Tag Archives: Democracy

An early election? God forbid!

Rafael Behr, writing in the Guardian, reckons ‘Saint Theresa’ should do just that; adding that it is too early to write off a body that still has three years of its term to run.Behr also writes that: the Tory right has become less fastidious about parliament’s role as a check on the executive.

Never mind three years of a term still to run; we should be clamouring to write off a body that has, for decades, not been up to the job for which they were elected; especially since 1972.

Since when has parliament been a check on the executive; bearing in mind the executive is chosen from parliament – ie, the legislature. How can the legislature be an effective check on the executive when those in the legislature are doing all they can to become members of the executive – and thus further their careers at the expense of the people ?

When will the  people of Tatton realise that the new ‘Standard’ bearer of extra-parliamentary income gives not a fig for his constituents? Bearing in mind the preceding paragraph,when will the electorate of this nation realise that he of Tatton is no different from his colleagues?

I tend to think of politicians as ‘usurers’ – not because they lend money to others at an exorbitant rate of interest (which is what they do through taxation) but because ‘usurers’ were, by nature, ruthless, greedy and dishonest.

Behr may well believe that MPs ‘look lost’ – where Brexit is concerned, they most definitely are. So what is the point in selecting from a brain-dead pool members that ‘look lost’  to form a select committee to ‘over-see’ the government’s action?

Where Brexit is concerned, one does not need a university degree to realise that we, the unknowing. are being led by the unknown. Or, to put it in more simpler terms, because of the defects encapsulated in representative democracy, we have elected 650 ‘Judas Goats’, who through their ignorance, are leading our nation to its slaughter.

Is it not time that those about to be led to their slaughter perked up and asked themselves: hang on, why me?

 

Missing the boat?

With the news that it appears Theresa May will be triggering Article 50 on 29th March – a ‘major’ birthday and ‘wedding anniversary’, so  it seems May has a warped sense of humour perhaps? – an action of which it would appear she and her government are nowhere near ready as they have no idea of what is involved, nor have any idea of how they can achieve their stated objectives – the media seems more interested in the following:

In the preceding article I questioned whether the media was crucial to transparency in this country, commenting on twitter that it was most obviously not on past and present performance.

Our country is about to take one of the most momentous decisions it has ever faced; and all our media can do, it seems by comparison, is concentrate on trivia. Trivia it is because not one other political party has any idea of an alternative, workable, strategy.

For the last 40+ years both our politicians and our media have ignored the subject of our membership of the European Union; yet now both consider themselves ‘experts’ on the subject.

We are regaled by a Prime Minister who assures us she ‘may’ know all, but most obviously does not; a leader of the LibDems, Tim Farron (who is so ‘Farroff’ the subject that one has to wonder whether he is ‘of this planet’; and Jeremy Corbyn: no, don’t let us waste words on a politician who is so obviously ‘off this planet’ to the extent his party may have a ‘Watson’ but are obviously lacking a ‘Sherlock’.

That which is happening where Brexit is concerned is a Faustian Pact twixt an unknowing electorate and the Devil (in the form of a government). We, the electorate, may have tried to outwit the Devil, but we forgot to limit the powers of the Devil about that which was our decision – mainly because we were too damn ignorant.

As we sow, so shall we reap………..

How crucial is the media?

An article in Swissinfo is headed: Media ‘crucial’ in creating transparency; from which one statement is worth repeating:

The motives for working as a journalist have remained the same: to inform, research, ask critical questions and create transparency. And to entertain people – Iwan Rickenbacher, communications expert and former party manager.

Unfortunately, in the United Kingdom, journalists (with the exception of Christopher Booker) do not inform, they obviously do not know the meaning of research, they would not know a critical question if it was written out for them to ask; and thus they do not and cannot create transparency.

HL Mencken is reputed to have said: American journalism (like the journalism of any other country) is predominantly paltry and worthless. Its pretensions are enormous, but its achievements are insignificant – while Oscar Wilde reputedly said: By giving us the opinions of the uneducated, journalism keeps us in touch with the ignorance of the that community (my edit).

The quotes aforementioned become even more pertinent when we learn that anyone can become a journalist, even though experience in that profession amounts to failing to gain a place on The Times trainee scheme and being interviewed and subsequently rejected by The Economist (source) – but then neither, it appears, does the absence of any qualification in economics stop anyone from attaining the position of Chancellor of the Exchequer. It also helps if, starting a new career, one does not carry the baggage of conflict of interests. In any event the position of editor is not that demanding; all they do is separate the wheat from the chaff – and then print the chaff.

Journalism today can best be summed up as the art of knowing very little about an extremely wide variety of topics – for example, think Brexit. Not that any criticism should be limited to journalists – it is equally relevant when practicing the art of politics. An example of this has been the recent appearance of the Brexit Secretary of State before the Brexit Committee. Indeed as with journalists, the pretensions of politicians are enormous, their achievements insignificant.

When the media per se can decide for itself what it will and will not print/report, then that which results is censorship – no more, no less.

So, who can save the United Kingdom?

From this article comes the question above.

However prior to providing an answer to the above, let us pose another question to Tony Blair.  What is his answer to the the Pandora’s Box he opened with his half-arsed devolution programme in 1997?

Far to often we witness politicians making decisions for political gain, which have not been thought through; and which as a consequence, in time, then create yet further problems. By the time those further problems surface those who created said problem have since vacated politics and some other poor bastard has to clear up the resultant mess left behind.

Just who suffers in the resultant mess following decisions taken for party political gain – that’s right:, we the people. Where is MacMillan and Heath with regard to this country’s membership of the European Union? Where is Blair under whose watch this country’s doors were thrown open, ‘nether’ to be closed? Where is Blair, who conceded a reduction in our rebate from the European Union? Where is Major who railroaded Maastricht through? Where is Brown who railroaded Lisbon through?

Fortunately for the first two, they are dead and thus beyond public retribution; but  the last three – luckily for them, but unluckily for us, they are still alive – are also beyond similar retribution due to representative democracy; yet who are able to continue to fill their personal coffers, paid for, one way or another, from the public purse. In that regard why is ‘airtime’ still provided to, for example, the likes of Kinnock and Mandelson whilst no reference is given by the media of their subjugation to the European Union?

But enough of those no longer a part of the ‘ruling elite’, their spirit of vacuousness and stupidity lives on among the present day ‘ruling elite’; just consider those as thick as wood (be that ‘Red’, or otherwise) or another whose brain seems made of dough so thick that no living organism could exist within its ‘Baker-lite’ confines. We have an ex-GP who thinks that he can now conjure up free trade deals in less time than anyone can snap their fingers and an ex-employee of Tate & Lyle who seems to believe he can sweeten the most bitter of EU negotiators, while forewarning them he has no plan in place should they dismiss his ‘sugar-coated’ plan for a trade deal.

From my days at Witterings from Witney readers will know that I am quite fond of the saying of H Mencken – and on the subject of eduction he is reputed to have said that the aim of public education is not to spread enlightenment at all, it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry, to put down dissent and originality. He was talking here about the education of children, but is also only too relevant when attributed to any government assuming office.

At every general election each political party offers the electorate a ‘new deal’ with their vision of how they intend to save humanity from itself – think Salvation Army. Like the Salvation Army they have ended up running the equivalent of ‘flop-houses’ and done little to preserve or bring peace and harmony. As no government has money of its own does not every election promise, by wannabe governments, an advance auction of stolen goods?

Mencken also stated: The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out for himself, without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos; and in this regard we have such a man: he writes on eurferendum.com – to little avail, it would appear.

The fact that this man appears to be banging his head against a brick wall is that ranged against him we have brain dead politicians aided and abetted by a brain dead media – and who both have erected around the little world they inhabit the brick wall our ‘knight of truth’, and  those of like mind, cannot penetrate.

In a tweet last night, announcing this article, I wrote that I would pose a question to which I doubted anyone would have an answer. It seems to me that we, the people, are encircled and thus tethered by a Gordian Knot – one which grows tighter with each passing day.

So my question is, barring the appearance of a knight in shining armour, who with one sweep of his sword cuts through the Gordian Knot, just how can it be undone?

Answers, not on a postcard, but in the comments please…………

 

Af(fur)ming the minutae

When minutes of a meeting are taken they should: typically describe the events of the meeting and may include a list of attendees, a statement of the issues considered by the participants, and related responses or decisions for the issues (Wikipedia).

When someone, or some ‘body’ publishes minutes it can be held that they are asserting, or affirming, that said minutes are a true reporting of that which transpired.

In February a meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare (APGAW) was held which specifically concentrated on the ‘fur trade’; of which the minutes can be viewed here (click on meetings and events – downloads as pdf).

Within the minutes Peter Egan is quoted, yet he is not listed among the attendees; which begs the question how can said minutes be a true record of who attended and what was said; coupled with the point that it has been brought to my attention that the aforesaid minutes are not a true record of proceedings, nor are they a true record of ‘related responses’.

It is also noticeable that only an hour was allocated for a subject that required far longer in order that a subjective exchange of views could be heard

The foregoing begs the question: wherefore democracy? Where a ‘recognised’ committee’ is concerned, their proceedings are recorded by Hansard and there is a record of proceedings on Parliament tv. Where ‘unofficial’ All Party Parliamentary Groups – in effect ‘pressure groups’ are concerned; and thus are not ‘recognised’ –  then the public is reliant on any minutes they produce.

When such ‘minutes’ are published in the public domain – and which are ‘not correct’ – but which will no doubt be used and quoted by activists; then it can be held that such is of no more value than propaganda. By which, no matter on what subject you care to select, be that Brexit or whatever, so are the public then misinformed.

At this late stage it should be made plan that I have no views for, or agin, the fur trade, other than stating that providing ‘care’ of those animals that source fur is maintained (see this), where is the problem? The same argument can be made where, for example, the ‘euthanasia’ of cattle/ sheep/pigs/chickens are concerned – and do not the majority of us eat the foregoing?

If we, the people, are to have freedoms; then one of those must be to choose that which we wear, regardless of what others may think – obviously bearing in mind any ecological ‘impacts’, such as ‘hunting to extinction’ of any particular species. Another freedom must be the right to have public servants doing their job properly; and at the same time producing a correct record of any meetings they have.

The foregoing may seem ‘nitpicking’, however there is a principle involved; and that is that if democracy can be subverted by what may be termed a ‘select group’  in order to further their own agenda, then democracy per se cannot exist.

 

I did try to tell one idiot………

A couple of years ago, it may have been three or four – I’ve been to bed since then – at a Bruges Group meeting about membership of the European Union, I harangued  the panel (whilst I forget three attendees I do distinctly recall one of them was John Redwood) stating that I had never heard so much rubbish from four people who were supposed to know that about which they had spoken (which understandably went down like the proverbial lead brick).

One of the subjects I raised was that of air travel and the current rights of airlines to fly to and from other member states, making the point that if we just left the European Union without first negotiating access to those same rights, planes to European Member States, or overflying the European Union, would in effect be grounded.

Another member of the audience informed me I was talking ‘tripe’, that of course planes would not be grounded. Therefore I can but hope that individual has read this, a  subject that Richard North on EUReferendum.com has covered a number of times, on the last occasion here.

Much as I enjoyed attending Bruges Group meetings it became frustrating when it was realised that, besides the ‘panel’, a significant number of the audience also knew not that about which they wished to speak.

When we have politicians, media journalists and political commentators all pontificating on a subject – about which none of them exhibit any grasp of detail – or any grasp, come to that – is it unsurprising that the people are thus unknowledgeable on the European Union and Brexit?

Is there not a case to be made that politicians have failed in their duties as Members of Parliament by being unable to meaningfully contribute to the Brexit debate because of their ignorance – and I leave aside the wish of Members of Parliament not to ‘rock their party boat’, coupled with their wish to climb the political ladder. Is there not a case to be made that media journalists have failed to hold politicians to daily account, something that the people under representative democracy cannot do, yet have continued to ‘parrot’ political statements without question. As for political commentators (Booker excepted) just how or why the hell they get a monthly paycheck, heaven knows.

As an aside, when you read this – which must have one chance in heaven knows how many million of actually happening – one can but wonder whether querying if the same odds apply of getting a successful Brexit when we have politicians, media journalists and political commentators being ‘brain-dead’.

 

 

A few thoughts of the day

It is noted today that a survey conducted in the Netherlands – one commissioned by the Bruges Group – shows that more than 50% of those taking part wish the Netherlands to follow the United Kingdom and leave the European Union.

We all know that surveys of public opinion only reflect the small minority of the population that are questioned, yet they are invariably a ‘pointer’ to the overall view of public opinion – so let us, for the sake of this article, assume that the foregoing is the case.

Where the Netherlands is concerned – and bearing in mind the statement by Geert Wilders (see the video clip) – who currently, just two weeks prior to the election in his country is ahead in the opinion polls – succeeds in forming a majority government, it must be obvious that Nexit will be the next to follow Brexit.

We must then turn to France and Marine Le Pen, someone who has expressed a similar intention. Whilst it is appreciated that current opinion is she may well achieve the position of ‘run-off’ status where the final ballot is concerned, she may then lose, but we must then factor into the equation the question of who can say what the potential verdict of the Netherlands might have on the French electorate?

Then it must follow that there are other Member States of the European Union where membership of it could well be affected by Netherlands – Denmark and some Eastern European states such as Hungary?

The Bruges Group article was headlined: Will the Netherlands be the next domino to fall; at which point one has to amend said heading: Will the Netherlands be the first of many domino’s to fall?

It has to be said that were all the foregoing to happen then the sight of Juncker et all attempting to prevent what might be termed an EU ‘Titanic Sinking’ would be well worth watching.

Moving on, bearing in mind the title of this article, I then come to an article by Kwasi Kwarteng in CapX, one entitled: Farage, Blair, Cameron – Brexit has consigned them all to the history books. This heading may well be sustainable in any discussion on the subject, but I am more concerned by a statement contained therein; namely: We need to consider the kind of country we want to see in the future, not revisit the arguments of the past. We need hear younger and fresher voices in the debate about our future as a country, free from the constraints of the EU.

If that is to happen should not the voices of the past (at the first attempt I omitted the ‘o’ from voices – which brought to mind the reflection that the views of Mandelson and Kinnock have within them vices (encapsulating the receipt of EU pensions) – which must make their views ‘questionable’ and thus be ignored?

If Kwarteng really does wish to consider the kind of country we want to see in the future, just who is this ‘We’ about which he writes. No doubt his ‘We’ is the political class, yet what about the view of those who actually ‘own’ our nation – ie, the people? If the people are to be given their voice, then should not the voices of those, outside the political elite and the Westminster Bubble, who actually know about that which they write and speak be heard; and not ‘blocked’ by the said elite and a media, the latter which is ‘cap in hand’ to said political elite? Just how can the people make an informed decision when the majority of informed opinion is denied them – and that question is just as pertinent now as it was when it was posed at the time of the referendum in June last year.

What we now see is a politician – who has assumed the position of Prime Minister of the United Kingdom on the back of a decision by a minority of the electorate – and who apparently knows nowt about the subject of our membership of the European Union and its wider ramifications – now deciding on a course of action which can but bring ‘rack and ruin’ to our nation; and all it seems for reasons of political expediency and party unity.

It should be remembered that democracy is defined by the derivation of the term; ie ‘demos’ people, ‘kratos’ power: ‘people power’. Yet where, within ‘representative democracy’ is ‘people power’, when representative democracy results in decisions taken under what amounts to democracy by an ‘elite’,  one elected by those who have no understanding of the term ‘democracy’ and which then results in what can only be termed ‘democratised dictatorship’?

If we then ‘factor in’ the question of immigration – and its subsequent addendum of ‘inclusion’ – just how long will it be that the voice of the indigenous population, to whom any nation must belong, becomes overridden? This then begs the question just where was the voice of the indigenous population when the question of unlimited immigration was  first mooted – thank you democratised dictatorship!

There is much wrong with our nation – be that on matters immigration, taxation and  governance/democracy, to name but three subjects – and until the indigenous people of this country realise this and decide to do sommat about it we, as a nation, are doomed to a future none of us – at least those of us who can be called indigenous – want; and at least those of us who care about democracy per se and the future of our nation, want.

The view about indigenousness, expressed above, can no doubt be described as nationalism or even xenophobia – whatever, but one has to ask if a nation has no sense of nationalism then how can it be a nation?

Public appointments

We learned yesterday that Cressida Dick (unfortunate choice of surname) has been appointed ‘top dog’  of the Metropolitan Police Force. Mind you, where public bodies are concerned and funded by the taxpayer and over which we have no say, it is understandable if one of the qualifications to so do  is that he/she fulfills the necessity to be a ‘Richard’.

It is also known that she has ‘history’ of being in charge when things go wrong. When we look at this report one has to wonder, where her appointment today is concern,  just how decisions are made on our behalf. Just why was she ‘demoted’, which begs the question just why has she now been appointed to head the Met?

Not that she is alone  where suspected culpability is concerned; think, for example, Mandelson who was reappointed despite more than two questionable wrong doings – and I wont mention Keith Vaz………..

It would seem, on the face of it, that there is a’club’ in operation, in which those in the club ‘look after their own’ – see the example of Mandelson above. Witness that in 2015 she officially retired to take up an unspecified position in the Foreign Offiice – so how come she can be appointed, two years later, head of an organisation from which she is no longer a member?

If we, the people,  are subject to someone in a position of power and are thus subject to the decisions they make, especially where law and order are concerned – should we not have a voice in their appointment?

The same argument can be made where the appointment of members of the legislature are concerned; currently ones within the remit of the prime minister of the day – but just who, at any time, actually elected any prime minister? Should not we, the people, have the right to vote for those who have the  right to affect, through their decisions, our lives.

The foregoing just exemplifies the deficits with our system of representative democracy. Just how long will you, the people, continue to accept the yoke of representative democracy – aka a democratised dictatorship – before you rebel against the sheep dogs that control your thoughts and movements?

Evolution,  over time, has given we humans the power of reason and thus  of thought; which thanks to our political class has – and is continuing – to be ‘bred’ out of us. Is it not time that, while we still retain some distant element of that knowledge, we began to realise that fact?

Is it not time that we, the people, began to rebel? By ‘utilising the word ‘rebel’ I am not talking about ‘armed resurrection’ or ‘taking to the streets’ – I am suggesting that there is a better way, one which can be exercised though the ballot box.

Is it not time that our political class were told, in no uncertain terms, that they accept the people are sovereign and that until such time they accept and recognise that, they  don’t get our vote?

 

 

What is the point….

…..wasting one’s time and effort complaining, unless of course, one is prepared to make time to actually attempt to right the wrong that annoys/frustrates one?

The question is posed as, lately, we have witnessed the ‘twitterati’ complaining about incumbents of the House of Lords not ‘doing their jobs (with pictures of them apparently asleep on the red benches), yet ‘pocketing’ their £300 daily allowance.

On that point two articles immediately spring to mind: one on Politics Home (no link) and the other in the Mail, repeating the content on Politics Home,  in which Baroness d’Souza relates the occasion she saw a Peer alight from a taxi, while having it wait, to dash inside the HoL – as she put it: presumably to claim his daily allowance and then dashing out to re-board his taxi.  Katie Ghose, Chief Executive of theElectoral Reform Society, was quick to condemn this incident, stating (according to Politics Home): Lets fix this broken House before the situation gets any worse – if only we could ‘fix’ the Electoral Reform Society; but I digress.

Not that it would appear Baroness d’Souza is free of criticism when it is recorded that she, as Leader of the House of Lords, kept a chauffeur-driven car waiting while she attended an opera at a cost of £230; or spent £270 while a car waited four and a half hours for her to have lunch with a Japanese ambassador in central London.

When one Peer is of the opinion that the HoL is the best day care centre for the elderly in London; and that Families can drop in him or her and make sure that the staff will look after them very well nice meals subsidised by the taxpayer, and they can have a snooze in the afternoon in the chamber or in the library; when incumbents are there purely as a result of the patronage of the government of the day, rewarded for either keeping their mouth shut or opening their mouth or their purse at a particular moment in time; when the HoL is  second only in size to the Chinese people’s congress, then surely there must be a case for reform.

But why leave it there? When the there is no separation twixt Executive and Legislature within government; when a miniscule section of the voting population can decide which ‘chosen’ individual can stand for election in a constituency (whether that be by their political party or the local constituency association), then is there not a case for reform? When a ‘know-not-all’ can succeed another ‘know-not-all’ as leader of their party (think Nuttall/Farage) – although that may be a tad unfair because in recent times can any one name any political party where this has not been the norm – is it not time for reform?

Returning to the statement encapsulated in the first paragraph, I can but point to the graphic which forms the ‘header’to the hompage of  DD4UK: To make democracy work we must be a nation of participants, not simply observers.

That there is much wrong with this nation of ours; and especially where its form of democracy is concerned, must be a ‘given’, even to one who is blind; so I have to say this: if you are content to accept your life – and that of your nation – is to be ‘directed’ by those over whom you have no real control and who obviously know nowt but would have us believe they know all; then you need do nothing but continue to lead what you believe are your blissful lives.

If on the other hand,you feel as I do that our lives are worthless and are but pawns in a game played by politicians, then I ask you to remember that people should not be afraid of their governments, but that governments should be afraid of their people (works in Switzerland).

To all those ‘complaining’, the answer is simple: get involved, – do something, make time to get involved.  Don’t just sit there, complaining! All this crap about the meek shall inherit the earth their nation is just that – crap!

So c’mon people – arise and be counted!

 

What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander – unfortunately

According to the Cambridge Dictionary one definition of this saying is that it is said: to emphasize that if one person is allowed to do something or to behave in a particular way, then another person must be allowed to do that thing or behave in that way, too.

Much is made of a ‘supposed’ statement by Winston Churchill: We are with Europe but not of it; we are linked but not compromised. We are associated but not absorbed. If Britain must choose between Europe and the open sea, she must always choose the open sea.

The word ‘supposed’ is used as it is inferred, by those with a fondness to quote it, that those words are an extract from a speech he gave at one time or another.

According to this blog the quotation mentioned in paragraph two of this article did not – and could not – have happened. Therefore the continued use of the purported phrase mentioned in paragraph two is a classic example of a phrase being used time and time again and on thus are articles written –  even though the authors of such articles are clueless of the crime they commit –  when a little effort shows that said authors have not carried out the necessary research to authenticate that which they assert.

,The preceding paragraph does not stop David Hannay, writing this article, about May’s decision not to attend the 60th celebrations of the founding of the European Union, from which I quote: Do we really believe that the decision taken 60 years ago by our closest neighbours, allies and partners to put behind them definitively the internecine warfare which had led to two world wars, on the explicit advice of Winston Churchill in his famous Zurich speech of 1946, is not an event which we should be celebrating too?

Hannay is guilty, as are so many – especially among our Ukip fraternity – of assuming  a ‘misquote’ as fact; of which this is the actual text. Nowhere in that speech did Churchill state that the United Kingdom must be part of his vision – one only has to read his last sentence: Great Britain, the British Commonwealth of Nations, mighty America, and I trust Soviet Russia – for then indeed all would be well – must be the friends and sponsors of the new Europe and must champion its right to live and shine.

Referring back to paragraph two of this article -and in particular to the last sentence of what is a misquote – from this article can be found the source of the second sentence; again from which I quote: It appeared in Churchill’s “The United States of Europe,” published in The Saturday Evening Post in America and John Bull in England on 15 February 1930. On 29 May 1938, just before Munich put an end to such happy musings, it was republished in The News of the World as, “Why Not ‘The United States of Europe’?” It appears in book form only in The Collected Essays of Sir Winston Churchill, Volume II “Churchill and Politics,” London: Library of Imperial History 1976, pp. 176-86.

Is it not time that Churchills’s words are not misquoted; ie, parts of separate speeches combined to present a ‘false statement’?

An argument may well be presented that Hannay is correct in assuming that May did not wish to attend the EU’s 60th celebrations because:she did not want to face the criticism from her own benches for attending a celebratory gathering of an organisation which many of them sincerely hate and would be happy to see broken up,

The problem with that statement is that Hannay – along with so many others – fails to recognise why the European Union is unnecessary in the first place. Neither Hannay, – nor unfortunately May – recognise that the European Union is but a ‘middle-man’ where the setting of standards are concerned. As I intimated in this article: who needs a middle man with its associated, additional, costs, not that May – or any other politician – understands that? Mind you, it will be noted that in the article linked to in this paragraph one politician did realise this fact; unfortunately he appears to have undergone a Damascene conversion

Is it not time, where Brexit is concerned, politicians and the media told us the truth; is it not time, on other and all matters affecting our nation, that politicians told us the truth; is it not time that we had politicians who remembered why they we elected and forgot heir political party loyalty?

Of course to all our woes and dissatisfaction with our political class and media, there is an alternative.