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'.  

  

 

Wednesday, 25 July 2018

The use and value of referenda.

It's at times like this, as the government's Brexit train heads for the buffers, that I think about the advantages of our fourth demand 'The People's Consent'.

This demand covers three uses for referenda during the political process. The first allow for the people to raise a new issue but the result would only ever be advisory. The second gives the power to the people to stop proposed government legislation and the third would allow the people their say, over certain types of decisions made by government or official bodies and by elected and appointed officials, including ministers and judges.

It is the second area that would now be really useful, if our demands were in force, as it  would allow the people the final say on the terms the government finally puts to parliament.  This is because  we clearly state that all constitutional measures or any laws which had the effect of changing the constitution would automatically trigger a referendum for the people to decide if the agreed with what was proposed in the bill.

This would of course render the current debate, about a second referendum, redundant as we would be given the final say after a nationwide debate on the issues.

There is not much not to like about our fourth demand 'The People's Consent."


Thursday, 19 July 2018

Dirert Democracy Liechtenstein style.

I was just driving back for my local shop listen to the World at One on Radio Four and Blair was featuring in I believe the final report on how we avoided joining the Euro. The reporter pointed out how Brown had introduced his five economic tests, for the Euro, thus in effect ruling out us joining. To this point Blair replied:-

" You know, why, unless one wanted to make some kinda political point, would you ever rule anything out?"

Well there you have the utterances of a truly expedient politician who has not one principle on which he would be prepared to stand.

The rot to our parliamentary system accelerated under Blair's governments which is now it is long due the reforms we propose in our six demands.

Switzerland is usually cited as the home of Direct Democracy but little old Liechtenstein, small as it is, practices it in bucket loads.

Copy this link and listen to the current Prince of Liechtenstein, Hans-Adam II, being interviewed about how DD in his country works:-     

   https://www.samizdata.net/2018/06/the-prince-of-prosperity-and-secession/

The interview lasts around 30 minutes which I found very interesting with the main lesson I learnt being that one does not have real democracy until the views of ordinary people really do matter.

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Is Direct Democracy catching on?

Direct Democracy gets a mention at the end of this eight minute clip on Alice Weidel who is the leader of the Alternatives for Germany (AfD) speaking to Merkel in the Bundestag.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZ66coDh14s

I apologize that you have to type in the link or copy and paste it into Google but I haven't yet sorted out the problem.



Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Parish council referendums

Two of our six demands involve the use of referenda and over the years the government has used them over devolution, an alternative voting system and of course, most recently, leaving the EU.

Critics often say that holding frequent referenda is unworkable, and so it would be without checks and balances and bench marks that have to be met before they take place.

As this link explains Parish referendums are alive and well in Hadleigh.

http://www2.politicalbetting.com/index.php/archives/2018/06/26/a-little-local-difficulty-a-forgotten-part-of-english-democracy/

For some reason, I must get fixed, links don't seem to work on this blog so here is the essence:-


It turns out that all is not well in Hadleigh. The town council has been riven with factional in-fighting. This has percolated into the pages of the Suffolk Free Press and the East Anglian Daily Times. Now a group of well-organised dissidents, under the banner “Hadleigh Together”, have forced a referendum of confidence in the town council, alleging mismanagement and that it is dysfunctional. The town goes to the polls on Thursday. Both sides had issued leaflets putting their case. The dissidents’ case can be found here and here.

I can honestly say that I had never heard of such a thing. So I did some digging. And I found out that I know rather less about the English political system than I thought. For parish residents have long had the right to call for parish polls on whatever topic they choose, provided that a third of electors present at a parish meeting are in favour (and not fewer than 10). At this point the local district council must hold a poll. The result is advisory only.  The Hadleigh Together group have called for just such a parish poll.

This mechanism has been used hundreds of times over the years (no one seems to know how often, no one seems to have been interested enough to keep track). The subject matter has been many and varied: at least one parish conducted a parish poll on whether to hold a referendum on EU membership – it passed convincingly, as it happens.

All this time commentators have been telling us that referendums weren’t a longstanding part of British politics and it turns out they were wrong. Voters up and down the country have been passing judgements on car parking arrangements, low level radioactive waste and whether to allow a Tesco’s for many years. No doubt you all knew this. I didn’t.

The people's increased participation in our democracy can best be achieved through referenda as the people of Hadleigh are showing.






Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Petitions to the UK government and parliament.

I recently, for the hell of it, signed one of those petitions, this one on the abolition of the House of Lords, which guarantees a debate in parliament given a certain threshold of signatures are collected.

I received this e-mail after the debate in the House of Commons which deserves a First Class degree for bascially saying 'WE WILL BE TOTALLY IGNORING YOU' and this is their second attempt to give a 'better' answer!


The Government’s response to this petition has changed. This change took place on 19 June 2018.
This is because the Petitions Committee (the group of MPs who oversee the petitions system) did not think that the Government’s first response was satisfactory, because it did not address directly the petition’s specific request for a referendum on the abolition of the House of Lords.
The Committee wrote to the Government to ask for a new response which answered the petition more directly.
The Government has produced a new response:
As stated in our manifesto, comprehensive reform of the House of Lords is not a priority for this parliament.
Therefore, the Government does not intend to hold a referendum on the abolition of the House of Lords.
As set out in the manifesto, comprehensive reform of the House of Lords is not a priority. Therefore, the Government does not intend to hold a referendum on the abolition of the House.
The Government is committed to ensuring that the House of Lords continues to fulfil its constitutional role as a revising and scrutinising chamber which respects the primacy of the House of Commons. We will also continue to work to ensure that the House of Lords remains relevant and effective by addressing issues such as its size.
The Lord Speaker’s committee on the size of the House of Lords, chaired by Lord Burns, made recommendations in October 2017 on ways of reducing the size of the House without requiring legislation. In response, The Prime Minister has written to the Lord Speaker and agreed to continue with the restraint she has shown so far when making appointments to the House. It is incumbent on all sides of the House to consider what they can do to further promote the culture of retirement. In light of the Prime Minister's letter, the Lord Speaker has reconvened the Committee to consider next steps.
This has replaced the previous response which said:
The Government is committed to ensuring that the House of Lords continues to fulfil its constitutional role as a revising and scrutinising chamber which respects the primacy of the House of Commons.
As set out in the manifesto, the Government is committed to ensuring that the House of Lords continues to fulfil its constitutional role as a revising and scrutinising chamber which respects the primacy of the House of Commons.
Whilst comprehensive reform is not a priority, the Government will also continue to work to ensure that the House of Lords remains relevant and effective by addressing issues such as its size.
The Lord Speaker’s committee on the size of the House of Lords, chaired by Lord Burns, made recommendations in October 2017 on ways of reducing the size of the House without requiring legislation. In response, The Prime Minister has written to the Lord Speaker and agreed to continue with the restraint she has shown so far when making appointments to the House. It is incumbent on all sides of the House to consider what they can do to further promote the culture of retirement. In light of the Prime Minister's letter, the Lord Speaker has asked the Committee to reconvene to consider next steps.
Thanks,
The Petitions team
UK Government and Parliament.


This is why nothing will change until we get the THA's six demands enacted.

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Campaign to restore British counties

I had a conference call on Sunday  with the Founder, Pam Moorhouse and Manager, Gerard Dugdill, of the British Counties Campaign.

https://britishcounties.org

 I have empathy with their campaign and as a part of our second demand ' Real Local Democracy' we believe local authorities could be based on counties,cities or the former county boroughs.

The trouble with this or any other campaign is that the only way it will see the light of day is to convince a governing party to adopt the policy, pass it into law and pay for it.

There are two key points to make here. First, It is my considered opinion that, with our existing system of governance in place, this is extremely unlikely. Second, even if it did come to pass then with our sovereign parliament, unable to bind successive governments, there is nothing to stop another parliament doing a 'Ted Heath' on us.

The issue highlighted above also applies to Brexit which is why our six demands are part of Flexcit for until the people are recognised as sovereign, instead of parliament, then the last word resides with Parliament and not us. So it is for this reason every campaign should support THA and our six demands.

One important consideration for all campaign groups is that once the views of the majority count then everyone has to accept their will, as and when exercised, and if your particular 'hobby horse' is not supported by the majority then you have a lot more convincing to do. 

Finally a real bonus for democracy is that with a sovereign people many existing 'minority' pressure groups would lose their influence over governments and so the whole 'Green'  business and bandwagon would have to face the cold reality that most sensible people are not duped by their propaganda.



    

 

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

How will we ever beat the Establishment?

I believe that protest movements will seldom if ever beat the existing 'Establishment' and resorting to any form of physical confrontation will absolutely be guaranteed to fail as the authorities hold all the law & order cards.

These are the problems faced by The Iraq War Campaign Group, led by Reg Keys who lost his son in Iraq. Having failed to hold Blair personally to account they have recently made a submission to the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee's enquiry looking into 'Safeguards for proper Government decision making.'

While the Group were pleased that the Committee recognised the need for 'New safeguards for proper process on decision-making' they were disappointed that 'There is no case for rules on collective decision making in the Cabinet Manual being placed on a statutory footing.'

In other words, in very simple terms, nothing much is likely to change as the 'Establishment' looks after its own.

What Reg Keys and his campaign need is to see the introduction of our six demands which specifically under demand four, The people's consent, would allow the voice of the people to be heard and in all likelihood, had it been in place before the war in Iraq, could well have stopped the government from embarking on that disastrous war in the first place.

The question then arises as to how we get our six demands enacted and the only answer to that is that enough people have got to be bothered to demand them and pressurise their MPs for our reforms  to improve the way we are governed.

As I mention above any protests that turn violent will be crushed by the authorities but as Gene Sharp outlines in his 123 page little book, From Dictatorship to Democracy, there are plenty of ideas and scope for successful peaceful protests, importantly within the law, which have been used in the past successfully. All that is needed is for sufficient people to wake up to the need for our agenda and then of course be prepared to do something about it.

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

The sovereignty of our parliament.


Our first demand is that the people must be recognized as sovereign, so what does this actually mean?

The Royal powers of our sovereign monarch, were finally removed by the Bill of Rights 1689. The Bill of Rights also removed the ability of the Crown to dispense with or ignore legislation and statutes. Such a right had culminated in the Declaration of Indulgence of 1687, which had ushered in the Glorious Revolution. That led the Earl of Shaftesbury to declare in 1689, "The Parliament of England is that supreme and absolute power, which gives life and motion to the English government" Finally The Act of Settlement of 1700 removed royal power over the judiciary and defined a vote of both houses as the sole method of removing a judge.

Therefore our Parliament is 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. Parliamentary sovereignty is the most important part of the UK constitution. As a result what one government passes can be changed by another and so, as a purely hypothetical example,  there would be nothing stopping any future government applying to re-join the EU.

This why our first demand, on which the other five depend, is so important and demands that we ‘the people’ must be recognised as sovereign so that it is only through our consent that constitutional changes can be made and this would all be set out within a new written constitution which is of course our sixth and final demand.

Sovereignty or power once rested with the monarch and now resides with our parliament and there is no good reason why it should not be moved again so as to recognise the people as sovereign. All we have to do is get enough of us to demand this to happen.