Tuesday 29 March 2022

What governments say is not what they do.

Leaving aside that ‘Events dear boy events’ can throw any government’s plans out of kilter a party’s manifesto is invariably not worth the paper it is written on, for even as an indication of a direction of travel they end up bearing little to no relation to what actually happens.

Let’s take a look at the Blairite six-point plan on the front page of the 2019 Tory manifesto as a case in point.

1.       Extra funding for NHS with 50,000 more nurses and 50 million more GP surgery appointments a year.

2.       20,000 more police and tougher sentencing for criminals.

3.       An Australian style points-based system to control immigration.

4.       Millions more invested every week in science, schools, apprenticeships and green infrastructure while controlling debt.

5.        Reaching Net Zero by 2050 with investment in clean energy solutions and green infrastructure to reduce carbon emissions and pollution.

6.       We will not raise the rate of income tax, VAT, or National Insurance.

The recent spring statement has shattered the sixth point and their glorified promises on Net Zero made no mention of the likely £3 trillion costs or the removal of everyone’s perfectly good gas boiler for a hugely costly less efficient heat pump.

The costs of installing an air source heat pump can vary from £8,000 to £18,000, while ground source heat pump costs can range anywhere from £20,000 to £35,000.

As I say none of this detail was covered or even alluded to in their 59-page manifesto with just one of those pages devoted to their plans on Green issues.

As I’ve said so often before the only time the ‘People’ can pass judgement on a government is at election time but given the pool of politicians, from both parties, is now of such a low standard of general competence more and more people have decided not to vote.

In 1950 voter turnout stood at 84%, dipped to a low of 59% in 2001 and stood at 67% in 2019 which did not receive a presumed Johnson bounce as the turnout in 2017 was 69%!

Our fourth demand ‘The People’s Consent’ aims to give the ‘People’ the power to have their direct say between elections thus giving us the chance to react to issues at the time without having to wait until the next election when once again the parties’ manifestos try and seduce us with a fresh load of promises.

Given that government should be “of the people, by the people, for the people” we still have a long way to go before we can claim to live under a real democratic system of governance.  

Tuesday 15 March 2022

Why has the UK experienced more freedom and less despotism over the centuries?

 I read an excellent book a while back called ‘Prisoners of Geography’ by Tim Marshall and in the chapter on Western Europe he wrote this:-

“ There is a theory that the relative security of the UK over the past few hundred years is why it has experienced more freedom and less despotism than the countries across the channel. The theory goes that there were fewer requirements for ‘strong men’ or dictators, which, starting with Magna Carta (1215) and then the Provisions of Oxford (1258), led to forms of democracy years ahead of other countries.” *

While, as he goes on to say, this is not provable it is none the less an interesting observation and helps explain why we were a reluctant member of the political EU project. That is not to say we don’t wish to trade with our neighbours which is of an entirely different order.
Interestingly, and a very serious point I want to make is that the current state of our freedoms are increasingly being eroded by a political class that while talking up their democratic credentials are only too keen to ignore our wishes and tell us what to do. There could be no more telling examples of this than the way our government is dealing with Covid pandemic and and their Net Zero policies.
This is why I became involved with THA as I increasingly felt our governance was becoming less democratic and really was no longer fir for purpose and need a complete rethink. 

However the facts are that revolutionary political reform, of the magnitude advocated by our six demands, will not happen overnight. Just look at the state of our democracy now, since the signing of the Magna Carta 813 years ago, we still don’t have proper democracy based on the true meaning of the word expressed as ‘People and Power’. I have said before and I’ll say it again at 70, while I hope to see our demands enacted in my life time,  I may well not but that is no reason not to have started the ball rolling for the reform of our governance so desperately now needed in this country.
* Tim Marshall is also very clear about the Russian Ukrainian geopolitical relationship and I highly recommend his book. 

Wednesday 9 March 2022

Why Switzerland doesn't want to join the EU.

 We were taken into the Common Market in January 1973 without being asked but were given a referendum asking us if we wanted to stay in it in June 1975.

In Switzerland, with their system of Direct Democracy, the people's opinion acts as a balance or check on their government which is how democracy should work.

Democracy being made up of two Greek words Demos meaning 'People' and Kratos meaning 'Power'.

This article is well worth a read but sadly as links don't still open on this 'google' blog you will have to copy and paste it in your search engine to open it.



Friday 4 March 2022

Our system of governance v. the Russian.

 It is one of those weeks when I was finding it hard to come up with something to write about especially with the entire focus on Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Then I got to thinking the very simple thought that however bad we feel our governance is we clearly have to be thankful we don't live in Putin's Russia.

This link is good summary and reminder of Putin's 2018 Presidential victory which I'm afraid you will need to cut and paste  as it doesn't open of this Google blog for some reason.


At least at our General Elections we can vote out a Prime Minster and his/her government and in the last 77 years we have had seven changes of governments, between Labour and the Conservatives, that is since 1945.

I still believe very strongly that our system of governance is no longer fit for purpose which is why I've been involved with The Harrogate Agenda and its six demands for the past 10 years.

There is one undisputed fact about our Agenda and that is that it exists and while anybody can support all or just some of our demands they can never claim to have invented them!