Tuesday, 21 May 2019

It's time for an elected Prime Minister.

In November last year I explained the basics of our third demand 'A Separation of Power'  and in particular the need for an elected Prime Minister - here is the link


At the moment, with the current Conservative Party 'charade' at trying to elect a new leader the need for the 'People' to elect our PM could not be more obvious or needed.

Of all the elements from our six demands electing our PM would be really simple as at the time of a General Election, as well as voting for a party to govern, we would also be able to vote for the PM we wanted. This could lead to a PM who was from a different party to the one with a majority in the Commons but that doesn't stop the process of governance it just creates the need for policy compromises which is an important element of democracy. In America, for example, we have had a Democratic President with a Republican House of Representatives and their government still functioned.

An elected British PM's cabinet would also sit outside parliament, while approved by it, which would mean the whole Executive being held to account by the whole of Parliament.

Having an elected PM would dispense with the farce that we are currently experiencing as the Conservative party goes through the motions of a type of 'Buggins' turn' internal election for their next leader.         

Monday, 13 May 2019

Recall of MPs.

On Thursday 6th June there will be a by-election in Peterborough brought about by the 'recall vote' taken against the Labour MP Fiona Onasanya who was found guilty of perverting the course of justice and sentenced to a term in prison.

This was only possible as a result of the 'Recall of MPs Act 2015' which made it possible for 10% of constituents to be able to recall their MP and call a by-election but only in the limited circumstance of being found guilty of a wrong doing that fulfils certain criteria.

This new law is at least a start but does not allow the recall of MPs for general incompetence which is what real democracy demands.

In our second demand for 'Real Local Democracy' we are quite clear that under our proposed system of governance with a real increase in powers at the local level it would be up to the local people in each county to decide on such matters.

To quote from page 12 of our pamphlet :-

"Details of how and under what conditions individual MPs(and members of the upper house) are selected might be left to the electors of the county, set out in each local constitution and implemented by local legislatures. After all, if we are to have localism, then the terms and conditions governing the employment of representatives should be decided locally.

We could also envisage a situation where MPs are no longer paid from the central funds, but by their counties. It would be for the people of each county to decide how much their representatives were paid, how much should be allowed by way of expenses, and how they should be held accountable. Also, if one area wanted to introduce a method of recall, that would be up to them. Thus do we see democracy closer to the people, with government - local and national - under the direct control of the people. Anything else is not democracy."  

Nuff said!    

Monday, 6 May 2019

The use of referenda.

Last week I explained how the third part of our fourth demand, 'The People's Consent', would allow us to challenge the decisions  made by government bodies such as elected and appointed officials, including minsters and judges.

As usual I posted this on 'EU Referendum' and some of the comments suggested that for the 'People' to be able to challenge judges would lead to mob rule.

I understands these concerns but to me it is akin to suggesting that any democratic majority decision amounts to mob rule especially when you don't agree with the majorities point of view. Furthemore it completely overlooks the significant checks and balances that we suggest must go along with the use of referenda.

Of course the decision of a jury, in a court case, can already be subject to appeal but the whole point of our fourth demand is to give the 'People' real power to ensure 'officialdom' can always be held to account.

Last week I pointed out the biased summing up at the Jeremy Thorpe trial by judge Cantley, which went against point 10 of Sir Matthew Hale's resolutions for judges toi follow, which could be the sort of issue the people might like the chance to comment on but I think there are better examples.

Take for example the 30+ years it has taken for the recent Infected Blood enquiry to be set up or the 25+ years it took for the investigation into the Hillsborough Disaster to get underway - are not these examples where, if the 'People' could have their say, governments would be forced to act sooner with the results open to the 'People' to challenge in the event of a whitewash.

I don't think governments and minsters would like the 'People' to be able to interfere in their cosy deliberations conducted at their own speed but then it is clear that our MPs, when considering Brexit, don't much like democracy.

The use of referenda, as outlined in our fourth demand, gives the 'People' real power without which we don't really have a functioning democracy.             

Monday, 29 April 2019

The Rule of Law.


I’ve recently finished a very good book called ‘The Rule of Law’ by Tom Bingham that sets out, in relatively simple terms, what constitutes the RofL and the importance of a country abiding by it if wants to be considered as a modern democratic nation.

Credit for coining the expression ‘RofL’ is usually given to Professor A.V. Dicey from Oxford university who used it in his book ‘An Introduction to the Study of the Law of the Constitution’ in 1885.

The various elements that make up the ‘RofL’ have evolved over time and are still being added today with recent considerations being needed to cover modern day terrorism and the sovereignty of Parliament over Brexit.

A point which I had not really focused on is the important part our judges play in interpreting the law whenever disputes arise but that also begs the BIG question who polices the judges?

One of the historic milestones making up the Rule of Law is Sir Matthew Hale’s list of ‘Things Necessary to be Continually had in Remembrance’. Hale was Chief Justice of the King’s Bench from 1671 to 1676. His list runs to 18 points which all judges should follow and point 10 particularly caught my eye as it states ‘ That I be not biased with compassion to the poor, or favour to the rich in point of justice’.

Recently I read a book on the Jeremy Thorpe trial and in particular the outrageously biased summing up by the Presiding Judge Joseph Cantley, who in his summing up roundly condemned the prosecution witnesses and praised the defendants, while claiming not to express an opinion! If you want to see Peter Cook at his lampooning best take a look at this from his address, in 1979, to the    Secret Policeman's Ball  in aid of Amnesty International in which he ridicules Cantley’s summing up!

So the point of this post is to emphasis the third part of our fourth demand ‘The People’s Consent’ which would provide the means for the public to have their say at such blatant bias by a judge. In fact this demand would apply to any judge led Public Enquiry that the public deemed to be a whitewash like the Chilcot and Hutton reports.

Finally if so many politicians want a second referendum then how about the people having their say on their performance when they feel like it? Now that is how democracy should work and I would find it hard to believe anyone would not agree?  

               

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

What history can teach us.


Recently I was glancing through   ‘England in the Nineteenth Century’ by David Thomson  (this book was number eight of nine from ‘The Pelican history of England’ series).

On the five pages given to the Chartist Movement he makes some very basic yet relevant points which I list below with my own comments in italics after each point.

  1. The roots of the Chartist Movement were partly political and partly economic – A  combination of both makes the ‘People’ dissatisfied.

  1. The mass discontent in Lancashire and Yorkshire were motivated by economic distress and social exploitation of industrialism more than political ideology – People today are still generally too comfortable to bother thinking about political reform.

  1.  Five of their six demands took between 20 and 73 years to enact – The political reforms contained in our six demands are far more complex than the Chartists demands and will take a generation to enact if of course the ‘People’ wake up and demand them.

  1. The Chartist’s demand that was never enacted was for annual General Elections – Had a system of annual elections been permitted our political system would have become more one of direct rather than parliamentary democracy which is no doubt why politicians didn’t enact it!

  1. Parliament is sovereign, both in the legal sense that it can pass any law about anything, and in the political sense that nothing the electorate can do can ensure the dismissal of a government or dissolution of a Parliament before the end of its legitimate five-year period in power – Be in no doubt Parliament holds ALL the power and this point alone is why we need our Agenda.

  1. The Chartist’s demands were supported by the people en masse and then taken up by the Unions and finally political parties – I believe the same sequence is how we will develop.

  1. After ten years Chartism lost its prominence to the Anti-Corn-Law League – We are currently struggling to compete with Brexit.

  1. The periods of greatest activity occurred during periods of depression and distress – We still have this to come from a botched Brexit and the likely downturn in the world’s economy.

  1.  Chartism routed in 1848 did three things – It was the first widespread and sustained effort of working-class self-help, second, it was directed to the cause of parliamentary democracy and constitutional reform and third and lastly the impetus it gave to eventual political reform on the one hand and trade union organisation on the other was never wasted. All these three facts about it gave it lasting importance – let’s hope the same will be said of THA in the future!


It is always useful and relevant to consider the lessons from history.

Thursday, 18 April 2019

Ambassadors needed - apply here!

 I believe few would dispute that Christianity was initially spread as the disciples of Jesus, or followers, became apostles, or messengers, after his death.

Another word for apostle is 'ambassador' and it has always been our intent, from the start, to recruit these to help spread the word about our agenda.

In the 'Pick of the week's correspondence' in this week's edition of The Week  they have printed a letter to the Times commenting on a report that "72% of people surveyed think that the British system of government needs improvement". This tallies with other polls over recent years and is a sad reflection on how dysfunctional Westminster has become, which has been increasingly exposed by the 'Brexit Babel', and thus how the need for our six demands has never been more pertinent.

However the public need to be educated as to what are and why we have our six demands as is evident from the person who wrote to the Times because his comment to that statistic is that the British people need to look at themselves, having voted against the alternative vote system in 2011. If the correspondent really  believes that changing the voting system will change our system of governance then he is seriously lacking in the 'Vision' department!

On Saturday I gave a very short introductory talk, on THA, of just 18 minutes to the Campaign for an Independent Britain (CIB) in London. I was initially allocated 30 mins but was asked to cut it down at the last minute to allow for an afternoon tea break which was thought important to keep the audiance awake! It's not brilliant but I feel conveys the essence of our movement and I'm informed it did get a few people thinking!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvJAmkSOuck&feature=youtu.be

As I mentioned a few weeks ago I recently recruited an Ambassador in Yorkshire who realises the importance of our six demands and how nothing will change, with regards the poor standard of our governance, until they are enacted.

If you would like to become an Ambassador for our cause please get in touch off the website and every assistance will be given to you to help you become confident in understanding and then explaining what our six demands are all about.