Saturday, 5 October 2019

Supreme Court ruling.

The main trouble with the above is that it wasn't the 'People' asking the court to rule on the government's proroguing of parliament but the rich elite, in the form of Gina Miller, who have taken it upon themselves to impose their views, beliefs and standards on the rest of us.

The same will be true if we ever get a 'People's vote'. It won't be the 'People' demanding it but again it will be imposed on us by a largely Remain parliament.

THA's fourth demand, The People's Consent, is in three parts with the third part establishing the right for the 'People', if they so chose, to challenge decisions and I quote from our pamphlet.

"This category would include certain types of decisions by government or official bodies, - by elected and appointed officials including ministers and judges.

Clearly, there could not be a referendum for every one (or even a tiny number) of the hundreds of thousands of decisions made each day, so the type of decisions amenable to challenge would have to be specified. Mainly, one could imagine, the '"negative" resolution procedure would have to apply, where decisions are deemed to have been approved unless challenged.

With certain types of formal decisions, such as planning approvals - and even, maybe sentences handed down by judges for certain types of criminal case - one could see referendums triggered by a set number of objections, with a majority vote enabling a decision to be rejected. In effect this would be a form of popular judicial review.

Putting the people back in the driving seat in this way entails a real transfer of power from the political elites to the people. But, there are ways of undermining the power, as have seen with EU referendums, where polls have been repeated until the people get the "answer right". To prevent this, we would expect to see a "don't ask again" rule introduced. For instance, a law proposed by the executive and approved by parliament but rejected in a referendum, could not be reintroduced for a number of years.

Periods up to 25 years for a "don't ask again" rule have been suggested, although there is a possible alternative of adding a yes/no question to referendums. By this means voters are asked whether they wish to be consulted again on the issue, within the defined period."

Real democracy demands the 'People' hold the ultimate power over decisions of the executive,government, parliament, other elected officials and judges.


 

 




 

Sunday, 15 September 2019

"Let the people decide"

"Let the people decide" was the catch phrase of the Referendum party in 1997 and I still believe that the collective will of the 'People' beats the views of our politicians especially the likes of the illiberal undemocratic Liberal Democrats! However the point is that the people need really power, written into and recognised in a new constitution, for the will of the people to become a reality.

I'm now away on holiday in France until 26th September and wonder what will change while I'm away?

All I do know is that the more the Brexit debacle goes on the more convinced I am that I'd rather listen to the majority views of the people than the self-important opinions of our politicians.

THA's six demands, to reform our system of governance, are increasingly needed more than ever but they will not happen without the collective understanding and support of the people. Sadly, while some people can see our system of governance needs reforms far too many are too busy getting on with their lives and trying to make ends meet.

Spreading the word about THA is not the same thing as forming a new party as Nigel Farage did with his Brexit Party.

If anyone had the answer to promoting THA there was nothing stopping them trying but the reality is the time is not yet ripe but I do believe our time will come if we are patient.

Monday, 9 September 2019

Real Local Democracy

I was reminded recently that Iceland has a population of 338,349 with 63 Representatives in their parliament and by my reckoning that is one Representative for every 5371 people.

On top of this they also have 59 local municipalities.                                                                                                                                                                                                           
On the other hand we have a population of 67,597,264 and 650 MPs making each MP responsible for 103,995.

In our second demand for Real Local Democracy we argue that local politicians , often responsible for up to 500,000 people, need real powers to run and manage things locally, like schools and hospitals, currently run from the centre.

In this way our national MPs could be reduced to say 400 as their main focus would be on Foreign Affairs and International Relations, National Security and Defence.

If this had been the case before Brexit we just might have had MPs who had some idea of what they were talking about.

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

The wise words of Edmund Burke

"I am not one of those who think that the people are never in the wrong. They have been so, frequently and outrageously, both in other countries and in this. But I do say that in all disputes between them and their rulers, the presumption is at least upon a par in favour of the people."

"Why are our politicians so crap?"

I watched the Jeremy Paxman programme last night on Channel 5 "Why our politicians so crap?" and the following discussion chaired by Jeremy Vine.

While it was abundantly clear that our politicians are 'crap' with some of the obvious reasons explored and discussed both programmes were mainly 'noise' with little substance.

As to solutions the only ones offered by Paxman, at the end of his programme, were that the number of MP's should be reduced (THA demand two), the remainder should be paid more ( possibly but by local negotiation only) and that parliament itself should be moved out of London to say Wolverhampton (a silly idea!).

What we really need is to change the the complete SYSTEM of our governance based on the 'People' being recognised as sovereign.

What we need are THA's six demands.   

Sunday, 11 August 2019

The People are key to protecting our freedoms.

 
While campaigning  groups and individuals do there best to try and hold each government of the day to account, whenever it transgresses our freedoms, what we really need is a permanent solution for keeping our governments in check which needs to be established on a statutory basis. 

To me the answer lies in the significant political reforms as advocated by the six demands of The Harrogate Agenda which seeks, as its most basic, to make our politicians our servants and not our masters.

Our first demand turns on its head the fundamental assumption on which the UK is based, which is that Parliament is sovereign. This is an archaic convention which belongs to the days of the horse and cart, when the outlying provinces had to send their representatives to Westminster in journeys lasting days, then not to see them for months, perforce to trust their judgement.

In a world of instant communications, it is no longer necessary to argue for a sovereign parliament. In modern democracies the people exert their sovereignty. The people of the UK comprise the ultimate authority of their nations and are the source of all political power. The fact should be recognised by the Crown and the Governments of our nations and our Parliaments and Assemblies.

However, when it comes to real democracy, this frames our second demand. We believe that the foundation of our democracy shall be the counties (or other local units as may be defined), which should become constitutional bodies exercising, under the control of their people, all powers of legislation, taxation and administration not specifically granted to the national government. Democracy is nothing if it is not local.

Our third demand addresses national government and calls for the separation of powers. The executive should be separated from the legislature. Prime ministers should be elected by popular vote and they should appoint their ministers, with approval of parliament, to assist in the exercise of their powers and responsibilities.

One of the most powerful and most controversial, however, is our fourth demand, where we demand that no law, treaty or government decision shall take effect without the consent of the majority of the people, by positive vote if so demanded. Furthermore, no law shall continue to have effect when consent is withdrawn by the majority of the people.

Our fifth demand requires that there should be no taxation or spending without consent. No tax, charge or levy should be imposed, nor any public spending authorised nor any sum borrowed by any national or local government, except with expressed approval of the majority of the people, renewed annually on presentation of a budget which shall first have been approved by their respective legislatures.

That brings us to our final sixth demand. Accepting that there are many flaws in our current constitution, we do not presume to dictate what it should contain. Instead, we demand the setting up of a constitutional convention. Parliament, once members of the executive are excluded, must host this to draw up a definitive codified constitution for the UK.

Crucially, it should recognise the sovereign status of the people and their inherent, inalienable rights, latterly to be approved by them through the mechanism of a referendum.

All this is of course not going to happen overnight but we in The Harrogate Agenda are prepared for the long game learning from the Chartists before us that took around 75 years to get five of their six demands enacted. Only with our six demands enacted will the political climate exist that allows the people to preserve the freedoms that they hold dear and not see them whittled away by our politicians who currently act as our masters and not our servants.    









Thursday, 25 July 2019

Populism


It is easy to see why the gullible and lazy or simply impatient turn their support to populist movements and parties as they believe that they will bring instant results.  However history teaches us that to change the status quo takes time and persistence.

In Greece the electorate’s flirtation with a populist party has just come to an end and one wonders how long it will be before the scales fall from the eyes of the Italians who support the 5 Star party?

In our own country the electorate never gave Nigel Farage’s UKIP enough votes to gain an MP at Westminster and I suspect the same will be true of the new Brexit Party. As for Boris the public have yet to be asked whether they want him and I believe he will not receive the endorsement he is expecting if and when an election is held.

The two key problems with Populist parties is that they have no intellectual depth and second they end up trying to turn the tide operating in the same corrupted political system. It is therefore not surprising that they wither almost as quickly as they rise.

The Harrogate Agenda seeks to address this situation with it’s six demands offering the political reform first which will then allow a new system of governance to emerge that will be able to cleanse the corrupted and corrupt status quo with the a sovereign people, with the real power to act as the guardians of their own future.