Tuesday, 11 January 2011

The supremacy of Parliament and other matters

"Using governmental force to impose a vision on others is intellectual sloth and typically results in unintended, perverse consequences."
"For the totalitarian mind, adherence to state propaganda does not suffice: one must display proper enthusiasm while marching in the parade."

It is worth focusing on three articles, one in today's Daily Telegraph; one from 7th December and one in ePolitix - all of which relate to how we are governed. First, there is the editorial; second there is the article by Philip Johnston and lastly, the article by Andrew Percy, a new Conservative MP elected in 2010 for the constituency of Brigg & Goole.

The first two deal with the question of the supremacy of Parliament, prompted by the discussion today in the House of Commons on the European Union Bill and, in particular, the ramifications of Clause 18 of that Bill. The first two also quote A.V. Dicey who is held to be the authoritative voice on matters 'parliamentary'. The last deals with how this MP views his position in Parliament and on matters on which he decides how he should vote. All three contain, in my opinion, details illustrating what is wrong with our democratic system today.

The European Union Bill - and in particular Clause 18 - highlights the question of who governs Britain: the European Union, Parliament or judges.We are repeatedly informed that Parliament is supreme, that ultimate authority rests in Westminster; that what Parliament has done, Parliament can undo. In fact Philip Johnston quotes Dicey, who held that Parliament:
"has, under the English constitution, the right to make or unmake any law whatever: and, further, that no person or body is recognised by the law of England as having a right to override or set aside the legislation of Parliament"
which begs the question: if no person or body is recognised by the law of England as having a right to override or set aside the legislation of Parliament, how can MPs continue to allow Parliament to be overruled and laws, not made by Parliament, to be imposed on our country? It should also be noted that Privy Councillors also take an oath which, in essence, echoes the principle stated by Dicey - that no person, prelate, or body from another country or entity, shall rule over us. So that also begs the question: why are our elected representatives, on behalf of our nation, in this position of debating the European Union Bill? Do our elected representatives not acknowledge and accept that Dicey is correct?

To turn to the third article this also, in my opinion, demonstrates a deficit in the way we are governed and raises the question why we elect representatives to Parliament. It would be agreed, I am certain, that we elect MPs to Parliament with the sole purpose of representing the views of their constituents. Yet here we have such a person admitting that he decides how to cast his vote based on his beliefs, not those of his constituents. Witness his statement:
"The first time I voted against the government was a simple decision for me. It was a vote on whether to establish a European external action service, and in my view that was wrong. Europe is a complete red line for me."
Whilst his opposition to the European Union and its effects is most welcome, should not that decision have been taken based on the views of his constituents? Too often we see MPs voting and casting such votes based on their beliefs, rather than the collective beliefs of those they are supposed to represent. Surely this cannot be acceptable? If Parliament is supposed to be representative of the country, then on what basis do MPs believe they have the right to vote according to their conscience?

The fact that our Constitution has been 'tinkered with' by politicians who have not fully explained to their electorates, in detail, to what the ramifications of their tinkering would result is neither here nor there because I do not believe that they had the mental capability to have even thought that far ahead. One only has to look at the matter of devolution to Scotland and Wales - and all the problems that have resulted - to see that this is true. It is a sad fact of life that all this 'tinkering' has been done for political expediency, namely to gain power.

It is recognised that as society progresses, laws made previously may need 'modification' - but if Parliament is held to be 'the will of the people', should it not be the decision of the people that decide any changes that are made? That question is posed on the basis that we are still a 'United Kingdom' - which needless to say some inhabitants of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland may well dispute - and readers will no doubt realise what I meant when, earlier, I wrote about 'tinkering' with our Constitution.

As one with 'libertarian' instincts it is my belief that you own your life. To deny this is to imply that another person has a higher claim on your life than you do. Where 'government' is presently concerned, the political class are using both force and fraud to take from us, without our voluntary consent, that which belongs to us. To take liberty is slavery, and to take property - and an individual's life is their property - is theft. It matters not whether these actions are done by one person acting alone, or by the few acting against the many. Do we not have the right to protect our own life, liberty and justly acquired property from the forceful aggression of others?

This leads on to another deficit in our present acceptance of 'democracy' - namely that Parliament has too many 'powers' - 'powers' that have been usurped, surreptitiously over the decades, by politicians. Is not Parliament's role purely to safeguard our nation; to set basic standards of conduct, law & order, education and health care; and to leave it to local communities to decide the type of society in which they wish to live and how those 'standards' are to be implemented? When, exactly, did we, the people, agree to be 'governed' - and are we not capable of governing ourselves? Freedom of action, thought, word and deed can only exist when there is free choice. This must surely be the basis of a truly free society and nation, it is not only the most practical and humanitarian foundation for human action; it is also the most ethical. Consider also that problems in society invariably arise from the initiation of force by government and that evil does not arise only from evil people, but also from good people who tolerate the initiation of force - and in this manner good people empower evil, a fact which has been, unfortunately, demonstrated throughout history.

As Richard North, EU Referendum, so correctly writes, today's events in Parliament are but state propoganda designed to assure the electorate that MPs care for our nation's future, yet that care - as in so many instances in the past - is but a smokescreen as they so obviously care not! What is being held as a rebellion by some Conservative MPs is in fact nothing of the sort. Other than the normal few diehards - and as Richard North says, even some of those are content to remain members of the European Union - the majority will willingly display their adherence to their totalitarian masters and join the parade through the government lobby.

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