Wednesday 27 January 2021

Appreciating the timescale necessary for reform.

 I never thought of myself as a visionary but compared to much of the ‘short termism’ I encounter, I feel I am!

I’m certainly not claiming to be a Leonardo Da Vinci but more in the realm of Percy Shaw!

My vision is that I believe political reform of our governance, in this country, is inevitable for the very simple reason that the ‘people’ will eventually not stand for the increasing levels of incompetence and corruption in our political system.

An important qualifier at this point is that what THA seeks, with its six demands, is reform to our governance which does not involve reforms to our electoral system or the creation of new political parties, which are both entirely separate issues and will not in themselves give the people any more power.

The downside to my vision is that I’m unable to put any timescale on it as a prerequisite for any of our reforms is that the public at large have got to get behind them and for that they need to become more materially and perhaps even socially uncomfortable and that will take time for the discontent to reach its peak.

One of the main understandable issues I find, with the protracted timescale for our reforms to a become a reality, is that most people find it difficult to think beyond the 81-year lifespan of the average person in the UK. In this instant world of instant coffee and instant communications most people want instant results and find it difficult to think long term and so look for quick solutions. The trouble with quick solutions is that they invariably don’t stand the test of time.

On Saturday having been turned away at the supermarket entrance, as they were only allowing one shopper per trolly ( should simply have got another trolly!). I returned to the car and opened the glove compartment for something to read and fortunately there was a copy of our pamphlet inside! In the last six pages under the subheadings of ‘A change of relationship’, ‘Progressing the Agenda’ and ‘Conclusion’ all the key issues are covered as to why there will be no quick fix and the likely opposition we will encounter.

The link to the pamphlet is here -

One hurdle, identified under ‘Progressing the Agenda’, that has been achieved is the requirement to leave the EU which in 2012, when we first meet in Harrogate, was a distant dream!

So many of our great achievements over the centuries have taken time to develop from the building of St Paul's cathedral, 40 years, to the gardens of Capability Brown which needed around 200 years to fully mature. However, in terms of political reform we need look no further than the Chartists(1838) and their six demands, five of which took between 20 and 73 years to become enacted.

In summary as Dr North concluded on the last page of our pamphlet :-

 "Those subscribing to the ideology of THA are, in our view, visionaries in the traditional sense. They are creating something that is completely at variance with current thinking. It is one which, incidentally, is based on a belief of John Stuart Mills - the extensive participation of the people in the governance of their country.

 THA offers something that we rarely get when politicians offer change - real power, the ability to make real choices, permitting people to accept or reject proposals made by our governments, their institutions and servants - at national and local levels. When sufficient people accept our ideas, we will regain the power that is truly ours - power which should never have been taken away from us in the first place.”

Amen to that! 

Thursday 21 January 2021


 I have just finished the 132 page book 'Democracy Under Siege' by Frank Furedi. In it he traces the history of democracy and the struggle to achieve the level of democracy we have but he fails completely to offer any suggestions for ways of improving things.

The key lesson that has finally sunk in is that the people of this country have still not achieved real democracy as the Representative Democracy we have is not real democracy.

Democracy as explained many times before comes from the Greek words demos meaning 'People' and  kratos meaning 'Power' thus 'People Power'.

So, while back in ancient Greece, when discussions about democracy first arose, the closest they got to implementing democracy was the use of sortition, selection by lottery, to administer their cities. The trouble was with the likes of Plato and Socrates as strong opponents of democracy, for fear of rule by the uneducated mob, the development and progression of democracy stalled.

 Moving on the reality is that throughout history the 'elites' have always argued against granting the people more power believing that the serious business of governance need to be left to the well-educated. Coming right up to the present day, and our Covid crisis, we find the situation even worse as government minsters, while still not trusting the views of the people, are now hiding behind 'Expert' opinion. Our place is not to argue but to accept and do what we are told. 

Indeed for hundreds of years the people in this country had no real power being ruled by an absolute monarch or elsewhere by dictators and under both regimes the people were kept firmly in their place. Since its concept real democracy has been in short supply in the world with perhaps the Direct Democracy in Switzerland the closest system around that gives the people real power.

However, from around the 1650s the likes of the Dutch philosopher Spinoza and others like Kant and Paine started to seriously address the issue of democracy which accelerated with three main events. They were the English Civil War, the American War of Independence and of course the French Revolution. 

Then spurred on by the Industrial Revolution and later the formation of unions and of course improvements in education the people, following and supporting the Chartist movement, started to demand a greater say in their governance with of course demands for the vote. The momentum gradually built up and eventually became unstoppable and politicians realised they had to act and from the mid1800s political reforms were placed on the statute book with, for example, a vote for every man over 21 becoming law in 1884.

In the 1930s the spread of communism saw the talk of democracy again coming to the fore but nothing much developed or changed and today we are left with our system of Representative Democracy and a political class who, in the main think, they are better than us and still don't want the people to have a greater say or more power. The hash our politicians, of all colours whether Brexiteers or Remainers, have made of agreeing a comprehensive trade deal with the EU 27, that does not harm our economy, proves beyond doubt that the greater say and power the people have in their governance the better.

Be under no doubt that our current system of Representative Democracy leaves power firmly in the hands of our politicians who seldom if ever listen to the majority and spend their time pandering to the latest pressure group often promoted and even supported by the MSM. The only power we have is at election time, so one day every five years, and increasingly a large proportion don't vote believing it a waste of time as our politicians once in office don’t listen to them.

The absolute irony is that politicians and other 'elites' today, who are still suspicious and against the opinion of the majority, are the very same people who wish the majority to accept the views of minority groups, like Extinction Rebellion or Black Lives Matter to name but two recent examples, who they either openly support or do little to show they disagree with them.

 The concerns of further democracy, leading to mob rule, is a genuine concern which is why our fourth demand, 'The People's Consent', is so careful framed to ensure the power granted to the people cannot be abused and of course would be backed up by constitutional restraints in a written constitution – which is our sixth demand.

Further I would point out that the education and awareness of the public now clearly exceeds that of the peasants hundreds of years ago and when asked or given I'm convinced the public's decisions will be as good if not better than those made by our out of touch politicians.

It is amazing to think that despite the word 'Democracy' having been around and discussed for around 2500 years we have still not achieved real democracy in this country and I strongly believe it is time the cause for real democracy is advanced which is why I support our six demands.