speaking in the HoC while MPs in the background are seen to be laughing. If only the reason for their hilarity was they recognized Lilley’s stupidity of what he was saying. Then we might be witnessing that we had serious politicians and not mindless voting fodder. Due to time constraints it has not been possible to read the Hansard account of Lilley’s speech, however I fear that what was amusing his colleagues was some quip – which means we then saw a ‘standing joke’ making another.

While this ineptitude by our political class continues it will not be long before a decision they make – and this observation is not related just to matters Brexit – will cause such outrage among the public that the result will make the ‘Duggan’ riots of 2011 seem like a gentle walk in the park. It would, perhaps, be quite fitting if we, the people, who have allowed our seat of democracy – aka, the Augean Stables ( a condition or place marked by great accumulation of filth or corruption) – to be created, were to clean it up.

On the other hand, rather than create ‘societal unrest’, perhaps before then the light may dawn about the benefits of direct democracy – and yes, I am known to indulge in wishful thinking……….