A Rhetorical Question

Paul Williams (The Boiling Frog) states on twitter (@PWilliamsTBF): Aside from Brexit, the referendum has really exposed MPs lack of knowledge on how our country is governed.

What follows is not a criticism of the aforementioned comment, being one that is perfectly justified – but it does beg the question of why this situation is allowed to persist.

It remains a matter of amazement/amusement/bewilderment to this blog that our media can remain ‘entranced’ with matters of ‘inconsequence’; said term being defined as characterized by lack of proper sequence in thought, speech, or action.

It would appear that the ‘important’ matters ‘du jour’, where our media are concerned, is (a) the battle twixt Corbyn and Smith for control of the Labour Party; (b) the ‘exorbitant’ rise in rail fare increases (have they never heard of the EU requirement of ‘user pays?); and (c) how the Tories are relishing the debacle currently encompassing the Labour Party.

It is extremely easy to deal with the trivia of news – and when did our media not so do (Booker excepted) – rather than deal objectively with  the ‘hard’ news: Brexit; governance of the UK; parliament and democracy per se.

That those we elect to represent us know not on any matter, regardless of subject – and that includes ‘matters EU’ – has been exemplified many times (examples are legion), not only by this blog, but also others. One only has to listen to  the Secretaries of State for Brexit or Trade to realize that we ‘May’ have had appointed idiots to act and represent us.

It is, perhaps, unfair to select individual Members of Parliament for condemnation where lack of knowledge is concerned because those that rise to the top are surfacing from a pool of such low ability and knowledge that any hope of leadership, encompassing vision, is doomed before it begins.

But then who is to blame for this sad state of affairs wherein the unknowing are being led by the unknowing, possibly to the doom of the former? At this point I am reminded of two quotes:

It is not the function of our Government to keep the citizen from falling into error; it is the function of the citizen to keep the government from falling into error.
Robert H. Jackson (1892-1954), U.S. Supreme Court Justice, American Communications Assn v. Douds, 1950

Society in every state is a blessing, but government even in its best state is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one; for when we suffer, or are exposed to the same miseries by a government, which we might expect in a country without government, our calamities are heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer.
Thomas Paine

That there is, to paraphrase Hamlet, something rotten in the State of the UK, is a given to those of us who take an interest in matters political.

We may accuse politicians and our media of leading we the people astray through their adherence and belief in representative democracy – aka democratized dictatorship – but even more culpable are those who, presented with the means to change and improve our lives, have then sat on said means and done nowt. I refer of course to The Harrogate Agenda.

Once more at this point, I am again reminded of a quote, reputedly by Nelson Mandela: Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.

So, a final question: who is most to blame for the plight in which the people find themselves wherein personal freedom is concerned, coupled with the future of their country? Those who I suspect do know – albeit by their adherence to democratized dictatorship through which they retain their power and control – and will not recognize a more democratic alternative of government; or  those who knowing that a better system of government exists, one that does put the people ‘in charge, then make no effort to educate them of that better system

You, dear reader, decide.

14 thoughts on “A Rhetorical Question

  1. A couple of comments that I would make.

    First, is that I don’t believe that our politicians are stupid or ignorant of our democracy and its deficiencies; I actually believe that they are well aware, but are totally lacking in moral or democratic principle.
    Our politics is now agenda-driven and not reacting to, or working to put right, the problems of this country’s people; it is, after all, what they are there for – to represent the people who voted for them.

    My second point is that, there is a distinct move to decentralise power from Westminster, and into a more ‘regional’ form.
    There are going to be huge pitfalls here, and we know that institutions that are set up locally are rarely established to represent ‘the people’ (most of us are aware of the EU’s interference in our cities using regional policies, influenced by the Committee of the Regions in Brussels, and are aware of how this relationship polluted and corrupted our local democracy)

    If the people at city and regional level are not to have unelected NGOs running their affairs (as they are now) they need an intellectual argument to bolster their fight for democracy – and that seems to be something along the lines of the Harrogate Agenda.

    Now that the referendum for our national democracy is over (although there is still a need to fight a sustained battle to achieve a favourable outcome) I would suggest that a little more emphasis could be placed on the HA regarding the local level of government.

    I think that a lot of people out here would agree with your sentiments – but acting, that’s the thing, and party politics seem have the whip hand (literally)
    It is almost impossible for Independent candidates to achieve power.

    1. wg,

      A fair summary of that which I wrote……

      Unfortunately there are those ‘in charge’ of THA who appear to have lost the ability to reason/think.

      Take heart, if all ‘comes to pass’ there will be changes to THA or, if necessary, an alternative THA.

    2. Wonderful statement of our sad reallity. Especially with the devolution to local authorities, with few exceptions a disaster and I am living in the middle of one such. Three years ago the “councill” announced a plan to refurbish the Primary School across the road from my house. It was to replace the roof tiles and just rearrange the internal layout, £991000, they said. They are still working on it and they say they cannot give us the cost until it is finished at the end of September. The last figure I saw some months ago was £3.9m and rising. The last thing we need is runaway local authorities, ouirs could not plan the base for a whelk stall.

  2. David, In this posting you explain very clearly why our politicians need advisors – see your earlier post!

  3. While I’m only too well aware of your criticisms of the direction, jointly agreed, to take the fledgling Harrogate Agenda there has been NOTHING stopping you promoting our demands in whatever way you think best. That you have made so little impression, apart form your very small following on here, simply endorses for me that promotion of our cause has no quick fix. While you are a competent wordsmith and advocate of Direct Democracy your near constant criticism of our progress to me shows up your big weakness which is a totally failure to comprehend the enormity of the challenge and the lack of any understanding how best to proceed in a practical and realistic way.

    1. Niall,

      Here we go again………

      In response to your comment I can but only ask you to think about my reasons for so doing.

      As ‘a starter for ten’ I ask you to think about the one deficit of Flexcit encapsulating the avoidance of the media and commentators in taking it on board.

      I will have more to say, come October 1st – until then, have a think?

  4. Unless I’m missing something I totally understand your reasons for the above post and I don’t need to be prompted to think about these things as I’m constantly thinking about the best ways to promote The Harrogate Agenda.

    Yes I totally agree that the ‘people’ need to be educated about the alternatives to our current corrupted system of governance BUT the challenge is what is the best way and more importantly how to get the silent majority to become receptive to our ideas. I have ideas on how to promote our demands but am at a loss how to turn on the public ‘on mass’ to respond before they themselves are ready and that I believe sadly takes time and a worsening political climate in which ‘Joe public’ really feels the results of our politicians incompetence. That time may well be around the corner but currently when all is said and done the public at large, except in isolate pockets around the country, feel fairly content with their lot.

    1. Niall,

      Sorry but you are not thinking, consequently you are ‘missing something’.

      Having asked me, in an email to ‘give it a rest’, which I will do, you cannot expect me to continue this conversation.

      You’ve had more than enough ‘clues’, so I can but repeat: ‘think’.

      1. Clues you say ………you seem to delight in playing games!

        I actually think I have a very good idea of what is needed to promote THA but what’s missing is a totally committed work force prepared to put in the time and effort.

        Anyway in case I really don’t have a clue I trust that on the 1st October you will at last enlighten those assembled of your ideas and most importantly HOW you propose to implement them. I also hope you will accept others views as to the worth of your plans. Having a plan is one thing but having the means to implement it is another.

    2. I think we have been badly served by our political class for years. And I appreciate that it is difficult to get the mass of People to get together, but could we not take a leaf out of the “Tax Payers Association”, I think that is the title. They have concentrated on uncovering the waste that exist everywhere, and making that the basis of their campaigns. It means talking about the one thing that unites most people. Then build the rest up once it gets going.
      Just a thought, I am sick and tired of the sheer incompetence in both National and Local governance and the cost is the main indicater.

    3. “There is a tide in the affairs of men which taken at the flood lead on to greater things”

      That tide is flowing now, the public at large do not feel fairly contented with their lot. Instinctively in the majority of cases they know that something is rotten in the state of Denmark. Many of the others who read more and are more questioning would agree that the system is broken and needs changing, they would like a viable alternative at election time.
      IMHO now would be a very good time to get something like THA going big time but for that to happen it needs leadership and an action plan, all of which is conspicuous by its absence.

      I have outlined previously in general terms of what needs to be done with the company that is THA but nothing seems to have been done in terms of creating a proper board and attracting paying shareholders.

      There was Harrogate, there were several attendees who were enthusiastic some I understand even prepared to put their hands in their pockets where are they now? why were they not part of the board of the THA? are they part of the board of THA? who knows? there is a website with nothing but the six demands and that is not good enough.
      I would have thought Niall that at the very least the creation of a good website split between news and forums could / should have been achievable.

      The six demands are not going to happen until there are sufficient people in Parliament to make it happen and to achieve that means setting up a political party to put candidates forward for election. This course of action may not meet with the approval of some but currently in this country to achieve power those are the rules that have to be played to.

      I would suggest that maybe what should happen is to convene another Harrogate type event to re-launch THA with much more attention being paid to structure and immediate objectives, this would obviously include who does what and how it is to be paid for.

  5. Tony, patience until after October 1st?

    Some of that which you suggest I have already put forward (without any accreditation so far I hasten to add, but I digress).

    One way or another, something will happen – promise!

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