Friday, 31 July 2020

In Defence of the People.

The more I read and think about our Agenda, since our formation in 2012, I'm increasingly certain that the opinion and views of the 'people' is on balance every bit as good, if not better, than those of our politicians.

Yesterday I was was struck by this quote by Thomas Jefferson, USA's 3rd President, which was in Dr North's blog post on EU Referendum as well as on the new blog Turbulent Times. 

"I will add, that the man who never looks into a newspaper is better informed than he who reads them; inasmuch as he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods & errors. He who reads nothing will still learn the great facts, and the details are all false."

This quote has been taken from a letter he wrote complaining about the misinformation in newspapers which is similar to the aphorism attributed to Mark Twain some years later "If you don't read the newspaper you are uninformed, if you do read the newspaper you are misinformed".

The 'elites' of our world come up with every excuse imaginable as to why they are the fount of all wisdom and it is indeed very easy to portray the 'masses' as uneducated dullards but those that are are a very small minority.

The claim that the 'people' lack the education to make major decisions ignores the facts that politcs is about more than just the facts. As the Chartists pointed out people knew more about politics than they were given credit for and were often better equipped with what was happening on the ground than the elites living in their ivory towers.

Trusting the views of the majority should not be considered a risk and is in fact the absolute cornerstone of a real democracy. The advantage to the collective will of the people being properly heard is that it allows fresh air to penetrate into the stale air of the Westminster bubble.

Of course our Agenda's fundamental aim is to give the people real power over our politicians. 

Friday, 24 July 2020

"A Crisis of Trust".

With the passing of Stuart Wheeler yesterday I was reminded of The Bruges Group's 78 page publication he wrote back in 2010 called "A Crises of Trust" which highlighted the extent of the MPs 'Expenses Scandal' of which he was rightly extremely critical of MPs from all parties but was especially condemning of David Cameron and Michael Gove.

Just as a reminder this man holds the record for the largest donation to a political party when he donated £5 million to the Conservative Party in 2001. In 2009 he was expelled from the party after announcing he would be making a large donation to UKIP for the forthcoming European elections.He was you can gather a staunch Eurosceptic.

In the final paragraph of his booklet he wrote :-

"The case for having MPs at all is that they are there to test the executive. To do this, we need MPs who do not see being in parliament as a career, who do not see life in the Commons as merely an extension of life in civil service with added television appearances, and who see virtue in being independent of their parties, in being able to excercise their own judgement, and in not being beholden for their livelihoods to their party leaders. These are the MPs whom we can trust to give their first allegiance to their constituents. Please let us have more of them".

 More independently minded MPs is the primary aim of our third demand 'A Separation of Power' which calls for the executive(Government) to be separated from the legislature (Parliament).

A further check on our MPs would be covered in our second demand 'Real Local Democracy' as it would allow each constituency to hold their politicians to account by setting up recall procedures should they so desire and even set their individual levels of pay and expenses.

Only being able to hold our elected officials to account during periodic but infrequent elections is not 'Real' democracy.

Friday, 24 April 2020

Why all governments blunder.

Last week I commented on Dr North's blog EU Referendum, he is also the primary author of THA pamphlet, that " My default position is that all politicians, since the Thatcher era, are incompetent, duplicitous, celebrity orientated, overrated, in for the main chance, pigheaded ****s!"
My post generated 13 'likes', which is high, and a certain amount of critical comment mainly pointing out that Thatcher's government was far from perfect.
Initially I stood by my comment that Thatcher and her team were of a higher quality than today's offerings in parliament but did end up conceding that on handling this virus they would probably have fared no better.
I'm still of the opinion that as PM Mrs Thatcher was the person needed to arrest our country's economic decline but, on reflection, I have to agree that she and her minister's were still capable of getting things wrong.
I shouldn't have viewed  the past through rose coloured glasses especially being a ardent believer in the very enlightening book 'The Blunders of our Governments' by Crewe and King.

This book explains the reasons, both human and system failures, why governments, whether Labour or Conservative, blunder so spectacularly particularly on the big issues.

Here is my analysis of the book after I had read it some months ago now.

There is only one remedy that I can see to this situation which is to make it possible for the collective will of the 'People' to be able to challenge their elected officials more readily who I believe would greatly benefit from recieving the fresh air of public opinion into the mix of their decision making.

Why should politicians or experts necessarily be right after all, as a Climate Change sceptic, I and many others believe Climate Change experts are promoting a complete myth for various political and financial ends.

Some still believe the answer to better governments is epistocray, to give the elite more power, which to me is the worst of all opinions as the 'elite ' have proved so often to be wrong.

For me the principles of sortition have far more chance to improve our governance and which ever way I look at this I now strongly believe that 'Real People Power' is the only way to proceed. Of course the 'People' will make mistakes but on balance I believe their mistakes will be no more frequent than those made by politicians and they will at least be their own mistakes from which they may well learn thus avoid making them again.

For far too long the 'People' have had to suffer the consequences of various governments blunders and THA's six demands seeks to address this problem making our politicians truly our servants instead of our masters.

Tuesday, 14 April 2020

The 'People' are NOT sovereign.

I have to confess I find youtube clips quite addictive and having searched for one end up watching others that are linked from the first.

It was in this way that I came across a clip on Jacob R-M who thinks himself a bit of a constitutional expert - well he is compared to the majority of cannon fodder who masquerade as MPs.

In it he made the point that it is the 'People' that are sovereign who lend that sovereignty to parliament expecting them to carry out their wishes. It is indeed true that at the time of a General  Election sovereignty is given back to the 'People' who vote in a government who then should represent them.

The trouble is that once elected our politicians return to the now sovereign parliament, taking control of the sovereignty that was briefly given back to us. Our MPs then become absorbed into the Westminster bubble and completely ignore us. Then just before the next election they promise us the earth, with of course our money, to try get themselves re-elected.

Alot of people have now become aware of this scam and simply don't bother to vote.

So let's be clear Parliamentary sovereignty is a principle of the UK constitution. It makes Parliament the supreme legal authority in the UK, which can create or end any law. Generally, the courts cannot overrule its legislation and no Parliament can pass laws that future Parliaments cannot change.

So Jacob R-M's assertion is misleading whether intentionally or not I can not say.

Our first and fourth and sixth demand  addresses this problem  The first recognises our inherent sovereignty which is confirmed in law by the sixth which gives us a written constitution and the fourth, most importantly, gives us the real power to hold the government to account between elections without which we have democracy in name only.

Real democracy must see the People recognised as sovereign and with the power to say NO when we wish to say so.

Wednesday, 8 April 2020

Covid -19 and our Six Demands.

Our six demands come as a complete package and all with the aim of reforming our system of governance and our democracy.

So what is the relevance of our demands with regards the current crisis surrounding Covid-19?

Demand One - Restores inherent 'Sovereignty to the People' which importantly turns our politicians into our servants instead of our masters. 

Demand Two -Seeks 'Real Local Democracy' which means less centralisation and returning real power to local authorities. In this crisis that would have seen EHOs, with local knowledge, tackling their own areas rather than relying on Whitehall.

Demand Three - Sees an 'Elected PM and a Separation of Powers' which would allow the cabinet to be made up people outside parliament thus allowing our government to break out of the Westminster bubble.

Demand Four - 'The People's Consent' would allow us a direct say in the governments actions if we so desired.

Demand Five - 'No Taxation or Spending without Consent' only allows the government to spend our money with our permission.

Demand Six - 'A Written Constitution' confirming all the above changes is essential and of course importantly setting out that it is the 'People' and not parliament that are the sovereign power in this country.

Quite simply the democracy we currently have in this country is not real democracy and it is only when our six demands are enacted will this be changed.  

Friday, 7 February 2020

Why 'Freedom of Speech' is so important.

The threats to our 'Freedom of Speech' are real and dangerous for democracy.

The American consitution is not perfect but it did fall to the Americans to establish, what the Europeans had not, which is "governance of the people, by the people and for the people."

As Montesquieu believed, who influenced the American constitution, every man invested with power is apt to abuse it which he also argued meant power should be checked by power.

However, people without 'Freedom of Speech' will find it difficult to gain power. Our political elite, with their liking for Absolutism and Cameralism, need a compliant public.

Over the last 15 odd years the public have been silenced on major issues of concern like immigration and Climate Change and also other issues like HS2 or even the third runway at Heathrow. When, on our membership of the EU we were given a voice the 'Establishment' would not intitally accept our democratic decision.

If the 'People' are ever to win we cannot afford to be silenced and we must find our collective voice to break the spiral of silence and restore the foundations of our inalienable rights to 'Free Speech'.

Tuesday, 28 January 2020

What can a small group of thoughtful committed citizens do?

" Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed it's the only thing that ever has."

Anthropologist Margaret Mead quoted in the New York Times.

The above quote struck a cord with regards to the promotion of the THA's six demands.

However, while very true a "small group of thoughtful and committed citizens" will still need the support of the 'People' to help apply the maximum pressure possible on our politicians so that they have nowhere to hide and have to take heed of what we require them to do.

The beauty of THA is once in place the 'People' will have the permanent means and mechanisms to direct the government of the day and hold it to account.