Mark Littlewood, Director-General of the Institute of Economic Affairs, writes in the Times Comments section that Westminster must now prepare to lose control.
HIs article commences: Ten months after the EU referendum, there is little overall consensus about exactly how the Leave side triumphed. No doubt, in years to come, screeds of academic papers and doctoral theses will seek to explain why a majority of voters chose to strike such a stunning blow against the status quo. They are just as likely to reach a myriad of contradictory conclusions……(never mind ‘in years to come’ – it is already happening – Ed.) He continues: The default constitutional setting for post-Brexit Britain is that we will continue to be the most centralised economy in the western world. Unless there is a deep, underlying and undetected love for the Westminster and Whitehall establishment among the great British public, the forces that led to the earthquake of the Brexit vote are likely to bring about a fundamental reshaping of our domestic governmental arrangements or, quite possibly, the dismantling of the UK altogether………..
Making the point, one made many times on this blog and others, is that the scale of Westminster’s grip over tax and spending decisions is close to absolute and that about 95 per cent of all taxation is raised by central government, he continues: This is still low by international standards [……] In 2011, local authorities had more than 1,300 statutory duties imposed on them by parliament. In many ways, local government is a matter of receiving a cheque from the government and being told how to spend it.
Yup, representative democracy summed up in a nutshell. Money extracted by force from the taxpayer and then spent by local government without any choice by those from whom the money has been ‘ransomed’. in this regard it is necessary to refer to this article – aka ‘Referism’.
Mark Littlewood writes about ‘devolution’, yet appears to lose sight of the point that to devolve power to local authorities is simply shifting the power down to another set of elected ‘bureaucrats’ over which, under ‘representative democracy’, the people still have no control over how their money is spent.
We are repeatedly informed by politicians at all levels that power should be devolved down to the lowest level; ie the people. What said political proponents fail to say is that, under representative democracy, what they term the lowest level is, in fact, the top level – that is, if one believes in the correct definition of democracy which is derived from the Greek: demos: people, kratos: power – ‘people power’.
The title of this article becomes even more relevant when one reads that Mark Littlewood studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Balliol College, Oxford from 1990–93. After all, is that not on which the majority of the inhabitants of the Green Benches ‘cut their teeth’? As an aside, if you emulsion a wall in Magnolia and providing you use paints by different manufacturers made to the BSI Magnolia standard, you will get a perfect match – you won’t be able to see any difference – and so it is with the Westminster Bubble.
Littlewood ends his article thus: If taking back control is the meme of our times, we don’t just need to escape the dead hand of the Brussels behemoth, we must also clip the wings of Westminster – to which I would say we not only need to clip the wings of Westminster, we need to take the damn things away from them. We need to restore democracy per se to the people by the introduction of direct democracy – and thus negating the ‘faux democracy’ we presently suffer.
Of course, due to political ineptitude, encapsulating lack of knowledge on matters EU, we as a nation now find ourselves ‘up a creek without a paddle’. In previous articles I have criticised the lack of promotion of direct democracy, as encapsulated in The Harrogate Agenda (THA). I still maintain that had THA had as much coverage as did FlexCit (and even run as a separate campaign) we would not be in the mess that we now are, as the electorate would have been better informed and had a real understanding of matters EU, democracy per se; and thus been able to make a truly informed choice on 23rd June 2016. On that point I have yet to read one factual, or even logical, rebuttal of this assertion (despite the valiant attempts of Niall Warry).
Power, it would appear, is present in two forms: (a); do as I say or you will be ‘punished’ (politicians); or (b): believe what I say or you’re all idiots (journalists, the commentariat and some bloggers). If the blogosphere, especially, is to have any impact in decisions taken about Brexit then unanimity is required, is it not? It does not help when those who are ‘onside’ are ‘shunned’ – and thus excluded – and their opinions ignored, purely due to the fact they have been ‘blacklisted’ by the ‘oracles of the blogosphere’ for having decided, at one time or another, to question the strategies of said ‘oracles’.
It seems to me that too many ‘labels’ have been used during this Brexit process with the intention of dividing people, and at this point in time we, who are writing, arguing, and/or campaigning for a withdrawal from the European Union, really need to come together, come with our own suggestions with a view to being heard, and thus hopefully solve the problems that we have facing our nation; rather than be ‘sneered at’, ‘belittled’ ‘dismissed’ – or ultimately, ignored.
If those who appear to insist on dismissing the views of those with whom they disagree, then so be it. If anyone has cause to feel resentment with the discord in the blogosphere, then I do. I could quote ‘chapter and verse’ – but won’t as it serves no purpose when there is, I believe, an underlying cry within the blogosphere for unanimity and thus a united front.
Is it not time that the blogsphere came together and a meeting held with interested bloggers with a view to agreeing a common strategy? Is it not time that we ‘crowd-sourced’ the finances to fund such an exercise? No doubt this idea might well be adopted (followed by my exclusion as being ‘not wanted’, if past ‘form’ is anything to go by – but hey-ho, always the optimist………).