Thursday, 17 June 2021

Where does power actually lie?

 Professional lobbying organisations are in no doubt ‘Power’ resides in Westminster which is why they concentrate all their effort, time and money there. People who lobby parliament include businesses, charities, pressure groups, trade unions and representatives of various sectors of industry. What lobby groups also know is that courting the public is not necessary to influence politicians.

The reason for this is that the Westminster parliament is sovereign with all power emanating from it. As a result, the UK is almost unique in not having a codified constitution with entrenched provisions. Parliament can enact legislation on any subject matter it likes, but it cannot bind its successors.  

We, the people, are left out of the decision-making process except at election time when we get to decide and vote on the party we want. Apart from our past allegiances we only have the party manifestos to help us decide who to support. But increasingly they are not worth the paper they are written on as governments produce policies and laws mostly by reacting to events as they occur. Our current Covid situation being a classic example.

On the other hand, political movements campaigning for political change know only too well that to be effective they need to get the support of the public at large. There are a number of political organisations and movements that over the years have grown up to fight for specific causes like those associated with leaving the EU being a prime example. These include groups like the Campaign for an Independent Britain, the Bruges Group, The Freedom Association and the Democracy Movement.

They certainly all played their part in keeping our membership of the EU near the top of the political agenda and of course UKIP, as a political party, was also born. The combination of Eurosceptic movements and a political party certainly forced Cameron into offering us a referendum. The point though to stress is that it was the support of millions of ordinary ‘People’ that forced our politicians to listen and act as they proved in a number of UK and Euro elections that they were a force to be reckoned with.

As Brexit has happened the issue that needs to be addressed is how do the people continue to exercise control over our politicians and parliament and indeed even stop them from reversing the 2016 referendum result should they decide to do so? There is no simple answer apart from the long-term reform to our system of governance that would ensure the people have to be consulted before such a decision could be made.  What this means in practice is that sovereignty has to be returned to the people making our politicians our servants instead of our masters.

Sovereignty belongs to the people and while they still elect governments to govern it is their inherent right that ultimate power resides with them and not parliament. However, be under no illusion that our politicians are not going to give up power without a fight.   

So, this issue should now be at the forefront of all individuals and movements, that campaigned for us to leave the EU, as there was little point in freeing us from the dictates of Brussels to still find yourselves beholden to our own politicians.

The millions of individuals involved, over the years, in fighting to leave the EU should be natural bedfellows to support our six demands which clearly sets out the mechanisms that would prevent us being bypassed should we wish to have our say.

The reform of our system of governance, in line with our six demands, should appeal to all true democrats because without our reforms we will remain at the mercy of our politicians in Westminster who regularly display just how out of touch they are with majority opinion. 

Whatever else your political ambitions if you believe in ‘real’ democracy you should support our agenda and help promote its value in achieving government ‘Of the People, By the People, For the People’.






  1. See the John Adams (US President) quote on democracy never lasting long.

  2. He said "“I do not say that democracy has been more pernicious on the whole, and in the long run, than monarchy or aristocracy. ... There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide. It is in vain to say that democracy is less vain, less proud, less selfish, less ambitious, or less avaricious than aristocracy or monarchy."

    However I'd stress that we have never had REAL democracy with a sovereign people in the driving seat keeping the politicians in their place.