Saturday, 22 October 2011

More on that 'democratised dictatorship' thingy

We are all now aware that a debate on a motion submitted by the Backbench Business Committee, relating to our country's membership of the European Union and proposing this should be put to the people by means of a referendum, is to be held on Monday next.

From the Parliament website we are informed that the UK public elects 650 Members of Parliament (MPs) to represent their interests and concerns in the House of Commons. MPs consider and propose new laws, and can scrutinise government policies by asking ministers questions about current issues either in the Commons Chamber or in Committees and from the 'About Parliament' section we learn they also debate issues of the day.

Little seems to have been made in the media about the fact that the MPs, members of a  Parliament, one supposedly the guardian of our sovereignty, in deciding to hold this debate is then informed by the Executive that that debate is not binding on them. This then begs the question do we have a democracy or a dictatorship? Likewise little seems to have been made in the media about the fact that a group of people, elected to represent the views of their electorates, are then 'ordered' to obey the diktats of their respective leaders and thus to ignore the views of their electorates. Once again I have to ask whether we live under a democracy or a dictatorship. Methinks that the Parliament website, in saying that Parliament is the supreme legal authority in the UK, needs a re-write - only omitting the words 'Parliament' and  'legal', whilst substituting the word 'Executive' in place of 'Parliament'. With the fact the behaviour (voting) record of all three main parties being subject to the orders of their leaders and that where governance of this country is concerned the leaders all accept governance from abroad, why do we bother with general elections? The fact that whilst those parties promise change, all those elections do is replace one set of Quislings with another and that the stench of hypocrisy remains is best illustrated by a story from British Freedom:

"A company commander inspected his soldiers, and afterwards told the CSM that his men smelled bad.

The OC suggested perhaps it would help if the soldiers would change underwear occasionally. The CSM responded, “Yes sir, I’ll see to it immediately!”

The CSM went straight to the soldier’s barracks and announced, “The OC thinks you buggers smell bad and wants you to change your underwear.” He continued, “Pitman, you change with Jones, McCarthy, you change with Wilkinson, and Brown, you change with Saddler…”

Someone may come along and promise “Change”, but don’t count on things smelling any better.
Just saying.....................


Stuart said...

I wrote a letter in my local paper and they published it:

"IT seems that a debate of whether to hold a referendum on our place within the EU or leaving it will happen next week in Westminster.

As our representative in that parliament, I call on our MP Sir George Young to vote for a referendum because I believe parliament does not represent the wishes of the people on this matter.

But the question is whether Sir George will think about what his constituents want or whether defying his party leader will damage his career.

I guess we will soon know. Good luck Sir George."

I also used the write to them service and he has put a response up on his website:

"Sir George responds to constituents' concerns regarding EU Referendum
21 Oct 2011
A number of constituents have contacted me regarding the forthcoming vote on whether we should hold a referendum to decide if we stay in or leave the European Union. At the moment, it is not clear whether the motion will be amended, and exactly what the proposition before the House will be. But let me set out my position.

The national interest is for Britain to be in Europe, not run by Europe. That is why Conservatives want to get powers back from Brussels to Britain, particularly over social and employment legislation.

While there is no doubt that the EU needs reform, I firmly believe that the benefits of UK membership outweigh their costs, and that our prosperity and standing in the world would be seriously damaged if we were to leave, particularly given the current state of the world economy. An estimated forty per cent of our exports are to other countries within the EU. If we left, while we could still trade, we would have no influence over the rules governing our largest overseas markets. There is also no doubt that, where EU states can agree to work together, we become a far more powerful force diplomatically in a world which is getting more dangerous, not less. Above all right now, UK businesses need certainty so they can invest to generate growth in our economy and the financial markets need confidence in our future – the potential that we might have to leave the EU as a result of a referendum could have a disastrous impact on jobs and interest rates.

Having said this, we do need to ensure that we curtail, and in some cases, reverse the movement of power from the Westminster to Brussels. In its first year of office, the Coalition Government passed an extremely important law to prevent any further transfer of powers to Brussels without a referendum. This was a major milestone in our relationship with the EU, ending once and for all the creeping powers of Brussels. The Foreign Secretary, William Hague, who was himself at the heart of the campaign to keep the pound and prevent the UK joining the single currency, has already said that we will look for opportunities to repatriate powers as part of any substantive change to the EU treaty. We are also working hard to ensure that regulations emanating from Brussels are implemented minimally without being gold-plated by government departments.
I recognise that a number of people feel very strongly about the EU and I understand the views of those who may believe we should leave. But, after careful of consideration of what is in the best interests of the British people, in my judgement, now is not the time for the uncertainty, cost and disruption of such a referendum.

Some people believe that the party committed itself to a referendum in the last Parliament. All three parties said, in the 2005 Election, that there should be a referendum before the Lisbon Treaty was ratified. Sadly, that commitment was not honoured despite my Party voting for it. The Treaty has now been ratified and a referendum on it now would serve no purpose."

PeterCharles said...

Reminds me of an army story an acquaintance told me. As a brand new lieutenant in the Engineers Corps, or whatever it was called, he was told to do a stock check. All was well except they were apparently 4 telegraph poles short of what should have been a stock of fifty. This was not well received and he was told to find missing poles. So he called the Sgt. Major over, explained the predicament and, as a sensible newly commissioned chap, asked his advice. "No problem, Sir. Smith! Jones! separate four poles. Thomas! get a saw." As my acquaintance watched dumbfounded they proceeded to cut the 4 poles in half then the Sgt. Major saluted and said, "There you are, Sir. 50 poles, present and correct." A fact he duly reported, but did not mention eight were rather short.

Stuart said...

A comment left on D'Ancona's piece:

Cameron, spear-heading the political class is facing-down the British people. I think it is about time we showed them who is boss. While we are at it, we should treat ourselves to a new constitution limiting the power of our political class with recall powers, referenda triggered by petitions that ARE binding on government and maybe as Richard North suggests, a yearly referendum to accept or reject the governments budget. The plain and simple fact is our political class although they have never been under our control are suceeding in plumbing new depths and are ruining this country. They cannot be trusted to represent us, so representative democracy needs to be strengthened with direct democracy. We can either elect candidates who offer this, who will not be members of Labour, Liberal Democrat or Conservative, or we revolt. Simples.

Anonymous said...

All governments and institutions, no matter how benign and representative to start, will become sclerotic, overbearing, and ossified, with a feeling that they have right to rule. This is the case with our parliament. It has been the same institution for hundreds of years, with no real challenge to its authority. If for no other reason then that, it is more hidebound, less representative and more given to feeling that it has the right to rule and ignore the people, then other parliaments in the Commonwealth.

Even the EU listens to its member heads of government, as it is comparatively a new born baby. Our parliament ignores us.

Just as changing the party in power, is to an extent, good for democracy and to prevent hubris, so it is that institutions themselves need to be re-modeled every now and then, just to remind the institution itself, who actually is the boss.

It is not MPs, they are merely going along with the institution - it is the parliamentary institution itself that needs re-modeling.

The last time parliament was re-modeled was done was by Cromwell. A new "model" Parliament will lead to a new "model" MP.

Carl Minns said...

The problem is too many MPs are looking for ministerial advancement. One simple reform, the separation of the executive from the legislature, would remove all MPs who are only time serving to become ministers. Parliaments Independence would be strengthened.

TomTom said...

Politics is about power not accountability. The great Sam Finer said England had the strongest Executive in the world; it controls the Legislature and that means it is a rubber stamp. Over 33% MPs are on the payroll vote.

Only ignorant British Voters don't see it is a Top-Down System as it always was. Cameron and Clegg were selected by City interests and the nation is simply an offshore island for Global Offshore Banking with a peasant population

WitteringsfromWitney said...

S: Nice letter! As to GY's reply, he ought to know a BBC's motion cannot be amended. That he too is another In Europe but not run by Europe is no surprise either! Like your proposal in the second comment.

PC: Good story!

DP111: A 'remodelling' of our democratic system is long overdue in order that the dictatorship aspect can be rectified.

CM: Sorry, the whole system has to be remodelled - see comment above.

TT: Agreed as ever.