Tuesday, 13 April 2021

Why only the people can achieve radical political change.

 In 2006 the, 300-page, report ‘POWER to the People’ was published. This was an Independent Inquiry into Britain’s Democracy being a centenary project of the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust and the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust.  

The report was chaired by Helena Kennedy QC and supported by a dozen 'Power Commissioners' and received submissions, in various formats, from around 1000 individuals and organisations as well as contributions from around 170 ‘experts’ which included 30 local and national politicians.

The Foreword opened with these two sentences "This is not a report simply about constitutional change. It is a report about giving people real influence over the bread-and-butter issues which affect their lives." There is nothing in the following four pages with which I would disagree as it outlined the need for democratic reform and the transfer of power from the centre to local communities.

However, the sheer fact I doubt many of you have any recollection of this report let alone any of the 30 recommendations, yes 30, to improve our democracy rather speaks for itself. I also note that its own website www.powerinquiry.org has been taken down, there now only being a Wiki entry and a copy of the report on the Joseph Rowntree website to prove it ever existed.

Looking at the recommendations there are a dozen, I’d support, which tie in directly with our six demands in areas like a Written Constitution, a Separation of Power and the People’s Consent. However, the majority would not improve our governance or our democracy at all which the Forward so clearly stated was their aim, examples include: -

  • ·         Limits should be placed on the power of the whips – Good luck with that!
  • ·         Voting age should be reduced to 16 – That should do it!
  • ·         State funding for parties – Open to corruption.
  • ·         Consideration of text and e-mail voting - ditto
  • ·         Reform of media ownership – an old unsolvable chestnut.
  • ·         A new independent Nat. Statistical Service to provide info to the public – open to bias.

In conclusion this type of inquiry, sums up the futility of such reports, produced by the supposed ‘Great and the Good’ because if the status quo is challenged the ‘Establishment’ will quietly ignore it and eventually bury it.

If the people want to reform our system governance and regain their inherent sovereignty they are going to have to wake up and demand the necessary changes or else accept the inevitable continuation of our national decline under our current incompetent, corrupt and self-serving politicians.




  1. What a depressing report and no, I hadn’t heard of it. Although I read of occasional dubious comments by the Baroness, Helena Kennedy’s book “Just Law” (2005) was good. She explained just one of the poorly understood reasons why we had to leave the EU.

    “The first mistake is a failure to see that law is cultural. ... Unlike the rest of Europe, which has what is called the 'civil law' system with codified laws and a career judiciary, we have a common law system. ... The common law on the other hand was essentially created by judges as they decided actual cases. … One of the reasons why contemporary markets thrive in common-law-based nations is because Napoleonic, codified systems entrench bureaucracy. The dead hand of the state is heavier where there is little legal flexibility. ... The civil system is an inquisitorial system, whereas our system is adversarial. … In many ways laws are the autobiography of a nation and in Britain we have many proud stories to tell but we also have shameful chapters. This book is meant to be an alarm call about the way our liberties are being eroded. A serious abandonment of principle is in train; all of us have to say it's time to stop. “

    You will know all about the dangers of the inquisitorial system from “The Secret Barrister: Stories of the Law and How It's Broken“ (2018).

    Those report recommendations are outstandingly poor. Voting at 16? Come on!! State funding for parties!! I thought that was dead a long time ago. I would be ashamed to have my name on such a report. Your conclusions are spot on, IMO.

  2. You appear to be saying she supported Brexit but from what I know she was a typical 'Liberal Elite' Remainer?

    1. You would think, from her 2005 book, that she would have supported leaving the EU. What happened? That goes to show just how infectious is the 'Liberal Elite' Remainer faction.

      Despite good words at times, it is by their fruit that you shall know them.

  3. A liberal philosophy appears to trump all else. See this week's post about John Marsh's book.