Tuesday 26 March 2019

What is the point of central government?

It would seem from this post by Peter Franklin, from his blog 'Unherd', that he has read our pamphlet!

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind, if there ever was, that the future for our democracy and governance is decentralisation.

The major problem we face in achieving this is getting our turkey MPs to vote for Christmas. If people cannot be bothered then little will happen - our future is in our hands.

Sunday 17 March 2019

What we can learn from Gene Sharp.

I have mentioned recently, on more than one occasion, that to get our six demands enacted will take a mass movement employing some of the strategy and tactics and methods of Gene Sharp from his book ‘ From dictatorship to democracy’ - I therefore decided to re-read his 135 page book this weekend and write this post. A key point to make is that his book is dealing with getting rid of a dictator ( I know the likes of Blair acted as if they were!)  where as THA’s aim is revolutionary reform of our democracy. Even so there are important lessons form his book we can learn and I list below his main points and my own observations applicable to THA:-

  1. In his Preface he makes two points very clearly. First, his publication is far from perfect. Second, that nowhere does he suggest the struggle will be quick, easy or cost free. There will be casualties. I believe if our strategy and tactics are ‘Smart’ and peaceful and given we are not facing a real dictator we should avoid the loss of life so long as no individual goes off on his own initiative and attempts to take the law into their own hands.    

  1. Protests must be coordinated and planned which requires leadership and one must develop a Grand Strategy, Strategy, Tactics and Methods which should then be broadcast far and wide. Our plans should not be kept as a secret

  1. The authorities will always beat violent protests as they play to their strengths as they control the police and army. Protest should play to the dictators weaknesses. This is a very important point.

  1. If people want change the solutions are in THEIR hands. If they sit on them nowt will happen!

  1. Non-violent struggle is a much more complex and varied means of struggle than using violence. We should take note.

  1. In his Appendix he lists 198 methods of non-violent struggle. Only some of these will apply to THA after careful analysis and debate.

  1. Large demonstrations while dramatic usually lead to trouble which could be caused by ill disciplined protesters or even agent provocateurs.  Non-violent protest will be safer,  

  1. Non-violent action works in four ways – conversion, accommodation, non-violent coercion and disintegration – for details read his book!

  1. Stick to the ‘Plan’ and never expect instant results – THA’s demands will take at least a generation to come about.

  1. Peaceful actions avoid conflict like withdrawal of support and non-cooperation  - always fight smart.

  1. One must know one’s goal – we have our six demands.

  1. The changes sought will require a new constitution which will take time and require the participation of the public to form it and monitor it – Our six demands cover all this.

He concludes ‘Freedom is not Free’ and we will ALL have to do our bit or nothing will happen.

Finally, let me repeat that, when reading the book, which I recommend, you need to register that our fight is not with a dictator but with our politicians to accept, approve and enact our six demands to reform our system of governance.    

Saturday 16 March 2019

People power.

It has occurred to to me today as I sat munching my bowl of cereal that if THA's type democracy was in place as set out in our six demands there would be no need for the likes of Tommy Robinson or populists in general as the voice of the majority could not be ignored and they would have the power to demand action from their goverment and politicians. 

Friday 15 March 2019

The arrogance of our politcal class.

Every day there are examples, especially with the chaos over Brexit, of how out of touch,arrogant, incompetent and untouchable our politicians are.

Yesterday provided a CLASSIC example when Lord David Steel admitted that he knew about the crimes of Cyril Smith but did nothing and then added that, under similar circumstances, he would do exactly the same again.

Only our six demands can give us the power to hold such contemptible politicans to account.

Tuesday 12 March 2019

The British Constitution - Part Two

I have now finished Martin Loughin's very good little book from the 'A very short introduction' series, on The British Constitution.

In summary he concludes that our constitution and government are like an old building that has constantly been adapted, repaired and renovated over the centuries in different styles and that we are now left, IMO, in the unsatisfactory position of increasing having the judiciary interpreting what our constitution means and how it should work. He also believes that renovating it to make it fit for contemporary use requires architects possessed with real vision but he offers no ideas as to how this might happen or look.

 So let me summaries in my own way getting back to basics.

At the beginning of time man was sovereign in his own cave but gradually individuals became communities that grew into regions that eventually became countries like Britain that were ruled by a sovereign monarch with absolute power. However from 1215 on parliament gradually increased its powers leading 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".  Then 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.

Then as the years advanced parliament’s powers grew and in 1771 Delolme, who wrote ‘The Constitution of England’, made a ‘grotesque’ expression which became proverbial "parliament can do everything but make a woman a man and a man a woman".

Coming right up to date it would appear, with the increasing attention being paid by parliament to trans-gender issues, that Delome’s observations may no longer be true and as we have seen over the whole Brexit debacle parliament is a law unto itself in which the opinion of the people hardly matter.

Therefore over the last 800 years we have moved from the absolute power of a monarch to the absolute power of our parliament and it is us the people that are being short changed. They only brief power we have is at General Elections but as we know that changes very little and, whichever party gets in, it’s a case of ‘same meat different gravy’!

In conclusion we need to reverse things and go back to our roots where sovereignty returns to the people. Currently there is no better plan that I've seen than our six demands and in particular the introduction of a codified constitution to set out the new relationship between the people and parliament. This relationship needs to be based on the basic principle that we the people are sovereign and encompassing many aspects of Direct Democracy albeit tailor made to suit our own unique history and traditions.


Monday 4 March 2019

The British Constitution - Part One.

I'm reading 'The British Constitution' by Martin Loughlin which is one of the books from the  ' A Very Short Introduction' series.

In the introduction I was struck by the fact that constitutional reform has been on the agenda for many years but apart from some tinkering at the edges nothing significant has changed.

Indeed Lord Halisham's celebrated 1976 Dimbleby Lecture was on Elective Dictatorship. In it he noted the paradox that government had never before possessed so much power and commanded so little respect, he noted that there was scarcely an institution of government nowadays that does not come in for serious criticism - that was then so what about now!  

Hailsham believed this was because these institutions were no longer performing their constitutional role of providing an implicit balancing mechanism. The monarchy had been reduced to an entirely ceremonial function, the H of Ls no longer acted as a restraining influence, and political conduct in general seemed to be dictate by party political interests rather than any sense of appropriate behaviour on the part of officeholder - Amen to that last point!

He went on that customary constitutional restraints were no longer working, leading to a loss of trust. More broadly, the traditions of civility from which these constitutional values grew were losing authority. The only solution, as Hailsham concluded, was to devise an entirely new constitution. Like all new constitutions, this would be written down and defined in law.

And all this delivered by a man that was as far removed from being a radical as one might find and as I've already said above 'that was then so what about now!'

What then happened was that with Thatcher gaining power, in 1979, the Conservatives lost interest in constitutional reform as they tackled the many other issues they faced. However the SDP did pick up the baton of constitutional reform which was then developed by 'New' Labour with their introduction of devolved governments, H of Ls reform and the introduction of the Human Rights Act and Freedom of Information. Loughlin points out that New Labour promoted a more radical set of constitutional reforms than any other government since the First WW.

Even Cameron's coalition government offered constitutional reform by holding the referendum on our voting system, which was, as far as I'm concerned, fortunately rejected.  

Loughlin concludes his introduction by pointing out these reforms were all rather makeshift but by tinkering with the rules they helped present our politicians as 'modern'. Yet incremental modernisation has merely blurred the issue. We have in some haphazard way codified many of the rules and in that sense are closer than ever to having a written constitution, but at the same time we no longer have a clear sense of the values of the public realm that this rule-system is supposed to protect and address.

When I have finished the book I will write another post commenting further and on any conclusions Martin Loughlin comes to. However, for my money the time has never been so ripe for the introduction of our six demands and in particular our sixth demand for a codified constitution, which is needed, to ensure our politicians are left in no doubt that they are our servants and not our masters.