Monday, 17 September 2018

Our MPs do far too much yet achieve so little.

Only somebody divorced from the realities of political life would not be aware that the corridors of Parliament are littered with the corpses of failed marriages, with Boris Johnson as the latest high profile casualty.

As one commentator said recently:-

"It is not just the obvious reasons; the long hours; the late-night votes; the drinking culture; the endless travel; the nights away from home; the birthdays,sport days and school plays missed in favour of that all important vote.

It's also the fact that, however down to earth you may be to start, once you get inside the Palace of Westminster, MPs are treated like a demigod by a culture that operates like a gentleman's club in Mayfair. Meanwhile, at home, they're still expected to take out the bins."

Implicit in our Second Demand 'Real Local Democracy' is that our national MPs would only concentrate on the issues of national importance such as Defence, Home and Foreign Affairs and of course the overall budget of the government, which would restore a better work/life balance. Meanwhile local politicians, in a much enhanced role, would take care of all local issues on a county basis with the powers to raise taxes a proportion of which would be sent up to Westminster to finance central government. This is of course a complete reversal of our current system where central government largely controls local government expenditure.

In their reduced role, concentrating on national issues, there is absolutely no reason why MPs should have to work every day of the week and indeed secondary employment would be encouraged. In such a way should the tally of failed marriages be reduced.

THA's demands set out a whole new way to govern this country in which the 'People' have real power, Local Politicans become important figures making real decisions and National Politicians only get to concentrate on the key issues of State.

As Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa wrote in his novel The Leopard "everything needs to change, so everything can stay the same"


Saturday, 1 September 2018

Holiday time.

There will be a two week pause in my weekly posts as I'm off to France tomorrow until the 14th.

In the meantime those interested in really understanding what we are all about and how our demands would work in practise need to read and spend a while reflecting on our 29 page pamphlet:-

It's all there, in this short document, and I still find re-reading it, especially demand four the 'People's Consent', very useful to confirm my understanding.

Finally I'll end with a 'Thought for today' from Ludwig von Mises:-

"The worst events which mankind has ever had to endure were inflicted by bad governments."

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Membership of the EU is not compatible with our Agenda.

As we made very clear in our pamphlet on page 26, direct democracy embodied in THA is not compatible with membership of the EU which is why we affiliated ourselves with The Leave Alliance before the referendum.

Here is the link to our pamphlet:-

On this subject I believe the words of Michael Foot before the 1975 referendum are particularly pertinent, which I was reminded of from this blog post by the blogger Pete North.

Here is what Michael Foot said:-

"People didn't fight for the vote just to have the fun of electioneering. They wanted to see that the vote that they used at the ballot box could change things, stop things, alter things, remove governments when necessary. That's one of the principal reasons for having a vote. But that's not going to happen if we're going to stay in the Market and if we become enmeshed in the whole of their machinery and apparatus - because what will happen then is that you can go and have an election in this country in which you can vote out the government here - but you won't be voting out all the governments that meet in Brussels to decide what is going to happen to us. [...] It is that precious inheritance given us by the people who fought for the right to vote, fought for the right to form trade unions, fought for the right to establish their own institution, fought for the right to have an elected house of commons which should be the supreme authority in this country and answerable to nobody else. It is those things that are at stake in this campaign. We will have plenty of problems to solve after June the Fifth, but let us make it clear that, not merely to our own country, but to the other countries that we believe here in Britain we can solve these problems by using the strength of our democratic institutions instead of casting them aside in this trivial wanton way."

So reform of our democracy and governance starts by leaving the EU and then getting enough people engaged to push for our six demands. If and when the peoples of the UK want to reform our system of governance THA is ready and awaiting with a template for that reform that has yet to be bettered since its conception in 2012.

Monday, 20 August 2018

The rise of the bluffocracy.

In this week's Spectator the main article is written by James Ball and Andrew Greenway who co-wrote their newly released book 'Bluffocracy.'

The key points from their article are:-

1. Far too often government policy collapses as a result of MPs and civil servants whose knowledge extends a mile wide but only and inch deep. These are people able to talk themselves out of trouble rather than learning how to run things carefully. Our institutions run on short-termism.

2. Our MPs increasingly come from the same 'political reseachers' background with for example only 9% of candidates at the last election with a degree in science or technology with the Labour party only have one engineer out of 258 MPs.  As a result MPs spend their time 'spinning' arguments they often don't understand and certainly don't mean.

3. Bluffers are made not born often with a degree in PP&E with ministers spending far too little time in any given department. Sajid Javid, for example, has had seven jobs in six years and many civil servants suffering the same syndrome with the D for E the EU losing one in 10 staff every three months.

4. Civil servants who get on 'are those that can write a good minute which gets a minister out of trouble' rather than ' those who can run things so that they don't get into trouble in the first place'.

5. The media are just as bad at exposing the 'bluffers' and holding them to account as journalist are generalists having to turn their hand to any number of subjects and end up 'playing the game of politics'.

6.  The public are tiring of this system with 55% saying MPs should have had another job.

7. They don't see this system changing any time soon outside of a decent sized war to shake things up. They finish by writing "It's time to reshape our institutions to let the experts in, to reward serious knowledge. We need a system that works, and experts who are willing to join it. Any volunteers?"

I agree with much of this article and it supports nicely the other book I frequently quote 'Blunders of our Governments by King and Crewe.

The missing ingredient in my opinion is the omission of the part we 'The People' must play in any new system and reform of our governance for without them having the necessary POWER to, where and when necessary, control our governments they will always resort back to the bluffocracy culture.

Sunday, 12 August 2018

'Anarchy' by E. Malatesta. (Part Two)

Having now read the above's short book, of only 43 pages, I'll readily admit I was not aware that Anarchy is an 'ism' closely associated with Socialism.

The philosophy  centres around  the belief that the world would be much better place without any governments and that people would co-exist in harmony, free of the suppression from mostly 'class' ridden authorities. An indispensable condition for this emancipation is the possession of the means of production, of the soil and instruments of labor and further the abolition of private property. This society of free men, this society of friends would be Anarchy. Well in the late 19th and early 20th century they were clearly not adverse to dreaming!

Anarchist believe all governments oppress and exploit the masses to service their own ends and on that they certainly have a point. However I would suggest Anarchy has never been tried because their solution, of replacing governments with 'people cooperation', has such obvious inherent risks.

Anarchist could only conceive of their ideals based on Socialism and believe that governments need to be expelled by revolution allowing their theory to be put into practise. Interestingly even though its sister 'Socialism' has been tried and proved to fail it still rolls on as a political creed.

It is because Anarchy has never been tried nor likely to be that I would suggest most people believe Anarchy means a state of confusion and disorder brought about by the absence of a workable government.

I believe Malatesta's ideas are fundamentally flawed which explains why they have never been tried. I believe we need governments but, in tune with Anarchists I agree  that 'the people' must be given the real power to make their own decisions in keeping with the principles of Direct Democracy.

I totally agree with Anarchists that over time governments become corrupt and corrupting but the solutions lie in our six demands which to date I have not seen anything better for improving our governance. 

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

'Anarchy' by E. Malatesta. (Part One)

I've just read the first two pages of the above today, which is only 43 pages long, that was written by Errico Malatesta (1853-1932) who was an Italian anarchist.

Of the two definitions, taken off Google, below I only thought it meant the first (1.1) where as in fact its original meaning, Malatesta points out, was the second definition (2.2).

noun: anarchy
  1. 1.
    a state of disorder due to absence or non-recognition of authority or other controlling systems.

    "he must ensure public order in a country threatened with anarchy"

    synonyms:lawlessness, absence of government, nihilism, mobocracy, revolution, insurrection, riot, rebellion, mutiny, disorder, disorganization, misrule, chaos, tumult, turmoil, mayhem, pandemonium

    "the country is threatened with anarchy"
    antonyms:government, order
  2. 2.
    absence of government and absolute freedom of the individual, regarded as a political ideal.
The point is that today there is a presumption that we need governments to function from day to day but I seem to recall recently that  Belgium survived 589 days without an elected government between 2010-11 and they seemed to manage just fine.

I'll have more to say when I've finished the book next week but suffice to say for now I for one think that the presumption that we cannot survive without the level of governance we currently have is wrong.

My main belief however is that what we need is not no governance but a different kind.

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

The collective will of the people should be paramount.

Our six demands are based on the premise that democracy means 'people power' with sovereignty recognised as residing ultimately with 'the people' as opposed to Parliament.

A frequent point that comes up, when commenting on Dr North's blog EU Referendum, is that the people's views can not be trusted and it is better to leave decision making to our politicians.

I completely reject this view and believe very strongly that the collective views of the people are on balance of greater value than those our politicians arrive at.

Then its usually argued, by those who don't trust the people, that our politicians are better informed but, I then point out, that the reality is that they live in a bubble and receive a great deal of their information form lobbying organisations. So then these anti-democrats say that the people are also subject to much 'duff' information so again it is best to leave decision making to the professionals.

My view is that those who argue this way are afraid that their own views will not tally with the collective will of the people - they are certainly not real democrats.

Just consider this analogy about information adapted from the book 'Homo Deus'. When you read the Bible you are getting advice from a few priests and rabbis who lived in ancient Jerusalem. Similarly our current batch of politicians, with far too many becoming MPs after being political researchers, have very limited experiences of life. In contrast the views and opinions of the people take in all ages and backgrounds and have evolved and been shaped and controlled by the harshest quality control tests of natural selection.

Finally, if you really believe in democracy then you have ultimately to accept the collective will of the people and I for one have greater faith in them than I do in our politicians. Of course the more in tune our politicians become with the people the less we would need to interfere in their decision making. However we would always have demand four, 'The People's Consent,' to express our views, if our politicians were to reverted to the current governance of  'we know best what's good for you'.