Thursday, 28 November 2019

Honesty is the best policy.

As the old saying goes "honesty is the best policy" and while there are certainly occasions when you need to be careful, like answering the question from your wife " do I look good in this dress?", as a general rule of thumb I think it is true.

In the court room scene in the film 'A few good men' Tom Cruise ( the lawyer) demands of Jack Nicholson (Colonel Jessop) that he "wants the truth" to which the Colonel replies " You cannot handle the truth."

I believe many of this countries running sores are caused by not facing the truth and of course our politicians are completely culpable as they are often ignorant of the truth and also incapable of facing up to it when it hits them between the eyes. Another factor is that on the occasions when they do know the truth they fear that the 'People' won't be able to handle it.

Our six demands are built around the principle that the 'People's' inherent sovereignty should be recognised and that their collective common sense can not only handle the truth but demand it!

For far too long our politicians have based their decisions on the last lobbying group to sit on them and that is no way to run anything let alone a country of 66.5 million with our depth of history, culture and traditions.

For a long time I have felt that that the 'People's' views and desires trump those of the politicians that govern us who prove daily how out of touch with reality they are cocooned, as they are, in the Westminster bubble.

We demand and expect the truth from our politicians which is the only sensible way to be governed.        

Saturday, 16 November 2019

The folly of believing PR is the answer.

When  a 'personality' is asked their opinion about the perilous state of our parliament and goverance they invariably suggest that things would be improved with the introduction of a PR voting system.

This was certainly the case when I caught part of an interview, on Newsnight, with the comedian David Mitchell.

The advocates of PR believe that it would produce a more representative parliament consisting, as it would, of a greater number of political parties being represented.

I have long believed that our FPTP system, for all its faults, is still better than the endless coalitions that PR tends to produce. For those who believe PR is the missing 'Silver Bullet' we need to improve our governance I list below the three key reasons why it very quickly, after its introduction, makes matters worse.

First and foremost, a system of PR gives no more power to the people over their politicians between elections than they have now.

Second, at the time of an election nobody can be certain what parts of any party's election manifesto will prevail.

Third, a level of corruption becomes inbuilt as the parties do deals behind closed doors which of course excludes any participation by the people. And there is absolutely no proof, in countries with PR, that they are better governed.

Also it should be remembered that our two main parties are in themselves coalitions with a spectrum of views and opinions so at least we currently know which coalition of views will likely form the next government while PR simply produces more division and uncertainty.

The solution to improve our governance is to recognise the inherent sovereignty of the people and give them real power over their MPs and other officials.

Our six demands, not PR, are what is needed to improve our democracy and system of government.      

Thursday, 7 November 2019

The tail wagging the dog syndrome!

I have just finished Douglas Murray's latest book ' The Madness of Crowds' on gender, race and identity.

The overriding thought I was left with is the danger to society when the tail starts wagging the dog.

While it is essential that minority issues are supported and protected the current politicisation of the gender, race and identity issues would seem to indicate, by those aggressively advancing these issues, that they don't seek solutions and compromise but want outright confrontation.

This situation is very dangerous and as Murray says in his last two sentences "To assume that sex, sexuality and skin colour mean nothing would be ridiculous. But to assume that they mean everything will be fatal."

The answer to so much we are facing, as I've come to see since being involved with THA, is the enacting of our six demands which in essence make the people sovereign, demand one, and with the other five give a sovereign people the real power, if and when they wish, to tell government when they have had enough and what they would like done next.

THA does not seek to govern which rightly must be left to the government of the day. However when enough people wish to see the government take a certain action, whether the issue raised be a minority or majority matter, then our fourth demand 'The People's Consent' gives the people the power to advise the government, stop specific legislation and challenge the decisions of official bodies including the courts.

As our politics continues its decline into the gutter the resolution is simple - give the people real power as clearly and comprehensively set out in our six demands.

Monday, 4 November 2019

The age of protest.

Continuing the theme of my last post I also read in the latest issue of The Week, under the 'Controversy of the week', how the world is in a rage.

"How across the globe, angry people are taking to the streets in vast numbers. Sometimes the proximate cause is a price hike: in India, it was of onions; in Chile, of the fares on the metro. In Lebanon, it was a new tax on using Whatsapp; in France, higher fuel duties sparked the gilets jaunes protests. But the protests elsewhere - in Hong Kong, Moscow, Barcelona, Algiers - are more overtly a response to political repression and corruption."

The common thread according to Joshua Keating on Slate are austerity and the worsening inequality it brings.

A distinctive feature of these current protests is that they are largely leaderless organised by smartphones and inspired by hashtags and not central committees which makes it far more difficult for the authorities to trace the ringleaders.

Another factor is that the protesters are mostly the young who incidentally now make up about 41% of the global population of 7.7 billion who are 24 or under and in Africa 41% are under 15. Incidentally the growth in student numbers across the globe has risen giving us a ready pool of youngsters with too much time on their hands and a belly full of anti-establishment in their guts.

The more placid British don't seem to be rising to the occasion and I really do wonder, as I have for some time, what it will take to wake people up?

As I said in my post yesterday, once Brexit is out the way, we really do need to increase the efforts to educate the public at large and anyone interested in spreading the word can contact me off THA website front page at the 'contact' link at the top of the page.  

Saturday, 2 November 2019

The problem with content people!

I was struck by this quote by the columnist Frank Tyger from the American business magazine Forbes taken form my copy of The Week under the weekly heading 'Wit and Wisdom':-

"Progress is not created by content people." 

This is so true, and something I have consistently said, with regards the progress of our Agenda.

The point I have made is that the people in this country are generally still too comfortable, and if you also include the dominance of Brexit on the political scene, then it is quite understandable how reforming our governance is still a low priority.

However I do believe that the complete omnishambles our parliament, and in particular our MPs, have made over  Brexit is starting to awaken the people to the realities at Westminster and the need for reforming the system.

The good news is that our six demands exist and I believe cover all the important areas that need to be addressed if we are to achieve a system of governance that more closely reflects the desires and wishes of the majority of the electorate.

The promotion and progress our our six demands requires a steady programme of education up and down the country and so I'd ask anyone interested in helping to spread the word to get in touch from the 'Contact' link on our website.  

 

Monday, 21 October 2019

The people can often see what our politicians can not.

 The 'People' often register the 'bleeding obvious' before our own bubble dwelling politicians do.

Take the increasing evidence that the EU is heading for some seriously choppy water, which could well destroy it, as described in this article.




Our six demands, and in particular our fourth demand, gives us the real power over our politicians but with all the necessary checks and balances to prevent mob rule by a minority of active zealots.






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.