Saturday, 29 January 2011

Participative(?) Democracy

"Power may justly be compared to a great river. While kept within its due bounds it is both beautiful and useful. But when it overflows its banks, it is then too impetuous to be stemmed; it bears down all before it and brings destruction and desolation wherever it comes. If then, this is the nature of power, let us at least do our duty and like wise men who value freedom, use our utmost care to support liberty the only bulwark against lawless power, which in all ages has sacrificed to its wild lust and boundless ambition the blood of the best men that ever lived."
Andrew Hamilton, The Trial of John Peter Zenger, 1735
(Applicable not only to the European Union, but our own politicians)

Roger Helmer has a post about "Agoras", which as he say is but a different name for a conference. He writes:
"A year or two ago, the parliament organised a couple of “Agoras”.  That’s a pretentious word for a Conference.  The topics were European integration, and climate change.  I attended both, and was more or less the only dissenter at each.
Of course the EU craves democratic legitimacy, and the European parliament exists primarily to give an impression (the word “fig-leaf” springs to mind) of democratic legitimacy to institutions which are palpably corporatist and technocratic, and fundamentally unaccountable and undemocratic, if not actually anti-democratic.  At these Agoras, the idea was openly canvassed that “Representative democracy has failed, so we must move on to a new model of participative democracy”.
Helmer makes the point that the EU believes representative democracy has failed as when the people are consulted, invariably they return an answer that the EU does not want. Participative democracy, on the other hand, involves civil society, which is basically quangos and NGOs - to which two bodies I would add 'government'.

Helmer's post is most pertinent when considering this entry on The Albion Alliance Presents, the rolling news service of all EU announcements, which in turn leads to this. Now 'googling' the phrase "modernising public procurement" produces two current entries, besides the eu links; one being from Turkey and one from Ireland. However going to the Cabinet Office website and inputting "modernising public procurement" produces two results, both dated 7th December 2010. The first is here and the second, which goes into greater detail is here and note that the latter document, the Green Paper, ends the consultation period on 5th January 2011, ie just 4 weeks. Bearing in mind that all "stakeholders" would have received notification of this document, just what notification did the general public have and how many of that group would have any understanding of what was involved? It is also obvious that the short period of consultation was necessary in order that our government could prepare its own submission to the EU by the required date of 18th April 2011.

At this juncture an accusation of misleading the public can, once again, be levied at this government, said accusation also encapsulating an element of being selective with the facts, ie lying through omission. Having had a quick 'skim' of both government documents, not once is there any reference to forthcoming EU legislation that is immediately apparent, only a reference to the Coalition promise to develop new opportunities for civil society organisations in public service delivery. It does not take possession of a degree in rocket science to realise that the EU Green Paper has not just 'appeared' and that it has been months, if not years, in preparation. (in fact EU "interest" in public procurement goes back to 2004) It therefore follows that the last Labour government - and likewise the Coalition politicians - knew of this prior to it being published publicly. As with the "Big Society" not being a Conservative idea, so is the modernisation of public procurement not a Conservative idea - it is in both cases pre-empting EU legislation that politicians knew was in the pipeline and with which they would have to comply.

Anyway, reverting to the EU documents, it appears they have produced a "Citizen Summary" a document that at the beginning contains an objective with which the EU lamentably fails - big time. Think EU Waste Directives - in relation to which the following extract is totally ironic:
"Public purchasers must get the best possible value for taxpayers' money without having to invest disproportionate time and money in the procedures."
The Green Paper that the EU has produced - which is only at this stage, a 'draft' - seeks to impose a 'one size fits all' procurement policy across the EU and in so doing removes the ability of this country to organise its own internal administrative procedures for its own benefit - as does so much else of EU legislation. It is no more than an exercise in rebuilding the EUSSR incorporating yet more central planning and more over regulation - and therefore, regardless of what Cameron and his cohorts may tell us, it constitutes yet another loss of power. Note also how the EU Green Paper pushes the 'green' and 'equality' agendas, both areas that require the investment of a disproportionate amount of time and money to carry out what amounts to a policy of 'social engineering'.

Setting to one side the EU question and the 'conquering' of our nation with the assistance of our Quisling politicians, what really sticks in my craw is the fact that people who would have the public believe they are "Honourable" can be so dishonourable as to lie, deceive and cheat those they are supposed to represent.

When we do rid ourselves of those for whom power has no bounds and who have no understanding of the word "Honourable", it is without doubt that the blood of our best men will, indeed, be spilled - but our politicians should realise, especially as it does not appear to have entered their limited intellect, that the greater amount of blood spilled will undoubtedly be theirs.


The Gray Monk said...

I have long argued that I will be more willing to support the EU - and I do believe that it could work to everyone's advantage - when I have a direct say, along with every other EU citizen, in the election of the 'Commission' and the Presidency. Your description of the 'Parliament' in Strasbourg as a 'fig-leaf' is currently accurate, but it is a shame that it is so.

Like Whitehall, the EU needs a massive cull on Bureaucrats in order to make it representative, trustworthy and less of a bloated autocracy for the political classes.

john in cheshire said...

TGM, I'm afraid I could never accept anything less than complete and total withdrawal from the EU. As the saying goes, you can't polish a turd.

Anonymous said...

Well there is a surprise...not! Our government are lying to us, who'd a thunk it, bloody helsky to borrow someone else's catchphrase.
I agree with John in Cheshire, out, out and out. The EU can never be democratic, it is designed that way and that way it will remain.


WitteringsfromWitney said...

TGM: The EU will not work coz you cannot amalgamate so many differing cultures and traditions and impose a one size fits all system without creating an artificial country that will always fragment - USSR?

jic/Anonymous: Oh yes, out out out!