"The more numerous public instrumentalities become, the more is there generated in citizens the notion that everything is to be done for them and nothing by them. Every generation is made less familiar with the attainment of desired ends by individual actions or private agencies; until, eventually, governmental agencies come to be thought of as the only available agencies."
Herbert Spencer, The Man versus the State (1884)
Last Thursday Ian Parker-Joseph and I attended a Bruges Group meeting at which the speakers were Bill Cash MP and Peter Oborne. The podcasts of both speeches can be accessed here. Bill Cash's speech was informative and quite interesting, however we both considered it a tad too infused with an element of what one might call "self-importance". Peter Oborne's speech basically provided a preview of his op-ed piece in the following days edition of the Daily Telegraph. Our general consensus was that if this was the best that the Eurosceptic movement could provide, then Eurosceptism is in deep trouble.
However, the highlight of the evening was, during the drinks and nibbles afterwards, speaking to a Conservative supporter who, when questioned about our right to self-governance; the illogical stance of the party he supports; the lack of 'backbone'' exhibited by most MPs of his party; the dictatorial attitude of his party Leader; the right to individual self-determination; breaking the 'control' of central government; and why he was still prepared to vote Conservative amounted to, paraphrasing: "Well, I have always voted Conservative and suppose I always will". With regard to this particular individual, therein lie the problems, ones also only too prevalent amongst supporters of both the Labour and Liberal Democrat parties: tribalism, blinkered-vision and an inability to think for oneself. Is it any wonder that the Lib/Lab/Con have managed to retain their grip on the political scene for so long, when they have supporters of the intellectual calibre of the fellow IPJ and I met?
I have posted previously about the democratic deficit under which we live, but perhaps the latest example of this occurred last week when Parliament voted overwhelmingly - and retrospectively - in favour of the imposition of a no-fly zone. With such efforts expended obtaining the permission of NATO, the UN - not forgetting of course Brussels - why was the permission of our Parliament not sought prior to military action being undertaken? It is worth mentioning a couple of points: according to Liam Fox the aim is to ensure the Libyan people have their own voice and decide for themselves their own future - in which case why does he not practise at home that which he wishes to instill abroad? Second: courtesy of pixijade, who links to this article by Christopher Booker - from whom we learn that the total cost of the six Storm Shadow missiles 'delivered' to Libya was approximately £7million - we could have saved quite a few libraries, filled a few potholes, we could even have paid the outstanding bill for the Barts and the London NHS Trust project.
Stuart Wheeler, writing his paper "A Question of Trust", states:
"Being a member of parliament is not just a vocation for the man or woman fortunate enough to be called to do it. Electing a person to sit in the Commons is the highest trust the British people can place in someone. Too many MPs have proved unworthy of it. Moreover the party system, by reducing private members to state-funded obedient servants, has severely damaged the House of Commons."
What is to be done in order that this deplorable situation can be reversed? Well, H.L. Mencken reportedly said:
"It doesn't take a majority to make a rebellion; it takes only a few determined leaders and a sound cause."
As the Lib/Lab/Con have such a grip on our political scene - as mentioned previously - and also basically control what appears in our media, the opportunity of the British people to see through the charade our political elite practise is undoubtedly remote. It is logical therefore to believe that any change will be damn difficult to achieve through the ballot box as whilst it would appear "others" percentage share is rising in opinion polls, albeit it slowly, the danger is that by the time "others" gain any substantial following our society will be even more 'regulated and ordered' than it presently is. Those of us who believe in our country; who believe in self-governance; who believe in individual freedom do have "a sound cause" - what we lack is the leadership, someone with "fire in his belly" who will publicly brand those who have betrayed the trust given them as a collection of vacuous, venal and self-centred cretins.
It is my belief that such leadership should forget that they are British and that the British 'play fair according to the rules'; that they should forgo being 'nice' as being 'nice' gains nothing; that they should forget the long words and employ a little good old 'Anglo-Saxon' (omitting, naturally, the necessity of having those words translated into heaven knows how many other languages). For far too long the Lib/Lab/Con have been allowed to debate amongst themselves - witness the Leaders "debate" at the last general election and where that got us! Why do not the leaders of other parties - UKIP, LPUK, Greens, SNP and Plaid Cymru begin a programme of daily demands for a public debate with the leaders of the Lib/Lab/Con on governance, per se, of the UK? Why, for example, do not those parties that wish for the UK to withdraw from the EU not begin a programme of daily demands for a cost/benefit analysis of that membership? Were such campaigns to be started, the longer the Lib/Lab/Con prevaricate, the more they would be held to ridicule for not accepting the challenge and I wager, the more the public would "get on board" - wondering why the challenge was being avoided and increasingly demanding that the various debates did take place.
All avenues open in a democracy must surely be tried first because the alternative is revolution and that will not be pretty, will be bloody and should not need to take place in what I believe is still a civilised country. Whichever path is eventually followed, we the people need a leader - the question is: Do we have one?