Tuesday, 25 May 2021

Why is reform of our governance still not on the agenda?

I have encountered the above questions on a number of occasions, since our foundation in 2012, and while the simple answer is that ‘Turkeys don’t vote for Christmas’ there are three more serious considerations to make.

First, after reading ‘Chartism a New History’ by Malcolm Chase, I learnt that political change is a slow process and that five demands of the Chartists, relatively simple, six took between 20 and 73 years to become enacted. Their demand for annual general elections never materialised. These changes while taking time came about because the ‘People’ got behind them and wouldn’t give up until politicians adopted them as their own and made them law. One of the five was enacted by a Conservative government and the other four by the old Liberal party.   

Second, I’ve realised that the majority of the people are still too comfortable as they go about their daily lives earning a living and looking after their families. The reality is for the most part life in general improves for most of us every year. So, for the time being the last thing on peoples’ minds is the issue of reform of our governance, while accepting that many aren’t happy as they don’t even bother to vote anymore.

 There are of course, as there always have been, groups of minority activists but the majority of people still cannot be bothered. However, could all that be about to change as we face three potentially major disruptions to our lives. The first is the economic hit from the impacts of the Covid lockdowns. Second, is the fallout from our inadequate TCA with the EU 27 and third the anticipated world cyclical economic down turn?

 My third observation is that history shows us that our politicians never volunteer to give up their privileges or power. They don’t wake up one day and say :-

 ‘I’ve suddenly realised that the way I control and dominate others is wrong. I must change my ways. So, I’ll initiate a variety of changes to our governance to give the people more power over their lives.’

 That is NEVER going to happen and history is full of examples how power has to be wrestled from those who have it.

So, while we endeavour to keep the pilot light of The Harrogate Agenda alight, we await the people waking up and demanding the changes we have set out.

Our pamphlet had this to say in its conclusion:-

"Furthermore, we the people have the right to demand a Parliament which truly represents our interests and does what it is told. Parliamentary representation, we feel, is compatible with THA. But we do not see the function of Parliament as being to provide a distressingly shallow gene pool from which ministers are recruited. The antidote to the contempt with which politicians are regarded is for Parliament to do its job as the protector of the people, rather than the supporter of governments and the provider of its management personnel.

Its main task should be preparing legislation for public approval. the scrutiny of government, and then the representation of the people to government. For that to happen, the institution has to attract the right people and be properly structured. As long as its main function is to provide ambitious politicians with the means to enter government, it can never properly perform those duties." 

As I’ve ended my weekly posts before – ‘The future is in the Peoples’ hands and if they continue to sit on them things won’t change’.


  1. "The reality is for the most part life in general improves for most of us every year." That might be true in rural Somerset, but in this town, it is not true. Businesses are failing and others are laying off staff, with some exceptions. Friends are struggling to support their families.

    "we await the people waking up .." They are. They cannot avoid the stench emminating from Westminster. When the inevitable economic collapse happens, as I believe is inevitable due to this government's incontinent monetary policies, people will be struggling and will look for leadership. Maybe someone like Henry Hunt (Peterloo) will emerge and maybe he will promote an agenda like the THA, or maybe he wont.

    1. I agree, and have written as such, the triple whammy of Covid,TCA and the coming world recession will cause people to be less comfortable.

  2. " Why is reform of our governance still not on the agenda?" A 2nd thought, if I may. It isn't on the agenda because it is almost beyond reform.

    In My dreams, I'd set up an English Government, in a disused warehouse, close to the geographic centre of England, as cheaply as possible, manned by volunteers from each county, promoting THA, and making enough noise so that they gather public attention and support and thereby slowly assume the power to govern England, by consent. Westminster can then wither on the vine.

    I'll go back to sleep now.

    1. No please keep awake all contributions welcome!!

      Our system isn't beyond reform but it does need radical surgery, no half measures will do.

      THA all the way!!

    2. Wagecuts, unemployment and inflating prices seem inevitable to me which could bring about the sort of mass demonstrations and action for which you hope. However, the cultural ground is very different today, from that in the time of the Chartists. Then, people met together. Today people generally are very isolated. There were even Chartist churches then in a time when many went to church. They discussed the plight of those in poverty. Those church congregations included increasing numbers of the desperate. The government was still worried of the knock on effects of the French revolution and were scared that it would happen here.

      When economic hardships happens now, upon what ground will people coalesse? Cannot we prepare the soil somehow for that reform upon which you place your hopes?

    3. The public worldview has changed since the days of the Chartists. A rediscovery of Protestant Christianity would be needed. Apart from that, probably we would be into "the great reset" or something similar - communism with a suit on.

    4. Yes, the cultural background is so very different now. There is such a huge contrast between Protestant Christianity, (equality, personal resposibility and freedom of the individual) and the top down, the government elite knows best attitude that will lead to "the great reset" and a communist view point.