Thursday, 12 April 2012

For the avoidance of doubt

WitteringsfromWitney has moved and is now hosted on Wordpress. My new home is:


http://witteringsfromwitney.com/


It would appear some readers did not realise that they had to click on the link (the word "Wordpress") in my previous post.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Saturday 7th April 2012

In view of the recent shenanigans with Blogger, this blog has now migrated to Wordpress (with thanks to Ian Parker-Joseph who dealt with all the 'techie' details for me) which is now hosted abroad.


Readers and those bloggers who kindly link to me in their blogrolls may wish to amend the link on their website.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Thursday 5th April 2012

Blogging is suspended until Saturday morning due to an impending night out followed by some 'blog housekeeping' - apologies to all readers.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

In Europe, but not run by Europe

The phrase coined, I believe, by William Hague during his short sojourn as Leader of what was then also not the Conservative Party.


Earlier this evening William Hague tweeted:
"Two weeks left to apply for a career in #EU civil service this year. We encourage more Brits to join EU institutions bit.ly/GTygkz"
From that website we learn that the EU civil service needs to employ highly motivated, talented and ambitious individuals - and, unsaid, people who will be required to work for the good of the EU, as do EU Commissioners have to agree so to do.


And Hague believes we should be 'In Europe, but not run by Europe'?


Hague is a bastard Europhile!

Ultimate Control

Some items of news today cause me concern where our democracy is concerned and, as an introduction to this post, I quote from a post of yesterday:
"One of the tasks that we clearly have is to rebuild trust in our political system. Yes, that's about cleaning up expenses, yes, that's about reforming parliament, and yes, it's about making sure people are in control and that the politicians are always their servants and never their masters."
David Cameron, first speech as Prime Minister, May 11, 2010.
When considering the following news items:
 http://www.politicshome.com/uk/story/25859/davey_unwise_to_rule_out_joining_euro.html
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/clegg-proposes-way-to-end-big-money-political-donations-7615548.html
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2124781/Secret-justice-plan-crumbles-Clegg-says-hell-block-report-MPs-peers-damns-ministers-close-u-turn.html
it becomes increasingly obvious that the people are most definitely not in charge - we have Davey stating that we must leave the door open for adoption of the euro, that the present government will be seen eventually as more euro-friendly than that of Blair's; we have Clegg deciding how political parties are to be funded from public money; and we have Clarke attempting to turn our system of justice on its head.


I trust readers will forgive the repetition that follows but it cannot be repeated enough. Presently, under our system of representative democracy what in effect we do is hand the car keys to a collection of learner drivers who have no idea of the rules of the road and subsequently turn them loose. In other words, between general elections, we allow a group of politicians to act as dictators who then impose laws on us, laws we may or may not agree with, whilst accepting we have no recourse to stop those laws.


Readers will be in no doubt that I favour a system of government known as Direct Democracy - it is the only system of which I know that does, firmly, put the people in control of their own destiny - both national and local. It has been suggested, in comments on my blog, that people can't be bothered with the 'minutae' of democracy - to which I counter that if they can't, then they may as well immediately submit themselves to slavery and bondage, because that is the aim of politicians - coupled with the fact that it would save us a shed load of money funding the political elite in achieving their ultimate aim. Consider, democracy can only work when people claim it as their own because the present system only works as it involves choosing your next set of dictators, after they've told you what you think it is you want to hear.


If it is the will of the people that the status quo should remain, ie representative democracy, then should we not press for a change to 'delegatory democracy' which would at least force politicians to vote according to their constituents majority view, rather than their view (Burke's law). If the people are to retain a status of being the master, with politicians being no more than servants, then it becomes necessary that the people must have the ultimate option of saying 'No' - and in that regard I can but refer readers to my post of yesterday and the views expressed therein.


That democracy is important to us all and that it is therefore important we all take an interest in our system of democracy is underlined by a quote from Robert Hutchins:
"The death of democracy is not likely to be an assassination from ambush. It will be a slow extinction from apathy, indifference, and undernourishment."

Where is the Maggietollah and her handkerchief?


Details here.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

David Cameron - in his own words

"One of the tasks that we clearly have is to rebuild trust in our political system. Yes, that's about cleaning up expenses, yes, that's about reforming parliament, and yes, it's about making sure people are in control and that the politicians are always their servants and never their masters."
First speech as Prime Minister, May 11, 2010.
So if politicians are always the people's servants and never their masters, by what right does he deny the people their say on EU membership? By what right does he act as a dictator, imposing policies on the people - policies for which they never voted? (The Coalition - our programme for government)
"I joined this party because I believe in freedom. We are the only party believing that if you give people freedom and responsibility, they will grow stronger and society will grow stronger."
Speech to Conservative Party Conference on 4 October 2005.
Some freedom when considering Cameron is intending to monitor people's private emails and telephone conversations. Some freedom when he chains us to membership of a political union which dictates what freedoms we may be allowed.
"I want you to come with me. We'll be tested, and challenged, but we'll never give up. We'll never turn back. So let the message go out from this conference, a modern compassionate Conservatism is right for our times, right for our party - and right for our country. If we go for it, if we seize it, if we fight for it with every ounce of passion, vigour and energy from now until the next election, nothing and no one can stop us."
Speech to Conservative Party Conference on 4 October 2005.
For someone who will never turn back Cameron has performed a great number of 'U' turns - in fact he could adapt Thatchers phrase, amending it to: 'U'turn if you want to, I've already turned and turned and turned and....... If modern, compassionate Conservatism was right for our times and right for our country, the country obviously didn't think so - and that nothing and no one could stop him was confirmed as yet more political spin.
"My favourite political quote is by Disraeli: he said the Conservative Party should be the party of change but change that goes along with the customs and manners and traditions and sentiments of the people rather than change according to some grand plan."
As Cameron's Conservative Party is not that of Disraeli it follows that it does not believe in the customs, manners, traditions and sentiments of the people - as we can see - but does continue with adherence to some grand plan (EU/NWO/Agenda21) - also as we can see.
"I think the prospect of bringing back grammar schools has always been wrong and I've never supported it. And I don't think any Conservative government would have done it."
BBC Sunday AM, 15 January 2006.
So if politicians are always the people's servants and never their masters, by what right does he deny the people their say on the type of education they want for their children?


Cameron is an example of everything that is wrong with politics today and the sooner we rid ourselves of such effective ineptitude the better. Whether he and his ilk go voluntarily, or go forcibly, I care not - but go they must!

Chartism (2)

It had not been my intention to post under this heading so soon after that of the first, however a news item today voided my original intention. Apparently today Boris Johnson had a slight difference of opinion with Ken Livingstone, in the process calling him a 'procreating' liar. Andrew Gilligan, Daily Telegraph, posts on the lies it is alleged Livingstone told, including 'evidence' to show that they were indeed lies - who is right matters not in this case.


For so long have politicians lied to us or, in the words of Alan Clark, been 'economical with the actualit√©', we have become inured to that which they tell us - especially when they are campaigning and/or presenting us with manifestos. This is illustrated by Cranmer in his post today on the subject of the surveillance of emails and telephone calls; a post in which he recalls the manifesto promises made by both the Tory and LibDem parties in the 2010 General Election, coupled with that subsequently issued by the Coalition. If we go back to 2005 further examples of broken promises were illustrated in this post from January 2009.


Some hold that it should be possible to legally challenge political manifestos, yet where this has been attempted courts have held that an elected member ‘ought’ to give considerable weight, when deciding whether to implement policies put forward in a pre-election manifesto. However elected representatives must not treat themselves as irrevocably bound to carry out pre-announced policies contained in election manifestos. Moreover The Court of Appeal held that to hold that the pre-election promises bound a newly elected Government could well be inimical to good government. It was one thing to say that an administration properly and morally ought to have regard to its pre-election promises. It was another to say that it must have regard to them and a yet further thing to say that it must ordinarily act on them. The law went nowhere near that. The Court of Appeal emphasised that it did not wish any encouragement to politicians to be extravagant in their pre-election promises, but when a party elected into office fails to keep its election promises, the consequences should be political and not legal. (source So we see that pre-election promises are not legally enforceable, which begs the question why do politicians make pre-election promises that they cannot keep? This may be because it is easy to promise dramatic changes to the law when not in Government, but more difficult to make them work in practice. Also, when elected, the party may have more information available to them and realise that the pre-election promises are not very practical. On that last point I would contend that if the required research had been carried out properly then politicians would be aware of the point about practicality. This is especially so where this country's membership of the European Union is concerned and when politicians promise action in an area that is a competence of the EU. 


However - bearing in mind the foregoing - the question has to be repeated, namely why cannot a political manifesto be legally challenged - it is, after all, a contract twixt a political party and those they are asking to elect them. In all 'unions' involving people and their relationship with one another two words must be included in those relationships: 'honesty' and 'truth'. Without those two 'basics' any relationship is bound to be fraught with suspicion - which is probably why politics has reached the nadir it has.


Obviously I know not what the 'Old Swan Manifesto' will produce and whilst I am a firm advocate of direct democracy I am only too aware that that system is not everyone's cup of tea. However, if we are to have 'Referism' in respect of the need for taxation, then should we not have that same ideal where the introduction of policies is concerned? Should not there be a statutory period between a Parliamentary Bill passing its final reading and receiving Royal Assent - one that allowed the people to challenge said Act, through the use of referenda, prior to it becoming law?

Monday, 2 April 2012

Chartism

From Wikipedia we learn that the Chartists - or to be correct, one faction - called for six basic reforms to make the political system more democratic. Those six reforms were: 
  • universal male suffrage;
  • a secret ballot;
  • no property qualification for members of Parliament;
  • pay members of Parliament (so poor men could serve);
  • constituencies of equal size;
  • annual elections for Parliament.
They accomplished the first four with the fifth planned for implementation in the near future, assuming of course our home grown version of Hitler doesn't get overthrown. Were the Chartists to be reborn today, one imagines them looking round and observing that (paraphrasing a line from Star Trek) it's life, but not as they envisioned it.

That the first four points have been emasculated beyond recognition by the political class for their own ends - especially points three and four, but I digress - it seems to me that further 'basic reforms' are called for if democracy in this country is to survive.

In that respect - and apropo point six - one of the reasons for the American Revolution was the principle of "no taxation without representation". Nowadays, under representative democracy, we have taxation but do not have representation in that those that represent us, do not; they take what is not their money, but ours, without our permission nor with any constraints on what it can be spent.

Point six of the Chartist's demands was for annual elections to Parliament, something which, had we a form of Direct Democracy in this country, would not be necessary. However, every year our political elite present what they laughingly term 'their budget' in which they inform us on what our money - that they intend extracting from us - will be spent and subsequently, amongst themselves, decide whether 'their budget' is 'acceptable' or not. As it is our money should they not, in the first place, ask us? Should it not be us that decide the question of acceptability? Should it not be us that decide, 'Nope' go back and do your sums again?

To a certain extent one can argue that 'no taxation without public approval' should be one of any new reforms that is required for a new democracy. This question does, to a certain extent, form part of what should be discussed on talkconstitution.net and it could also be argued that it should form part of any new constitution that website will be proposing, hopefully in the very near future. 

Is not the idea of servant asking master on what the master's money can be spent not 'Referism' put into practice?

Whats good for the goose etc, etc.

In common with the public perception of politicians as devious, untruthful, hypocritical people of questionable parentage, William Hague does not disappoint with his comment piece in today's Daily Telegraph. By maintaining that the Falkland Islanders have the right to determine their own political and economic future, Hague denies to us in Britain that which, if push comes to shove, he would ask us to fight for.


It will not have escaped the attention of readers that when it comes to defending our nation, politicians are most noticeable by their absence from the front line of battle. Politicians continually inform us that they want our respect yet seem to forget that it cannot be learned, purchased or acquired - it can only be earned; and so far they have earned squat-diddly.


Just saying...............

Ed Miliband - a la Cameron - a bloody liar!

All our politicians speak of governing us and governing for the many not the few, the latest example being Ed Miliband while launching his party's local manifesto for the forthcoming elections in May. According to Politics Home he stated that he will govern for the whole country, not just the wealthy few. As with all statements issued by the political elite, Ed Miliband has blatantly lied to the British public.


Ed Miliband can no more govern this country - as cannot any other party leader - than can you or I, as he and they have been party to ceding that governance to Brussels through our membership of the EU. Even if we were to accept that Miliband could govern this country as a sovereign nation, through our membership of the EU he would be governing not just for the whole country, but also for the wealthy few - in Brussels.


EU Commissioner's pay scales are specified in this document and their basic monthly salaries are fixed at 112.5% of the top European civil service grade. This works out at 19,909.89. The President is paid at 138% (€24,422.80), Vice Presidents at 125% (€22,122.10) and the High Representative at 130% €23,006.98. Viewed in 'real' money those figures convert to £16,529.29 (£198,351.48 per annum); £20,275.14 (£243,301.68 per annum); £18,368.90 (£220,426.80 per annum); and £19,103.68 (£229,244.16 Per annum). There are further allowances on top of this figure including a residency allowance and an entertainment allowance. Now, there are 18 Commissioners, 7 Vice Presidents, Ashton and Barroso - you go do the maths.


Just saying - not that Miliband's lies will be mentioned in the MSM of course..........

In all the chatter, where is mention of truth or honesty?

The front page of today's Daily Telegraph is plastered with the news that Tory MPs have 'rounded' on Cameron and Osborne, being angry over the budget and the fuel fiasco. According to the article MPs are demanding (i) overhaul of the 'Downing Street Machine; (ii) the ending of Osborne's dual role as Chancellor and head of Tory political strategy; (iii) the appointment of a senior MP as full time party chairman; and (iv) that the ministerial reshuffle should be used to promote more MPs from working class and northern backgrounds. All this and more is called for in order that the Tory party can reconnect with voters and thus retain their confidence. In the editorial the newspaper warns that voters have no time for political manoeuvring citing the 'granny tax', extension of VAT on pasties and the fuel fiasco.


Nowhere in the article, nor the editorial, do the words 'truth' or 'honesty' appear;  nowhere in the article, nor the editorial, is it made plain that our politicians lie to us on a daily basis; nowhere in the article, nor the editorial, is it made plain that politicians of all hues act and behave as an elected dictatorship - all that those quoted are concerned with is how to save their party and (unspoken) their careers.


And politicians strive to reconnect with the electorate? The only way that politicians will reconnect with the electorate is for the entire present edifice of politics to be torn down and rebuilt - and to that end a movement will hopefully begin.


Democracy Excrement, whether portrayed as a rose, a tree or a bird, remains just that - excrement!

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Sunday 1st April 2012

For some inexplicable reason I find myself not in the 'write' frame of mind to post today - so apologies all round.


Normal service resumes tomorrow.

Saturday, 31 March 2012

Playing politics, Cameron style.

We all know about 'Compassionate Conservatism' but it seems we now have confirmation of what has long been suspected with the release of this video and news report, namely 'Cynical Conservatism'.


I can't wait to see Cameron escape from this - as no doubt he will.


More importantly, is this but an extension of Cameron's view where membership of the EU is concerned?


Move over Heath, you've just been supplanted as our most hated figure!

Joke of the day?

Courtesy of An Englishman's Castle comes a comment on the German effect vis-a-viz Greece:
"Angela Merkel arrives at Passport Control in Athens.
"Nationality?" asks the immigration officer.
"German" she replies.
“Occupation?"
"No, just here for a few days".........
"
As AEC says, the old ones are always the best ones.............. 

The blind leading the blind

Charles Moore, in his usual Saturday op-ed piece in the Daily Telegraph heads his article: "Even I’m starting to wonder: what do this lot know about anything?". That a journalist is now starting to pose a question that many of us have been asking for yonks can but illustrate how out of touch journalism per-se has become. That the public believe that which they read - and are therefore guided in their opinion forming - also illustrates that for some time now the heading to this post has been only too evident. That Moore can, presumably straight-faced, write that anyone who thinks Cameron should not be Prime Minister is therefore a bigot, beggars belief. Where to begin? I shall not however, great though the temptation is, digress.

To any thinking man or woman it is becoming obvious that our system of democracy must be changed as that under which we presently live, namely representative democracy, is no better than democratised dictatorship or elective dictatorship - and can be likened to feudalism. The problem arises when one considers how change can be effected, because it sure ain't going to be effected through the ballot box - not today, or in the immediate future. One may initially question my use of the word 'feudalism', however bear in mind that our country has always, generally, been governed by what one may call the well-educated who have led the less well-educated. By control of the education system the political elite ensure the population per se are 'contained' whilst their control ensures a separate system of better education from which they can emerge. That is how the political elite ensure we remain feudal vassals.

When considering how change may be effected and knowing that it cannot be accomplished through the ballot box, most begin looking at some form of revolution, one involving a mass uprising - and yes, I am as guilty as the next man in that respect. But, with hindsight, consider: is the common man any better off now than he was prior to 1642? Are we not still governed by an elite over whom we have no control? And do not tell me that having a choice of dictator every five years is a form of control - please?

Almost two centuries later a further, initially peaceful, attempt to change our society began with the Chartist movement. This, we learn from Wikipedia, resulted in the political elite of the time viewing the movement as dangerous, refusing to negotiate with it or deal with its demands and eventually crushing it. We also learn that their ideals, as with most well-intentioned ideals, flourished in hard times but faded in prosperous times.

If it is accepted that change through the ballot box is presently impossible - impossible due to the stranglehold that the three main parties are able to exert on the electoral system coupled with their control of the media - then perhaps it is possible to adapt that of the Chartists with a view to effecting the change that is required. To those who will understandably counter that if the Chartists failed in their attempts to create a movement for change then how do I believe it possible to succeed where they failed, I can but point to the power of the internet -  also hopefully, with the participation and leadership of this blogger, those of us involved can ensure the idea does not fade, but gains traction. It is intended to return to this subject over the course of the next two or three days, so bear with me in the meantime.

One final thought and that is there may be some among my readers who will point out that I instigated a website, talkconsitution, with a view to creating change to our democratic system - so how long will this latest idea last. That is indeed true, but in my defense I have to plead that personal events in my life forced me to neglect that idea, however rest assured that that neglect will also be addressed within the next seven days. The effect on my personal life, vis-a-viz talkconstitution, has been mirrored by that of Ian Parker-Joseph, with the site he started - Judas Class. IPJ still has 'interests' that do not allow him, at this time, to further his project, however - and still to be discussed with him - I would hope to 'relaunch' his idea also.




Friday, 30 March 2012

False-flag politicians?

Toby Young has a most 'argumentative' article on the Spectator blog, an article in which he muses about 'Tory Rebels' and posits that a new type of politics has been born. Oh dear, my cynicism rises to the surface yet again!  According to research carried out by the University of Nottingham, there were rebellions in 179 of the 331 votes held in parliament between the election and last Christmas. That’s a defiance ratio of 43 per cent, quite without precedent in the postwar era. Wow! That begs the question that if this new intake are 43 per cent in disagreement with their party, why are they still members of that party? Also, according to what I believe is basic maths, 179 as a ratio of 331 is slightly more than 43 percent - but I digress.

Philip Cowley, the Nottingham professor who conducted the research, apparently has various theories as to why the 2010 intake are such a fractious bunch. Cowley cites what he calls ‘the Norman Baker factor’ — the fact that plum government jobs that would normally go to loyal servants of the Tory party have been given to second-rate Lib Dems. With so little hope of promotion, exacerbated by a lack of reshuffles, why would any ambitious new MP toe the line? To which one can but respond: sour grapes?

Toby Young quotes Daniel Hannan who cites the fact that whips used to be able to dangle 'foreign junkets' in front  of the troops, quoting Hannan thus:
"They used to be able to hand out foreign junkets, but these days who has the time to go off to Fiji?....In the wake of the expenses scandal, who would dare?"
Do tell, Mr Hannan - the difference twixt Fiji and the Congo is? The difference where this principle is concerned, twixt an MP and an MEP, is?


Toby Young then quotes Douglas Carswell, in respect of the '81 rebellion':
"The view that the new intake feel obliged to pay more than lip-service to their constituents is echoed by Douglas Carswell, the Conservative MP who played a pivotal role in last year’s EU rebellion. ‘After the vote, several people phoned me up and asked how I managed to pull it off,’ he says. ‘Look, we didn’t plot it in a basement in Westminster. It was 81 MPs responding to pressure from their constituents. I don’t have magical, charming persuasive powers. The pressure is coming from where it should, from the voters."
Great, in which case those 81 'rebels' won't mind producing all the emails and letters from their constituents then - you know, just to dispel the idea that those MPs were not just demonstrating their application of 'Burkes law'? 


Toby Young also quotes Louise Mensch, that well-known 'wall-flower' of the Conservative Party - you know, the one that posed for GQ magazine. According to Mensch, the social media allows her to 'communicate with people'; to 'interact'; to 'have a conversation' - but more importantly 'catapult herself into the spotlight'. Enough said on that score from someone who plaintively queried what she had to do in order to gain advancement.


Where Toby Young is concerned; where our politicians are concerned; where the media is concerned; where the electorate is concerned - just who is leading who 'by the nose'?


Cynic? Moi?

Smell the coffee

So alludes George Galloway, in what may be termed an explanatory (some may say self-congratulatory) article in CiF, at the end of which he writes:
"The media, especially the London media, should also smell the coffee. Something is happening in this country outside of the echo chamber. The council elections take place in May in many parts of the country: prepare for more shocks to come as people find their voices at the ballot box and in mass, democratic opposition to an elite that is failing them."
Yet again, a few questions:

  • How have people found their voices when a candidate conducts a cynical, opportunistic, campaign directed at one section of society, a section which comprises a majority?
  • How can people express their dissent in a mass democratic opposition to an elite that is failing them when the 'democratic system' that they are being asked to partake in is itself anything but democratic?
  • How can people express their dissent in a mass democratic opposition when parties that should be speaking for them, don't?
  • How can people express their dissent in a mass democratic opposition when they have been 'conditioned' not to think, but to accept that which they are told and consequently are 'uninformed'?
  • How can people express their dissent in a mass democratic opposition when that which they are asked to oppose has not been presented to them in an open, transparent manner, but in a 'selective' manner?
  • How can people express their dissent in a mass democratic opposition when those that they oppose care not one iota for the views of those they are meant to represent, but care only about their careers?
One day the people will discover the answers to those questions - and when they do, we will have our revolution!

Just saying......................

A few observations on respect

Understandably the airwaves are full of the news that George Galloway has triumphed in the Bradford West by-election, with accusations full of recrimination coupled with other articles containing supposed enlightened comment flying about left, right and centre. Methinks all need to calm down as one or two matters do not appear to have been considered, namely;

  • What percentage of the votes cast for Galloway were postal votes;
  • What percentage of those postal votes were from the ethnic electorate;
  • What were the percentages of ethnic votes by races and religion;
  • What percentage of those postal votes could be considered 'justifiable';
  • Galloway has in the past shamelessly played the 'Palestine' factor while campaigning; consequentl he brought together his anti-war, pro-Palestine views and aimed his message at the ethnic community;
  • Galloway is a politician and consequently any views he expresses about speaking and caring for the people of Bradford West can only be viewed with suspicion, especially when one bears in mind his parliamentary attendance just before and after the 2005 general election.
In view of the above I would tend to disagree with those who hold that this result was a rejection of the Lib/Lab/Con and all for which those parties stand. Is not the public perception of our political elite as one that comprises white, educational elitists who have never had a real job and consequently invite ridicule when they talk about hard-working families? Was this not a by-election and not are such events renowned for protest votes?


Cranmer has written what can be considered a condemnation of Ukip and Nigel Farage, which brought forth a comment on twitter that Ukip needed to change their strategy in order to win - a comment which, in turn, prompted my response querying how can one change something that does not exist in the first place. To be fair to Ukip, it could be suggested that they were on what may be termed a hiding to nothing in a constituency that contains significant numbers from abroad, a section of our population that Ukip have vowed to repatriate.


It is worth considering other factors following the result of Bradford West. 

  • With Galloway being a 'lone voice' in Westminster, will he now be ostracised by his fellow MPs?
  • Has Galloway 'debased' our electoral system with what may be termed a cynical campaign in which he targeted and exploited ethnicity?
  • Has the policy of multiculturalism not polarised the political views of electorates as a result of ghettoising areas of the country - for example, Bradford, Leicester and Newham?
  • Would Direct Democracy, with that system's inbuilt ability of the electorate to challenge government policy, have allowed multiculturalism and wars to proceed?
  • Had Direct Democracy been the 'norm', would the platform on which Galloway stood have existed; and would politicians such as Galloway exist?
Just asking....................

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Mixed messages

Today, in the Daily Telegraph, we have two articles - here and here - reporting how Cameron intends to give people choice over which schools and hospitals they use together with control to local parish or neighbourhood councils over their local streets and parks, as a result of planned reform to public services.

Douglas Carswell waxes lyrical over these plans, writing that "David Cameron today announces plans to give people a legal right to choose what public services they get. He promises to end “the closed state monopoly where central government decides what you get, and how you get it" - an announcement, he writes, that has sent him off to his Easter recess with a spring in his step. He also writes that at the moment we have very little say over how government spends all the money we give it, or what they buy on our behalf.

During a recent, brief, conversation with Daniel Hannan I took the opportunity to query whether his vision of Direct Democracy - as outlined in "The Plan", the tome he co-authored with Douglas Carswell - meant that central government would only be responsible for a few matters, such as foreign affairs and defence, with the remainder, such as law & order, health and education, being devolved to local authorities. This he agreed was the case, making the point that local authorities would be the equivalent of Swiss Cantons.

Now Hannan's statement must be one with which Carswell agrees, which makes the latter's exultation with Cameron's statement a tad bewildering. I fail to see how providing a choice over which hospital or school we get to use is empowerment of the people, when Cameron and his government have just spent a few bruising weeks getting their proposals for how the NHS will be managed, said proposals set by central government, and which will be imposed on us all. The NHS debacle is surely no more than a continuation of the closed state monopoly where central government decides what you get, and how you get it - yet another example of a Cameron policy which does not do what it says on the tin. Where was the choice in that for the people - and it is surely a process which is a complete anathema to Carswell's core beliefs in Direct Democracy.

Another matter where I consider Carswell is being a tad disingenuous is his statement that we have very little say over how government spends all the money we give it, or what they buy on our behalf. The truth of the matter is that we do not give any money to government, it is extracted from us. We do not have very little say - we have no say.

Ever since my youth I have been an aficionado of westerns which at that time mainly involved cowboys and indians. From that era I can but paraphrase, where Cameron, Carswell and Hannan are concerned:

Blue man speak with forked tongue.

Just saying...........