Friday, 28 October 2011

If they only asked the people first........

"Have you ever noticed how statists are constantly "reforming" their own handiwork? Education reform. Health-care reform. Welfare reform. Tax reform. The very fact that they're always busy "reforming" is an implicit admission that they didn't get it right the first 50 times."
Lawrence W. Reed, economist, in The Freeman
Readers of this blog will be aware that I am a firm believer in a participatory form of democracy and would favour a move to a system similar to that practised in Switzerland. For too long governments have continually ignored matters that are of interest to the public whilst interfering and subsequently legislating in matters that should ultimately be decided by the public. Just today we hear that the rules on primogeniture are to be changed; that a permanent move to British Summer Time is being suggested; that Thorbjørn Jagland, secretary general of the Council of Europe, said he would accept the Tories’ plan to scrap the Human Rights Act – if the idea was to enshrine the convention in UK law.

Under our present system of representative democracy we are subject to our elected representatives deciding matters that affect us, even though they had no mandate so to do at the time of their election - and when they do, they move the goalposts whereby we end up with an even more draconian law that was first envisaged. On the subjects of primogeniture and an advance to British Summer Time, I do not recall these two matters being part of any party's manifesto and, in any event, if changes are to be made, surely it is the public that should so decide? Just who the hell is Thorbjørn Jagland to decide what changes to the Human Rights Act can be made and lay down conditions on acceptability? Who the hell elected him - and more to the point, who needs him when we have our own representatives, who are all 'statists' regardless of party, already meddling with our existing Bill of Rights and Common Law? Returning to the question of primogeniture, the No10 website has just issued this statement from David Cameron, one that states the current rule which says that anyone who marries a Roman Catholic can’t become monarch will also be abolished. This immediately presents the situation whereby, as any child of a Catholic has to be reared in that faith, it would be possible to have a Catholic monarch resulting in all the ramifications of that situation.

The root problem in the present system of electing our representatives lies in the manifesto system, one whereby a 'basket' of proposals is offered to the electorate who - if we set aside tribal loyalists - then has to make a decision on which 'basket' best serves them better. The decision making process then becomes harder still when all parties basically offer the same proposals, or omit proposals that the electorate would like to see. That this leads to a 'democratised dictatorship' must be plain for all to see and the sooner the system is changed so that the public can, by means of a referendum, halt any policy proposed by their politicians with which they do not agree or propose a law of their choosing, the better.

David Cameron may well believe that the great strength of our constitutional approach is its ability to evolve, however I would suggest it is the people who should decide when and how any evolving takes place and not some democratised self-anointed dictator.


john in cheshire said...

Strange that when the subject of primogeniture has been raised, as well as the ban on Catholics ascending the throne, change has always been dismissed as being too difficult, in that all countries, where our monarch is also their head of state, would have to agree. Well, this matter seems to have been overcome with obscene haste. Why now? Why no consultation with the citizens? I smell a rat. Also, the current situation appears to have given us a Queen so it seems to work quite well; if it aint broke, don't fix it.

Woodsy42 said...

One does wonder at the speed of this agreement about succession to the throne.
One assumes there is a specific senario being planned for, although I can't obviously see what it is.

PeterCharles said...

I think I am correct in my belief that primogeniture has been a LibDem policy for years and probably is in their manifesto.

British Summer Time et al has been popping up for years. If you recall we did have ten year 'test'. As I remember a couple of Scottish kids got knocked down on the way to school and the media seized on it to scupper any change, ignoring the statistics that showed there were more child deaths when evenings were dark, even in Scotland.

The bar on Catholics inheriting the throne has also been around a long time. The sticking point has always been the monarch's role as head of the Church of England. 'Defender of the Faith' was of course a papal honour given to Henry in recognition of his Catholic piety in smiting the apostates of the early Christian reformers like Luther. Rather deliciously it was Henry's book, Defence of the Seven Sacraments, defending the sacramental nature of marriage and the authority of the Pope that was recognised. I suppose to be fair I should add that he was stripped of that title when he was excommunicated and that Parliament honoured him with a new title of Defender of the Faith about 15 years later.

Why all this now? Well it is all typical distract and divert stuff and an alert MSM committed to informing the public would immediately have been digging in the political dustbin looking for incriminating stuff. Since we don't have one any more exactly what we are to be distracted from is only open to guessing.

Tarka the Rotter said...

If sovereignty ulitmately lies with the people and is delegated to both monarch and parliament on certain conditions, then any constitutional change should be referred back to the people. Changes to the succession and the law on marrying Roman Catholics should not be imposed by a narrow political elite (almost certainly for their own purpose, whatever it is). As for the succession itself, if it is against Harmonisation to always favour the son over the daughter, isn't it equally unfair to favour the first born? Why not the second born or the youngest? The monarchy is about tradition, meddle with it and it becomes meaningless - ahhhh perhaps that is the real political motive!

WitteringsfromWitney said...

jic, PC, W42 & TtR: If I may respond 'en masse'?

My initial reaction was that of jic and W42 in that with all political announcements, I too smelled a rat. Having said that PC makes some important points. Firstly he may well be right regarding LIbDem policy (I was relying on my memory)

The rat I smelled is illustrated by PC's last comment, that these two matters are but a distraction exeercise to take our minds off more important matters, such as matters EU etc.

TtR makes an important contribution to the discussion and one with which I agree.