Tuesday, 2 August 2011

A project

To anyone, other than a politician, it is evident that much is wrong with our country and our democracy and attempts have been made to offer alternative systems, of which probably the most notable was "The Plan" authored by Douglas Carswell & Daniel Hannan.

Yet even "The Plan", which wishes to devolve power downwards, is based on the contradictory belief that national government must govern and, in many areas, be given carte blanche to do as they see fit. As with most ideas that emanate from the Lib/Lab/Con, where devolution of power is discussed one factor appears to remain constant; and that is that, ultimately, the final decision rests with central government.

But is there not a better way? I have for some time believed that there is; and following a suggestion I made in the comments section to a post that a further article on devolution and localism might be worthwhile, one commenter picked up on this and replied that it might be worthwhile.

Many posts on blogs have appeared complaining and castigating various aspects of our democracy, yet none have actually (to my knowledge) put forward their 'alternatives' - so why do we not attempt just that?

What I propose to attempt is to set out, in a fairly simplistic form, how our democracy should be changed so that power actually does rest with the people and that MPs then actually do become representatives of the people - which of course is the situation that should prevail, but most obviously doesn't.

If readers wish to become involved in this 'project' then suggestions would be more than welcome and it may be that some of these could be incorporated into a proposed form of democracy that would benefit all.

So over to you..............................

17 comments:

Oldrightie said...

I have made the odd suggestion on my blog and elsewhere. My plank for a better democracy is short term tenure of all office holders. Sure, really good people can be moved to other posts but ideally the career politician days should be numbered. Furthermore, an age limit of circa 40 plus would help for anyone wishing to hold office.

WitteringsfromWitney said...

Or: I know you have. What I am after is a synopsis of what people consider democracy/localism should be, whether they agree with it or not and why. What they consider to be important and vice versa.

I am not after stealing ideas, I have as you know doubt know my own, but am only too aware I do not have all the answers.

No-one from the public has to my knowledge attempted such an exercise, this has always come from politicians and just look at the mess they have made!

Jamess said...

Thanks for this post! I think I've mentioned these already, but I'm happy to say it again:

- Any new laws which criminalise activities/strengthens a punishment must be approved by referendum.
- Any increase in the tax rate must be approved by referendum.
- Juries can give a verdict of "unjust law" (whether it's the whole law that is wrong or just the particular application of it) which forces a re-examination of the law in Parliament before either an aquital and rewriting of the law or a retrial.

I'd be very happy with these three changes. If reducing the size of government happened as well (either directly or through localism followed by brutal evolutionary bankrupting of socialist style counties) then that would be better still.

WitteringsfromWitney said...

J: Your views will be 'in-built' into my post. Your general 'thrust' will either be accepted or rebutted..... :)

Edward Spalton said...

There is a problem here. Whilst we remain in the EU, devolution/localism will be part of the project to weaken and disassemble nation states - particularly the UK. That has been the aim of every would-be dominant European power since 1707.

The Foreign Office put it this way in 1971
(FCO 30/1048) "The transfer of major executive responsibilities to the bureaucratic Commission in Brussels will exacerbate popular feelings of alienation from government. To counter this feeling, strengthened local and regional democratic processes within member states and effective Community economic and social policies will be essential.....there will be a major responsibility upon HM Government and on all political parties not to exacerbate public concern by attributing unpopular policies to the remote and unmanageable workings of the Community"

So localism, or whatever you call it, is a fraud under the EU. The appearance of "democratic processes" exists to implement "effective Community economic and social policies". It is simply a means of distraction from real powerlessness and a method of driving branch lines for the gravy train through local government. If you start to try to add up the number of lavishly funded,related quangos and "partnerships" which already exist, that truth becomes self-evident.

So, by all means, consider what structures might be better than the present mess - but give up all hope of ever reclaiming real, local government until national sovereignty is first established.
Otherwise the debate is as pointless as discussing the national reintroduction of the death penalty whilst the country remains an EU member state.

WitteringsfromWitney said...

ES: Well aware and apppreciate that for which I wish cannot be done whilst we still in the EU. There is no point in leaving the EU and allowing the present clutch of idiots to remain in charge......

kenomeat said...

Ed's foreign office memo from 1971 should be a real bombshell and should be broadcast widely. Could it be brought to the attention of the press? My local newspaper still ignores my letters but someone with a proper organisation behind them (CIB?) might get published in a national paper. But perhaps you've already tried.

WitteringsfromWitney said...

k: Unfortunately have a funeral to attend today so am pushed somewhat for time - likewise been distracted by other matters for a few days now.

Help me here - what memo? link? Thanks.

kenomeat said...

wfw: I was referring to FCO 30/1048 which Edward Spalton quotes in his comment above. I guess I was really inviting a response from Edward.

Jamess said...

Another things...

Allowing opt outs of state run programmes:

Anyone who goes for private healthcare or privately educates their children should get a tax rebate equivalent to the money that state would have spent on those things.

(Of course it would be fairer if the rebate was equivalent to the percentage of spending on those things and the percentage of someone's personal tax - but first work with what is realistic.)

The program could be extended to include employing someone who is currently on unemployment benefits etc.

Edward Spalton said...

Hello Kenomeat,

Please let me know the paper and I will have a crack at getting this FCO document more widely known.

The quotation, along with many other quotes and contributions is in
"A HOUSE DIVIDED" (intro by Philip Hollobone MP, Foreword by Lord Stoddart of Swindon) , a very useful CIB booklet which I recommend highly. Unfortunately we have to charge you £2.50 for it - although all MPs, peers and Members of the Scottish Parliament have received a complimentary copy - so they have no excuse for ignorance!
Order and cheque/PO payable to
SMP Ltd
1 Barnfield
Common Lane
Hemingford Abbots
Huntingdon
P28 9AX

paulsc said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
paulsc said...

Pre-supposing that we are discussing the state of affairs we would like after leaving the EU, my contribution would be:
1) MPs should not receive a salary.
2) Extending Jamess proposals, any law that does not result in the rpealing of one or more existing laws must be approved by referendum.

Edward Spalton said...

Hello paulsc,

There is a fine line to be trodden here. It would be easy to put in all sorts of prohibitions to stop things which have gone wrong in the past which might also restrict a future parliament and government from doing things which are desperately necessary.

To stimulate thought, I highly recommend the "Federalist Papers"by Alexander Hamilton. It is a series of papers, addressed to the citizens of New York state, urging them to vote for the then newly drafted United States constitution. The language is beautifully clear and whilst the problems he addresses are those of the day, they also suggest the sort of checks and balances necessary in any limited form of government, generally in the British common law tradition.

The destroyers of our constitution were very clever in using the essence of sovereignty to destroy itself, secure in the knowledge that no prosecution for treason could be launched without the approval of the Crown law officers, who themselves were part of the joint criminal enterprise.
Whilst a minority of valiant parliamentarians said plainly what was happening, neither their parliamentary colleagues, nor the people at large could believe the height, length and depth of the crime which was being perpetrated against them.

At all stages - and even now - I guess that only a small minority of our legislators really understand what has been done to us.

kenomeat said...

Edward

My local paper is the Warrington Guardian but your FCO document deserves a national paper. By the way, at a local council by-election last week the UKIP candidate got about 5% of the total vote. I guess that is typical of the level of support at the moment.

Edward Spalton said...

Kenomeat
Please email me at
edward@spalton.me.uk
to continue the discussion.
Regards

Edward

WitteringsfromWitney said...

psc: Yes we are talking post-EU. Your comments noted...... We could always put our heads together on this one?

ES & psc: The Federalist Papers can be accessed here:

http://avalon.law.yale.edu/subject_menus/fed.asp

k: the fact that Ukip still hovering up only 5% is their own bloody fault!