Tag Archives: The Harrogate Agenda

£14m of public funds misspent?

Courtesy of the Electoral Commission we taxpayers have just incurred a bill of £14m, split evenly twixt Stronger In and Vote Leave – the two designated campaigns chosen to lead the debate – and who thus, by the ‘expertise’ (not’) of their arguments – can have a great bearing, through their inane statements, on who wins the forthcoming referendum on the question of the UK’s membership of the European Union.

Just who, among the electorate, elected those of the Electoral Commmission, who made that decision? Just who among the electorate agreed that politicians, on both sides of the argument, could ‘take over’ and thus decide how those arguments were to be presented?  Just who, among the electorate, know that Cameron, Osborne, Gove, Johnson, Benn (H), Matthew Elliott, Dominic Cummings et all, are lying ‘B’stards’? More importantly just who among the electorate agreed to provide said lying ‘B’stards’ on each side with £7m of their money?

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Those that have – and those that have not

In this context I quote from ME Synon’s blog:

There are the protected and the unprotected. The protected make public policy. The unprotected live in it. The unprotected are starting to push back, powerfully.’

‘The protected are the accomplished, the secure, the successful—those who have power or access to it. They are protected from much of the roughness of the world. More to the point, they are protected from the world they have created. Again, they make public policy and have for some time.’

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Bit of a ‘rogues gallery’?

Tusks, including those of elephants, are used to produce ivory and are highly valued – if only the same could be said about the tusk of the ‘elephant in the room’.

Donald Tusk has published his response to the letter sent to him by David Cameron in which the latter set out the areas in which he wanted reform. Tusk’s letter has been disected by Richard North in this article, which handily saves me the job of so doing.

One of the areas in which Cameron wants reform is that of sovereignty, included in which is the annulment of ‘ever closer union’ coupled with an enhanced role for national parliaments which allows them to ‘club together’ in order to stop unwanted measures. It is ironic that Cameron (and other politicians), who prattle on about the ‘sovereignty of parliament’, understand not the meaning of the word ‘sovereignty’. Whilst the UK is part of the political aspect of the European Union it can never be in the position of having the full right and power of a governing body to govern itself without any interference from outside sources or bodies. Likewise while the UK parliament is based on representative democracy (as is the EU) the people of the UK will always be subservient to their politicians.

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There’s news – and there’s news

The  MSM seem enthralled with the mess that both Labour and the Tories appear to be in – with the former unable to make up its mind what they actually ‘stand for’ on a variety of ‘subjects du jour’, such as [you name it]; and the Tories on the NHS ‘doctors and ACAS‘ problem.

On the latter I reproduce from my time-line on Facebook:

The Book of Jeremy, Chapter 1
And it came to pass that Jeremy, of the tribe of Conservatites, clad himself in gaudy raiment from the Row of Savile and summoned the Disciples of Hippocrates to his tent. For he wished to impart Good News to them.
“Verily, I ask you,” saith Jeremy unto them, “when doth the Festival of Wee-kend beginneth?”
And the Disciples of Hippocrates furrowed their brows in amazement at this parable, for all people who dwell on earth knew the Festival of Wee-kend beginneth at the same time every week, that is to say, on Friday at Five to Five (or, as it is known to those aged over two score and ten, Crackerjack Time.)
And the Disciples of Hippocrates remarked on this to Jeremy and some began to reacheth for the Mental Health Act Papyrus, but then Jeremy spake again.
“Ye may be wise and learned folk,” saith Jeremy, “ but in this case thou art sorely mistaken. For from this day onwards I decree the Festival of Wee-kend shall beginneth at midnight on the Sabbath. Or maybe, in days to come, on Sunday. For I may chooseth to monkey around with it again.”
And the Disciples of Hippocrates were sorely dismayed, for they kneweth that this meaneth a shedload fewer shekels, big time. And their discontent was so great it afflicted their tongues, such that they could not even speak Jeremy’s name correctly.
But then arose amongst them the prophet Malawana, who was in such favour with THE LORD that the Almighty worked a miracle greater than the parting of the Red Sea: He softened the hearts of the Daily Express papyrus merchants so that they supported Malawana. And then Malawana spake thus to his learned tribe: “Let not your hearts be troubled, for I will lead you to the promised land.”
“And what is this land, exactly, squire?” askedeth the Disciples of Hippocrates..
And Malawana looked into their hearts and perceived that though the Disciples of Hippocrates seldom made war, so great was their anger they were now well up for some serious smiting.
And so Malawana loosened his sword in its sheath. And his grim countenance bore an expression that sayeth: Don’t fucketh with me, pal.
“We journey to the Land of Bal-lot,” saith Malawana. And his people followed him there, rejoicing.
And Jeremy, on hearing these tidings, did soil his fine raiment of the Row of Savile
The Book of Jeremy.

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Some questions

It is always a source of amusement when reading the outpourings of political commentators on the subject of democracy. One only has to consider this from Gabby Hinsliff (and where she is concerned, ‘Gabby’ is so appropriate); or this from Yasmin Alibhai-Brown; or this from Philip Booth.

The first two articles centre on l’affaire Mark Clarke and intimate that young potential politicians, to quote Hinsliff: …..weren’t knifing each other over ways to change the world, but over getting seats, or jobs with MPs, or proximity to power of any kind. Hey, never mind the ‘young’ tag; isn’t that what politicians of all ages do? Alibhai-Brown reckons: degradation of politics by any party disables our democracy, and no party is immune to the effects. Hey, in order to disable democracy, first it is necessary to have democracy. That of Booth’s centres on the fact that: we have representation without taxation and an intrinsic big government bias in the electoral system, while suggesting that: a proper federal structure must be created for the UK.

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Chicken and egg?

Correspondence seen by the BBC shows the government is considering whether elected Police and Crime Commissioners should have greater powers to put up council tax. At the moment they need to hold a referendum if they increase the charge for policing on council tax bills by more than 2%. Some Police and Crime Commissioners want the referendum rule scrapped.

(Source)

Little noticed, it seems, is the extract above from a BBC news article.

The Conservative 2015 election manifesto does not make – to my knowledge – any such reference to increasing the powers of Police and Crime Commissioners, other than:  develop the role of our elected and accountable Police and Crime Commissioners (page 59). Readers will recall that the first incumbents were elected, on an extremely low turnout, in 2012. Those elected were to serve a term of 3½ years, with the next elections due to be held in May 2016 when the elected term will be 4 years. Police and Crime Commissioners are no more ‘accountable’ than are MPs – consider: how are either of them ‘accountable’ when they have been given ‘carte-blanche’ for 4 or 5 years?

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And………

From this evenings CoffeeHouse Evening Blend:

  • Number 10 insisted that David Cameron was planning to serve a full term after the Spectator reported he was considering standing down in 2019.
  • Nicky Morgan told the Spectator she was considering standing for Tory leader.
  • Owen Paterson told Coffee House he was writing a manifesto for a robust right-wing leadership contender.
  • Jeremy Corbyn visited Scotland and admitted his party may not have a clear position on Trident for the Holyrood elections.
  • …as he dropped plans to scrap university tuition fees.
  • Tory members and MPs were warned not to wear their passes outside the conference hall during an anti-austerity march.
  • Prominent anti-EU campaigners reacted angrily to the announcement that Lord Lawson will be president of the Conservatives for Britain.

To which one can but ask: WTF actually cares, as:

  • When Cameron actually stands down is neither here nor there, it will be when he secures the next position in his career path at public expense;
  • If and when Nicky Morgan decides to take the next step up the ‘greasy pole’ it will be when she reckons she has a good chance of success – and not before;
  • Owen Paterson may well be writing a new manifesto for the next Tory Leader, but being a present-day politician, methinks it will be no more than a blueprint for his attempt for top office; regardess of what he new says – after all, why else does anyone enter politics if not to attempt the ‘greasy pole’ climb;
  • Jeremy Corbyn doesn’t seem to have a clear vision on anything;
  • Any Tory member or MP needs their head read if they publicly identify themselves as such;
  • Nigel Lawson, another ‘has-been’ and who should by now have retired gracefully, in common with his ilk secures yet another opportunity to keep himself in the public eye in his attempt to earn more from the public purse.

Such is what the Spectator, in common with the rest of the media, reckons is ‘news’ – to which one can but say: Get A Life, Do!

Politicians are, in general, following a – dare I use the word – ‘profession’ for their own ends and career advancement; thanks to a form of democracy they perpetuate; political commentators would appear to write about anything that they believe may advance their careers without showing any evidence that they know owt about that which they write/speak; and the media appear to have nothing better to do than feed the egos of the former by publicising their illogical musings.

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Why the outrage?

The ‘news due jour’ would appear to be that our benevolent government has proposed to annul the 28-day ‘purdah period’ up to polling day of the referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union, thus allowing the government to campaign until the very last minute; bearing in mind that Cameron is intent on this nation remaining a member of the European Union.

This ‘purdah-negation’ was first spotted, I believe it correct to say, by a reader to Richard North’s blog and now seems to have found its way into the output of our newspaper media. Also, as Richard North points out, the Conservative manifesto promised that the final decision would be that of the people.

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Do you really ken (d) all, Liz?

Liz Kendall, wanna-be Labour Leader, has an article in the Guardian in which, lamenting her party’s failure to win the 2015 general election, she writes: ……We talked about what we would do to them and they didn’t like us. We rarely spoke about what we would do with them……… She also writes that her goal is to get power out of Westminster and into the hands of local people; citing that: …….Labour councils have been leading the way in putting power into people’s hands. In Milton Keynes, communities are trusted to help run libraries and leisure centres. In Glasgow, employers and young people helped design the apprenticeship service……..

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A North East Conundrum

Bryony Gordon has an article in the Daily Telegraph about the withdrawal of Chuka Umunna from the Labour leadership contest, an article in which she maintains that politics is no place for ordinary people. But should not democracy involve the views of ordinary people; and should not those views carry more weight than they do, currently, under representative democracy?

Since moving to the North East I have been struck by the recurring complaint that ‘Westminster’ is divorced from the North East, not just by distance but also by ideology. The county of Durham is rock-solid Labour, yet knowing the complaint mentioned above still the voters go to the polling booths and elect the same ‘Westminster Village’ people that they complain about, forgetting that history tells them their vote is, in effect, wasted.

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