Tuesday 24 April 2018

What are our MPs for?

I was struck to ask the above question after I was delivered a leaflet last week, from my Parish Council, inviting me to meet my Conservative MP, David Warburton on Saturday 21st April between 10.30-11.30, at our village hall to raise concerns with him about - and I quote from the leaflet:-

Potholes, planning, broadband, mobile phone coverage, school transport, housing, education, drainage, rural isolation, the NHS and ice and snow.

Does anyone reading this seriously believe that these are topics that should concern our MPs?

My answer is unequivocal, that these are issues that should be dealt with by local politicians leaving our MPs to concentrate predominately on matters of national and international concern. With Brexit very likely to lead to a self inflicted economic hit as our government struggles to come up with a coherent policy to leave the political EU but maintain our trade, I do not want my MP wasting his time on the the issue of potholes.

Our second demand for 'Real Local Democracy' states - 'The foundation of our democracy shall be the counties ( or other local units as may be defined), which shall become constitutional bodies exercising under the control of their peoples all powers of legislation, taxation, and administration not specifically granted by the people to the national government.'

Under our proposals local politicians take on real responsibilities and have a proper job of work to do serving their local communities, thus driving up the calibre of the individuals concerned, leaving MPs, who we propose reducing from 650 to around 400, able to concentrate on matters concerning our nation state.

So is it Potholes or Brexit?

I know which of the two I want my MP to concentrate on especially given the astounding amount of raw ignorance there is at Westminster over the basics of Brexit as our MPs struggle to comprehend the differences between leaving the political EU but maintain the important existing levels of trade that we currently benefit from within the Single Market. 

Tuesday 17 April 2018

Major political reform takes time.

While waiting in the doctors surgery, with my 92 year old mother, I came across an article on the Suffragettes in this year’s February issue of Country Life, which contained a neat summary of the timescale involved from the movements conception in 1832 to completion in 1918. To do the maths for you that totals 86 years.

This chronological list of dates was called ‘The road to victory’ and contained 12 key dates as follows:-

1832 – First petition to parliament demanding women’s rights presented by MP Henry Hunt on behalf of Mary Smith of Yorkshire.

1866 -  Second petition to parliament.

1867 – Third petition to parliament.

1897 -  Millicent Garrett Fawcett sets up National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies (NUWSS)

1903 -   Emmeline Pankhurst breaks away from NUWSS to form the more radical Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU)

1906 – The term Suffragette appears in print for the first time.

1909 – Suffragette Marion Wallace Dunlop goes on hunger strike in prison and is force feed.

1910 -  ‘Black Friday’ protests break out in reaction to Conciliation Bill which would have permitted some women to vote.

1912 – The Parliamentary Franchise (Women) Bill narrowly defeated leading to widespread unrest.

1913 – WSPU member Emily Wilding Davison kill under King’s horse at Epsom.

1914 – Suffragettes and Suffragists pause campaign to help war effort.

1918 – The Representation of the People Act gave women of property over 30 the right to vote but all men over 21.

Now if you add in two further dates as below the total time taken from the start of the suffragettes movement  to all women being able to vote who are over 18 is 137 years.

1928 – Women over 21 get the right to vote.

1969 – Men and women over 18 get the right to vote.    

It is a constant theme of mine to point out that the enactment of THA’s six demands is going to take time and it is essential we don’t strike out too quickly or early before we have a groundswell of popular support. That the progress is slow is of course frustrating but if we are not to fade away altogether then we must go at a steady pace and importantly keep THA pilot light still burning.

There is however one key ingredient we have that our forefathers never had and that is the Internet to help spread the word and is something we really need to develop with the help of our supporters.   

Tuesday 10 April 2018

Who’s opinions should carry more weight - politicians or the people?

Given that the basic definition of the word democracy is ‘people power’ taken from the Greek words demos meaning people and kratos meaning power then there can no argument against the people’s opinions being taken into account.  After all, if juries, made up of members of the public, can sit in judgement on their fellow man then there is no good reason why their views on other issues should not be taken into account.

Today far too many decisions are taken by our elected representatives on matters that were never discussed during the election campaign. What makes todays cross section of MPs believe they alone have the insight and right to legislate on our behalf without seeking our approval? Don’t forget that our 650 MPs represent 0.0014% of the electorate!

Then the argument is put that the people are to ill-informed to have their views heard and taken account of. However even if this were true, which I don’t accept, then if you consider the breakdown of our social grades and disregard the opinions of say the D&Es then the rest still form 74%.

Higher & intermediate managerial, administrative, professional occupations
Supervisory, clerical & junior managerial, administrative, professional occupations
Skilled manual occupations
Semi-skilled & unskilled manual occupations, Unemployed and lowest grade occupations

Another key point to grasp is that once a system of Direct Democracy is up and running, in line with our six demands, the people will not want to exercise their right to have their voices heard on every action and nuance of governance but they may well wish to have their say on the major issues of the day. Bearing this in mind I favour the collective wishes of a majority of the people over the distorted and blinkered views of the very illiberal elite who currently govern us.

The last point to cover in this post is the issue of the access to information. In the distance past the Bible was the source of all knowledge and consulted to try and answer all the questions of the day. Then over time we moved into the realms of the elder statesmen (or women) who used their experience and wisdom, with others, to tackle the issues facing them in government. Now we are burdened with a new breed of ‘Here today gone tomorrow’ MPs more concerned with their celebrity status and I simply will never accept that their views are better than those of the majority of the electorate.

In time, as covered in the thought provoking book’ Homo Deus’ algorithms may well give us the best answers and solutions as to what government action should be taken to any given problem but until then I want to see the people as sovereign with the mechanisms to have their voice heard and only acted on given that set criteria are met.      

A new centrist party.

Just a quick word on the news that Simon Franks, who made his money in DVD rentals, has put up £50 million to form a new centrist party.

I believe very strongly that the idea, if implemented, will never take off or make much of a difference for the main reason that any new party, however configured, still has to operate in the same Westminster system that is well past its sell by date. 

The Indpendent had a good headline today much of which I agree with :-

I have a suggested name for the new centrist party – The Entitlement Party In Democracy (TEPID)

"For Blair, Miliband, and any other members of the band tempted by a heritage tour comeback, this is less about the burning desire to rescue their country from extremism than laying the ghost of their traumatised disbelief that Corbyn and his principles are so much more popular than them and whatever they affect to believe."

'Entitlement' says it all with the likes of  those 'Third Way' supporters who have no real ideas of how to address the problems of this country or, even if the did, the resolve and guts to take head on the crippling PC agenda that is dragging us down is so many different ways. 

Now £50 million given to our movement really would get things rolling!

Wednesday 4 April 2018

The people and their government.

At the moment the relationship we actually have is the ‘government and its people’ – this needs to be reversed as the title to this post suggests.

However, the people do not want to actually govern, which should be in the main a fairly mundane and boring occupation, not that our current shallow celebrity minded politicians like to think so, but they do want to have their say, particularly on the major issues, when they feel the government of the day is about to embark on a course of action that is not in tune with majority opinion.

Consider the tally of major political issues to which the people almost certainly would have had a different opinion from the government.

1.       Thatcher’s - Poll tax.
2.       Major’s – Signing of the Maastricht Treaty.  
3.       Blair’s -  Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
4.       Brown’s – Selling off our gold reserves.
5.       Cameron’s – Intervention in Libya. 

It is for most people probably still too early to tell if our current Prime Minister, and her government, are going to deliver a satisfactory Brexit but for my money the Brexit shambles that is brewing will go down in history as the blunder of all blunders and I sense the people would have shown more sense than currently on display from the preening and clueless ministers involved. In Westminster politicians of all colours are putting party considerations above what is best for our country.

THA’s fundamental principle is that the people must be given the right to say, to the government, at any stage in the legislative process STOP and rethink what you are doing because we believe you are getting it wrong.

One further associated point is that in THA’s second demand for ‘Real Local Democracy’ we propose the current situation, of central government financially dominating local government, be reversed with counties raising taxes and submitting a proportion to central government, to only fund the basics of Home & Foreign Affairs and Defence, with richer counties paying in more than poorer ones. This reversal makes our local councillors far more relevant to our daily and allows our MPs to concentrate on matters concerning our national interests allowing them to make better informed decisions without being bogged down with local issues as they currently are.

We demand that our governments, whether local or central, are far more responsive to our views and become our servants instead of our masters.